How does your personalized stationery really reflect you? Whether your approach to formal correspondence is simple, elegant, bold or colorful, our Ms. Modern Manners Sharon Schweitzer shares tips on stationery for your special day and beyond.

The age of social media has not sabotaged the ancient art of handwriting on personalized stationery. Just as your hair, shoes, and watch make a personal style statement, so does your stationery wardrobe. Eons ago, personalization began when knights wore special colors with insignia into tournaments and battle to obtain full credit for their heroism. These colors and insignia were called “coat of arms.” The full coat of arms, or just a part called the crest, were embossed or engraved on stationery.

Communication today has surpassed the once limited choice of pen and paper as we engage in instant messages, texts, email, blogs, social media, and more. Frequently I am asked, “Do I have to send a handwritten note to every host or hostess? May I just send an email since it is faster?” My response is, “No, it is best to remember that people delete email and save and treasure personalized notes and invitations.”

Luckily, modern conventions have surpassed the quill and ink well, along with the confines of white, ecru and gray paper. Today’s stationery wardrobes are filled with beautiful choices of bright papers, numerous inks and creative designs. You may personalize your own stationery via numerous choices at your local paper source, on-line stores, or on your own computer. To get started on the new you in the New Year, begin by considering the impression you plan to make. Your personal stationery reflects your personality. How to decide?

Notepaper and Style: Are you kinesthetic? Touch the paper and feel it to determine quality and softness. Paper may be made from wood or cotton (usually more soft and rich) and it will feel different to the touch. Notepapers may come as correspondence cards, fold-over notes, informals and letter sheets. These notepapers are each designed for different purposes and preferences. When writing invitations, thank you notes, acceptance and regrets, and business correspondences you’ll have to choose the best fit for the occasion.

Correspondence Cards. These tend to be more casual with a wider variety of paper and design. Single, flat sheets of a heavy paper stock and are designed to be used as a quick note for business or personal reasons. Make sure to write only on the front of these increasingly popular note cards.

Fold-Over and Informal Notes. Another more casual style also for business or personal reasons, but used for a longer note. These range from thank-you notes and informal invitations to short messages to friends and acquaintances. Often your monogram or name may appear on these notes. For informal notes, resist the urge to be fooled by their name as they are the most formal of the notecards. Usually small, white or ecru fold-over notes engraved in black ink and may have a paneled frame.

Letter Sheets. Single sheets folded in half used for longer letters or business correspondence. Three main types that differ in size, from smallest to largest: social letter sheets are for social and personal writing, monarch or executive letter sheets can be used for personal or business casual letters, business letter sheets are for more formal business correspondence or company letterhead.


Age-old techniques and modern technology allow numerous choices for style and budget.

Engraving is the oldest and most costly. Beautiful process for reproducing three-dimensional images on paper in exquisite detail. Engraving from metal or copper plate. Ink is deposited on a raised impression. A “bruise” may be felt on the back. Embossing is popular with monograms, where an image is pressed onto paper creating a three-dimensional look. Blind Embossing: identical process as engraving without the ink. Debossing is the process that depresses the image below the surface. Remember for weddings, until the couple is married, there is no monogram with both the bride and groom’s initials, only a duogram.

Letterpress is the historical method with a recent return into style involves raised type on blocks to press ink into paper surface leaving an indentation. Thermography is less costly than engraving, resin powder melted with heat over flat-printed ink and may create a small rise. Sometimes referred to as “raised printing.” Flat Printing is also known as lithography. Process applies ink directly and flatly to paper with no raise. Very contemporary clean look. Laser Printing is, of course, digital printing using toner. Handles type and graphics better than inkjet printing. Quick and easy, but the process also limits paper-weight and thickness. Remember to be cautious with ink color. In the US, red indicates anger and displeasure. In Asia and other parts of the world, Buddhists write the name of the dead in red. Think carefully before you finalize and approve the print color on your personalized stationery.


For men, according to Crane & Co., today the most popular choice for a man’s personal stationery is the correspondence card. For women, informal stationery notes are currently considered the most popular stationery item for women. Some of the top stationery trends in 2013 include a vintage look with nostalgic designs. Monograms are back and a unique and sophisticated way to add a personal touch with your initials. Create your own design with anything from initial block monograms to interconnecting script monograms. Letterpress is becoming increasingly popular while remaining rich and elegant. Mixing typestyles is a big hit. Combining large script letters and clean block letters gives a custom look to typesetting. Various shades of blue and green paper have been popular…and in 2014 looking forward to tones of red paper.

Personalized stationery includes choices of colorful design, paper and print style. Make a statement as unique as your wardrobe and appearance. Your choice of stationery is a reflection on you and your style, so ring in the New Year with a new you of connecting.