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Handwritten Blog

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We post blog articles on all things handwritten, associated topics and the occasional dog story!

By Handwritten Letters, Aug 19 2015 10:05AM

Research from the Royal Mail shows that nowadays people expect communications to be ‘personal, relevant, timely and useful’. I suspect that they always did, but the advent of cheap email mass marketing technology made a lot of marketers forget this.

Email and traditional snail mail both have their strengths when used properly. Email is great for simple updates and everyday messages while snail mail is seen as more authoritative.

According to the research, consumers prefer to receive certain types of communication by post, for example financial services information, local authority news and travel brochures. The research also found that if you want people to think about your messages, you should use post, while if it is a quick update, email is fine.

The figures show that:

• 72% of people say they open all of their post.

• 56% say they are likely to spend time reading mail compared to 27% reading their email.

Postal mail has a tactile quality. When executed well, for example using high quality or unusual paper and envelopes, maybe combined with a handwritten or personalised message, it can convey reliability and show that you’ve put extra care and thought into it.

• 57% of people say that mail makes them feel more valued, while only 17% say that about email.

• 61% say that mail gives a better impression, while only 45% say that about email.

The key for businesses trying to communicate with new and existing customers is to use a combination of mail, email and digital to deliver personal, relevant, timely communications, using the most appropriate media for the message.



¹ IPA Touchpoints 5, 2014

² Royal Mail MarketReach, Mail and Digital Part 1, Quadrangle, 2013

³ Royal Mail MarketReach, Mail and Digital Part 2, Quadrangle, 2014

By Handwritten Letters, Oct 23 2014 11:09AM

A scribe is someone who copies or transcribes documents or manuscripts by hand. Particularly prevalent in medieval times, the profession was found in some form in most literate cultures, but ceased to be of importance when the mass printed word arrived.

Contrast the necessity of the scribe in medieval times, where there was no such thing as the printed word and most of the population could not write by hand, with our media rich world. Today, we are swamped by the printed word, in magazines, leaflets, books and newspapers.

Printers, photocopiers and emails generate millions of printed words every day.

And so we are witnessing a trend back to the future, to the handcrafted, the handwritten and the personal.

I was struck a few weeks ago by an article in The Times by James Dean, about handwriting robot scribes in America (where else!). Some greeting card firms there are using handwriting robots that have been designed to hold a real pen and to mimic the real handwriting styles of humans, in response to the increased popularity of handwritten notes.

Handwriting robots
Handwriting robots

Dean reports that the robots write at the same speed as a human and don’t make mistakes.

The article also reports that there are 3 ways to spot fakes, when something that looks as though it has been written by hand, has actually been ‘handwritten’ by a robot scribe.

Apparently the uniformity of the writing gives it away.

1. Dots on the “i”s will always be in exactly the same place

2. Pressure of ink on the page will be uniform

3. Margins on the left will be straight

Human handwriting however, is not precise. Dots on “i”s will vary, ink will be more transparent in the centre of pen strokes and margins on the left will slant, because humans ‘push each new line further to the right of the page before they end each paragraph’.

It appears that we also write so that the right hand margins are ‘rounded’, because we worry about running out of space on every new line.

The argument for the handwriting robots is that there can be 50 or more writing at any time, mass producing greetings cards and other communications, uniformly and without error.

But surely that defeats the object? A handwritten note takes time, isn’t mass produced and may contain irregularities or even a mistake! That’s what separates the robots from the humans.

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