The lost art of letter writing? Not so much. In lockdown it turns out that we are putting pen to paper much more.
For luxury stationers Smythson, sales are soaring. “We have seen an uplift in our stationery category over the month, with an 80 per cent rise in stationery sales overall for April,” says a spokesperson for the brand.
“A particular favourite within the collection is the plain stationery range (up by 203 per cent) as people look for quality paper products to handwrite their messages of love and support.”
It’s a similar story at Papier, with writing paper sales being the highest they have ever been.
Sales of greeting cards, notecards and writing paper have increased by over 300 per cent in the last month as people turn to screenless and meaningful ways to connect.
“More than ever, we’re seeing people wanting to connect with one another,” says CEO and founder of Papier, Taymoor Atighetchi.
“We’re all spending more time at home, and what better way to spend your time than penning letters to your loved ones? They’re a joy to write and an even greater joy to read and receive.”
Letter writing not only is a skill which needs a little practice, but it is also meditative and requires focus and planning, after all there is no delete button available here.
A new set of stationery is such a treat – it teems with expectation and promise and is a rare gift that serves both giver and receiver in equal measure.
In this round-up we sought quality first and foremost, nothing in this selection feels flimsy or cheap. We think there is something to suit all tastes – minimalist, maximalist, whimsy or retro, we’ve got you.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Kuroyagiza retro writing set, set of six
Made in Japan by design studio Kuroyagiza, this set is so unusual – we haven’t seen anything quite like it before. The powdery colour and the portrait design (10 x 21cm) all speak to retro office stationery. The little bird header motif is a cool touch, while the graphic design stops it from being too cutesy. The paper is thick and textural – we can’t believe the price point here; what a bargain for something so rare.
Buy now £6.00, Toothpic Nations
Over the C hello notecards, set of eight
With a simple “hello” message heading up each A6 card, and “on a happy note” typed across the envelope seal, this set offers some much-needed positivity. This is a perfect example of “just because” correspondence stationary. They are handprinted using a 19th century letterpress, so the notecards and (self-seal) envelopes each have completely unique impressions. The card is 100 per cent cotton and thick and luxurious at 300gsm. These will suit anyone who like understated playfulness – the black and white colour scheme keeps things low key.
Buy now £10.00, Over the C
Imogen Owen luxury correspondence parrot set, set of 10
These cards might initially appear fairly understated – a gold embossed feather heading up each one, but recipients are in for a rather glorious surprise. Inside the envelope flap, a beautiful painted parrot awaits. The card itself is generous in terms of both weight and thickness and the finish is smooth without being shiny. We also love the deep jungle green box the set is housed in. This is a really lovely set.
Buy now £30.00, Imogen Owen
Flame Tree Publishing Hiroshige’s Sea at Satta greeting cards, set of six
Who wouldn’t want to receive a world-famous artwork through the post? These cards feature Hiroshige’s masterpiece Sea at Satta – a bright, dramatic scene that takes the viewer to a land far away from the mundanities of lockdown life. We think the size (17 x 12.5cm) is generous, which mean writers can pack a lot into the middle of the cheerful yet highbrow cards.
Buy now £13.80, Flame Tree Publishing
Papier pink motel writing set, set of 20 sheets
This paper is just so sassy – we love it. The clash of pink and red marbling is a joy to behold, and you can have this paper personalised with both name and address, which just adds to its allure. Writing on paper like this puts a spring in one’s step, a sentiment which hopefully travels to the recipients.
The sheets – of which there are 20 paired with 10 envelopes – are thick without verging into card territory. We really appreciate the strong, sturdy white box the paper comes in, so your desk is kept neat and tidy, and the contents are protected from stains and dog ears. If pink isn’t your palette of choice, there are others to choose from, too.
Buy now £24.99, Papier
Matilda Goad monogram rick rack, set of 10
Her interiors, lighting and planters are a favourite with A-listers so it’s little wonder that creative consultant and product designer Matilda Goad’s collection with Papier is supremely stylish, featuring wavy block colours and monogramming. We plumped for the red and blue notelets which manage to make us feel simultaneously playful and grown up – which is no mean feat. These come in a white, solid box.
Buy now £20.00, Papier
Jeeves and Co flights of fancy writing paper, set of 10
Decorated with illustrations of various flying machines, this writing paper is fun, inventive and unique. We love the whimsy, escapist element of all the design motifs – balloons, wings and umbrellas in hues of green, pink and grey are completely uplifting (no pun intended). This paper can also be personalised with both name and address and we rate the fact that we were given a lot of choice in terms of the paper finish – textured 300gsm or smooth 400gsm – which is the same for the envelopes, either plain white or rustic brown for a rather vintage feel. Packaged in a smart box, you can order up to 100 sheets (or as few as 10).
Buy now £15.00, Jeeves and Co
Dear To Me Studio palm tree notecards and envelopes, set of eight
The colourway here is brilliant – powdery mint green with a pink letterpress palm tree top and centre, these notecards feel modern and fresh. The notelets come with matching green envelopes and are the perfect vessels for “just because” correspondence.
Buy now £18.00, Dear To Me Studio
Smythson bordered kings writing paper, box of 25 sheets
Housed in a box and wrapped up in a ribbon of signature powder and navy blues, this set, like anything from Smythson, is a treat before you’ve even opened it up. This handcrafted white woven writing paper is simple and uncomplicated – a neat, narrow border running around the perimeters makes for a classic design. We love the sherbet border but blue and red options and are also available. If we had to criticise this luxurious box, it would be to say that envelopes are not included.
Buy now £19.00, Smythson
The verdict: Letter writing sets
The Japanese-designed retro writing paper set by Kuroyagiza gets our vote. Cool, cute, unusual and clever – all for just over a fiver.