Want to earn points with anyone from your girlfriend to a potential boss? Next time you want to say thank you for something important, put down the phone and write a letter. A handwritten letter used to mean a lot, and today, with so many easier ways to communicate, it means even more. But don’t just write your note on a piece of loose leaf and drop it in the mail, invest in some quality, handsome stationery. Here are the shops we recommend checking out to acquire some.
Rifle Paper Co.
Most of the stationery from Rifle Paper Co. looks like it was plucked from a Wes Anderson movie set. The colorful, cartoonish cards are ideal for the guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously. You can even order a stack with a custom cartoon portrait of yourself for added personality. Link
Terrapin Stationers, a family-run company that’s been around for a century, has been our paper place of choice for years. We’ve sent countless notes on the company’s expletive-ridden products. But the brand is more than note cards that deliver a chuckle; all the simple, clean offerings are a huge upgrade over anything from Hallmark. Link
For $25, Forgetful Gentleman will make sure you have correspondence at the ready when an event pops up. The kit includes Thank You cards, ones for birthdays, and more. If you’d rather something more personal, they also sell clean bespoke stationery. Link
Since 2004, Sideshow Press has printed their goods on in-house, vintage presses. Choose from custom letterpress printing, cards with simple and sharp designs, or any of their other products centered around the craft of writing. Link
We’ve always viewed Smythson as the most regal of the stationery brands. They’re makers of fine cards that might be suited for thanking someone for a spot of tea. That said, if you want to send something proper, say for wedding gifts or the like, their stationery delivers in spades. Link
From the minimal bicycle graphics to the 1960 Heidelberg Windmill the company uses, there’s a lot we dig about Meticulous Ink. The UK-based stationery shop uses fine oil-based inks and an eye for style to craft their sharp sets. Link
Brandon Griswold is a graphic designer, photographer, and letterpress fan who’s worked for the likes of Goose Island Beer Company, Fossil, and more. We were first introduced to him when we backed his Kickstarter project for Manly Marks, a book full of sharp designs of steaks, axes, and other masculine things. He’s taken some of those illustrations and plastered them on some correspondence cards we can’t recommend enough. Link
Named after John Connors, a renowned 19th century New York stationer, Connor aims to deliver the finest hand-engraved paper. Outfitting their correspondence with simple icons, each card leaves plenty of writing room without lacking some personality. All the custom dies and images are engraved by hand for superb detail. Link
The guys at Thornwillow have a thing for the written word. Take a look through their shop and you’ll see a passion for everything from letterpress printing to leather bookbinding. And when a company cares that much about pen touching paper, you know they’ll deliver stationery worthy of your words. You choose what goes on the paper and the color of the envelope lining when you make a purchase. Link
If you don’t have something nice to say… Calligraphuck has a card for you. Okay, these probably shouldn’t be your everyday correspondence cards, but for the times when you need the help of some carefully chosen four-letter words, they’re here to help. Link
Coddington Lane makes throwback stationery, the kinds of simple cards your grandpa might have sent. Each gets outfitted with a name or a monogram in a sharp font, and that’s it. Basic. Perfect. Link
Bliss & Bone
While a lot of correspondence cards follow similar patterns—minimal graphics, sharp typography, etc.—the ones from Bliss & Bone do not. They’re unique. They sell grayscale cards that look like everything from a Rorschach test to photocopied body parts. For the guy who wants something different. Link