Say It, Mean It, Send It: Thank You.

Written by in Create, Features, Inspire

The Art of the Thank You

There’s nothing better than handwritten gratitude.


 I don’t know about you, but I was raised to write thank you notes. Yes, notes. On cards. Or personalized stationery. Today, an emailed or texted thanks is common, and I applaud any effort to express thanks, especially one festooned with personality-packed emoji, but I also mourn the handwritten note.

“That handwritten envelope in your mailbox is the first one you open, right?” asks Edie Frere, owner of Los Angeles shop Landis Gifts & Stationery. “You know that inside will be something special, and it doesn’t matter if your handwriting is perfect – the idea that you took the time to handwrite a personal note and address an envelope is the important thing. ”

Now more than ever, taking the time to put actual pen to real paper is even more appreciated. And let’s not forget your own personal typeface–your handwriting.


But a disappointing trend is shown in the fact that 45 states have signed on for the Common Core, a kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum plan that does not include penmanship at all, so cursive handwriting won’t be taught. When I mentioned that at a family dinner party, my two eye surgeon brothers agreed: ‘That’s a huge mistake, even from a developmental point of view. Cursive handwriting, for a six or seven-year-old, is the most effective method of marrying fine and gross motor skills.” So the handwritten thank-you is not just polite, it’s good for our brains!

One of the most satisfying aspects to the handwritten thank-you is selecting the paper or card you wish to send. Considering the recipient is key, of course. Are you going for casual? Silly? Reverential? Having your own personal stationery on hand is convenient, and tells your reader you take personalized communication to heart. And I never visit a museum without a trip to the on-site store. I’ve been collecting fine art cards and postcards for years; they give you an instant cache of possibilities. They’re little works of art that you have personally imprinted with your lovely note, and that may end up on your receiver’s wall, mirror, or bedside table.


The pen is also to be considered. I like ultra-fine tip markers, in black. But some prefer a Mont Blanc fountain pen, with its swashy irregularities in letter weights and inky trails. Depending on the grain of the paper, the correct pen can help get your thoughts flowing over the page.


And maybe that’s the most important part of the handwritten note—its content. eHarmony founder and relationship expert Neil Clark Warren, PhD, says, “When I receive a handwritten note from someone, I don’t want there to be even a whiff of generality about it. I want it to pertain to me and to me alone. If it does, I will read it over two or three times because it inevitably will participate in the deep substructure of our relationship. It will make an enormous difference to me.”

In my business, I find myself wanting to add a personal note when sending a check or other correspondence. I asked our designer to put together a buckslip. He didn’t know what one was. Neither did our printer. Okay, so I’m a bit older, but a buckslip is a card-stock, one-sided (not folded) notecard printed with your company name or logo. It’s about ¾ the length of a number 10 envelope, and the exact width. We’re getting ours printed soon, and I can’t wait.


Recently, walking along my neighborhood shopping street in Los Angeles, I came upon a little table set up with a cash box. Scattered all over the table were handmade cards and gift box labels, created by two 12-year-old girls who were selling them. As I selected cards to buy, I asked how they’d thought of this creative venture. They liked art, they said, and they were raising money for Childrens’ Hospital in Downtown LA.

As I walked away with my brown paper bag filled with their personal works of art, I was filled with a joy I hadn’t experienced in a long time. The kind of joy someone feels when he or she opens your handwritten card, and reads your words.

[From the Editor: Thank you for reading Julie’s Roux’s article. If you comment on it on this blog, and include your snail mail address, I or she will send you a personal thank you note for your kind words of support. Say it. Mean it. Send it!]

New Voices: Julie Roux 

Based in Los Angeles, Julie Prendiville Roux is a writer, screenwriter, and creative director. She has profiled over 100 commercial artists and visual arts companies for Communication Arts magazine, and has written for The Los Angeles Times, Animation Magazine, Photo District News and STEP inside design, among other publications. Julie is co-founder and creative director of Handmade Productions, an advertising agency. With her writing partner, she has had two movies made: “An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong”, and “Burning Bright”. Against the Grain is her first foray into the world of blogging.







  1. 03
    Alyson Kuhn said:

    Welcome to Against the Grain, Julie! I am a big fan of “real thank-you notes.” My favorite recent incoming thank-you note has a nice illustration of a typewriter on the front, with a sheet of white paper coming out, on which is typed a single word: Nice. Inside, the sender acknowledges that she bought the card at her post office. I’m now hunting. Meanwhile, I would LOVE a card that says “Say it. Mean it. Send it. Thank you.” – especially if there were a little check box in front of each statement! Thankuhn for starting my day on such a bright note! – Alyson Kuhn

  2. 06
    M Knott said:

    This article shows some really cool innovative ideas to say Thank You. Finding the right paper stock is the first step in the design process for your work. Finding just the right combination is half the battle. To see great products along with timely advice, Announcement Converters ( is your first stop on the way to great designs.