postcardly via improvised life
photo: sally schneider

Even though many of us are on email all day, there is absolutely no substitute for coming home to an actual letter or postcard you can hold in your hand. We recently tried out Postcardly, a service that melds our online lives with the magic of good old-fashioned mail. You upload a photo or graphic, add a message, supply the address, and Postcardly prints and delivers your postcards. We sent ourselves one of our graphic signs, and a photo from Ellen Silverman’s wonderful Cuban Kitchen archive. They took a week to arrive, but we were pleased enough with the quality, especially with photos. You can send an image directly from your phone, turning a snapshot into an instant postcard.

This is a great way to drop a line to someone who doesn’t use email, but it’s also a neat way to keep the printed photograph alive. Since getting a digital camera, we rarely print photos. But it used to be fun to give a friend a photograph they could tape on the wall and have on hand to look back to.

Postcardly test via 'the improvised life'
photo: sally schneider; postcard: ellen silverman

This seems to be one of those unique instances when the often impersonal internet allows us to reconnect with folks in a personal and tangible way.

Postcardly has monthly plans (starting at $4.99 for 5 postcards), but gives you three free trial postcards. Other sites like ShootIt! and HazelMail charge per postcard, ($1.29 and $1.50 respectively). We went with Postcardly because ShootIt!’s postcards looked a little cheesier, and HazelMail is slightly more expensive since they’re international.

–Sarah M.

Related posts:
magazine pages as envelopes
free map envelope app (+ an invite to governors island)
design (or hack) your own holiday e-cards
poems as gifts: don wentworth’s ‘past all traps’

If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

Support Improvised Life ♥

7 replies on “postcardly: send a real postcard via email

  1. there’s an app for that! you can do it all from your phone — take a photo and send it along with a message for them to turn it all into a postcard and send. especially convenient when you’re traveling.

    their commercial is so lovely:

  2. Very cool — thank you for the link.

    And I know it’s a stretch for “improvising,” but I posted today on my own blog how my nonverbal daughter is using technology for a voice — after sixteen years, it’s a real breakthrough and an example of the beauty of technology as opposed to some of the “tyranny” we read about!

  3. In February of 2010, I wrote about the value of sending and receiving cards via the postal system, and one thing that I pointed out was, “These kind of treasures aren’t the same as an ‘E’ card that’s been archived in your e-mail account-folder, with the threat of a link breaking if you want to view it again.”

    At that time I was new to blogging but if you have the time to refer to my post regarding this, I’d appreciate your weighing in — given your thoughts on this subject. This is the link:

    Meanwhile, since that posting, I have gone on to write quite a bit on this subject because I design greeting cards that go beyond communication, as well as invitations that preserve a moment in time and event program covers that enhance that occasion.

    Being that my “vocation” is designing these materials, my “inner jury” is still out on the cards you write about in your blog entry, but I do concede that they are far better than an E card.

  4. Thanks so much. We’ll check it out.

  5. I do think a snail-mail card is always more special than an ecard; that being said, the demands of my life often dictate sending an ecard….and I’ve tried to tailor them to be personal. I am happy for the services like Postcardly that will send a card with an image of my choosing, and my message for me. But it speaks volumes, sadly, that there is so little time that even writing, addressing and stamping a letter is too much.

  6. Elizabeth, that is truly a miracle, and an example of the real value of technology. It broke the ‘tyranny’ of your daughter not being able to communicate, and allows her to express herself more freely. Thank you so much for telling us about this, and for all your contributions to ‘the improvised life’.

  7. ….I totally forgot the value of this kind of service when you’re traveling, on the move and hard-pressed to buy stamps etc. Great!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *