Tag Archives: personal correspondence

eMail Holiday Cards May Send the Wrong Message

I have been getting ready to send out our annual email reminder  to customers about ordering holiday cards this year.  In the past few weeks I’ve heard back from many customers who normally send holiday cards that upper management now is requesting that marketing send out eMail Holiday Cards instead of printed cards.

There is no doubt that eMail Holiday cards are less expensive to send than printed cards but what is the real cost of sending eMail cards?  I Googled this and found this article by “BIG” Mike McDaniel that sums it up pretty well.  Mike wrote:

Thinking about saving time and postage this Holiday season by sending your greetings by eMail? Don’t.

Using eMail will get the greeting delivered all right, but it might not be the message you want to convey. eMail is great for rapid communication.  eMail is terrific for business. eMail it is great for old friends to keep in touch. But eMail is a real flop when it comes to expressing genuine emotion or caring.

The sentiment expressed when you snail-mail a card, picked by you, addressed by you and signed by you cannot be duplicated on a color monitor.  Some people like to use the free electronic greeting cards that send an eMail message that points the recipient to a web page that has an animated greeting card, some artificial music, and an ad for a product! What feeling does that convey?

Think back to holidays past and the joy of opening cards and reading the handwritten messages. Now consider how you felt when the card was factory imprinted with the name or business of the sender, or worse, how you felt when your name was stickered on the front by a computer label.

I help people and businesses better understand and use eMail. With over 50 Billion eMail messages holiday greeting.  First, more than half of the people who use eMail still see only plain vanilla text. Newer and fancier eMail programs allow the reader to see fancy pages with color and photos, called HTML. But if you send an HTML encoded eMail message to a friend with plan vanilla text eMail, your message will be lost in lists of code and funny characters. I tell my audiences to stay away from eMail greetings at holiday time. traveling around the globe every day, there is not a lot of room for the flat emotion of an eMail

Send different sentiments to different friends, business associates and relatives. You may want to send a Happy Holidays card to those who might be offended at Merry Christmas. Whether you print or purchase your variety of greeting cards, choose ones that use the same size envelope. Take the time to add a personal note on every card, it will convey emotion and friendship so much more than just your signature.




The Post Office always wants you to mail early, but for best emotional results hold off until after the first of December. In 1860, the goal of the Pony Express was to get mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California in ten days. Not much has changed. Mail before December 10 or your snail-mail may not make it in time.

Convey your message of friendship, love and business communication in a very personal way this holiday by not using eMail for seasons greetings.



Toner offsetting on mailed letters

I noticed that when I print a letter using my desktop laser printer the letter looks great when I put it in the envelope and mail it.  However, when the envelope arrives at the address I mailed it to, quite often the letter has toner offset on the portion of the letter where the type rubbed off on the paper.  I’ve noticed this on many of the letters that I’ve received in the mail as well.

In doing some research, I’ve learned that the U.S. Post Office uses high speed mail sorting equipment and this equipment puts sufficient pressure on the envelopes to make the toner offset. The USPS ran a lot of engineering tests years ago and concluded that though there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the effect, it cannot be entirely eliminated. This happens with letters produced on the desktop as well as those produced by high-speed laser printers.  So, a letter produced with toner, is prone to offset.

There are few solutions to this problem that are viable – fold the letter “outside” so that any toner transfer will be to the inside of the envelope; mail the letter without folding it in a booklet envelope, or add a slip sheet where appropriate to receive toner transfer.

The slip-sheet is a hassle and can look odd when received, the 9 x 12 envelope is more expensive to mail, and if you fold a letter “outside” then the content of the letter can be read through the envelope.  The mailing industry has moved past this issue (it has been around for 8-10 years), not having come up with an easy solution to the problem.  So I recommend folding a letter “outside” when privacy is not an issue or spend the extra change to mail the letter using a booklet envelope in a 9 x 12 folder and include some other useful material at the same time.

Any way you choose to go, the cost will be more expensive than sending an email with a pdf attachment however the impact of your personal letter should far outweigh the added expense and effort required.

Toner Offset on personal correspondence letters

Have you ever opened a letter sent to you in the mail and noticed that the toner used to print the body of the letter had offset onto the letterhead paper?   I couldn’t understand why, when I printed the letter out at my desktop laser printer, the letter looked clean and beautiful yet when it arrived on the desk of the person I was mailing it to the toner used to write the letter had offset onto the letterhead paper.

I did an informal study by mailing letters to my home printed on a variety of papers using both my desktop Brother MFC-7220 laser printer and my HP Officejet 5610 inkjet printer.  When I opened my mail  all of the letters had offset on the paper, although some less than others.  Since all of the letters looked clean and beautiful when they left my office in the mail the culprit  in this mystery seemed to be the US Postal Service.

Upon further investigation I discovered that when letters enter the U S Post Office mail stream envelopes go through a labyrinth of sorting machines.  These machines have rollers that move and hold the envelopes along their path to their intended destinations.  The combination of the heat and pressure these rollers apply to the envelopes cause the toner printed on the letter inside the envelope to re-apply itself to whatever paper is next to it.

Here we are in the business of printing letterheads for businesses to use to correspond with and yet those letters look less-than-professional when they are read by the person the letter is sent to.  What can be done about this?

There are a few solutions that came to mind about what to do to remedy this situation, among them;

  • fold the letter inside out when stuffing it into a #10 envelope.  This way the toner offsets on the inside of the envelope instead of on the letter itself.  One problem with this solution is that the letter can be read through the envelope.
  • place a tissue or lightweight translucent sheet of paper over the letter prior to folding it.  This way the toner is offset onto the tissue instead of onto  the letter.  Some of us may remember engraved wedding invitations with a tissue in them.  Engravers learned long ago that since engraving ink sits up on the paper it will rub off onto the paper next to it when rubbed under the pressure of postal equipment.  A tissue was used between the engraved ink and the paper.
  • Send all letters in a 9×12 envelope instead of a #10 envelope.  One problem with this is that the postage is more expensive and the letter still offsets onto the inside of the envelope and you can read through most  9×12’s just as you can with the #10
  • Hand deliver your letter, very expensive but very impressive…

This morning I contacted Julie Schafer of the Printing Industry Digital Imaging Council this morning to discuss this subject.  Julie was aware of this issue and was going to see if there has been any research done in this area.  Julie was going to bring Frank Romano and Daryl Mooney also with PIA into the discussion.  Without a practical solution to this problem I fear that customers will increasingly turn to the email to send correspondence as pdf attachments to be printed out at the receivers desktop instead of mailing letters.  Not only would this trend be bad for those us who print letterheads but it would take another step away from the personal correspondence we are increasing moving away from in our digital world.

More information will follow on this important subject in the coming days.