Thursday, September 28, 2017

Giving Myself a Party: All About Paperless Post

I squirrel away sealed greeting cards that people give me so I can open them later when I'm having a bad day. --Emily Procter
When I was presented with the idea of trying out Paperless Post, my first thought was, "But I'm not a greeting card person!" I am terrible at sending cards. Text messages and Facebook posts are the closest I get to an actual greeting on a birthday, and if I'm giving someone a gift, I usually thrust it below the person's nose in a gift bag (if you're lucky) - certainly no card involved.

But the thing is: I love cards. I love the look of them, and I love the idea of them, and so many are actually works of art in a givable form. I recently started collecting them and saving them for the revolutionary when I might actually GIVE one to someone. "That would be a lovely thank you card," I say to myself. And yet, they have remained a collection to this day.

And invitations? I'm gonna need to get a life for that...

But I knew about Paperless Post through a friend who had actually used them for her wedding invitations. I liked them immediately. Indeed, e-cards have been around for years, but hers were so elegant - beautiful enough for someone like me - a collector of pretty things - to appreciate. And for other non-hoarders, they did the job without affecting the environment. Nicely done.

So, what about this Paperless Post?

You need an account to start. I use the Facebook login, because I can't bear the idea of having yet another login to keep track of. Then, you can load your account with "coins" that you can purchase to add premium details, to your cards, like logos and envelope liners, though you can get many pretty features for free.

When you go to the site, you are presented with exactly what you're meant to do. I like that. Do this, then do that, and then you'll have that. My frazzled brain likes simple directions:

I sat and thought about what sort of card I could make, and then only thing I could think of was that my birthday is coming up... it's the big 40. That's a big enough deal for a card, I think. So, I went over to "Adult Invitations," and got started. 

This might mean I might actually have to organize a party for myself, but we'll worry about that later.

I was confronted by seven pages of options to start, which was initially overwhelming for me. Thankfully, you can filter them by colour, shape, number of photos (if you wish to use photos), and cost (they are free, one coin, or two coins at the time of this post). You can also choose designer cards if you want, and there are a couple dozen to choose from: kate spade, Vera Wang, Crate & Barrel, to name a few. I scrolled through the first couple of pages and noticed I was liking the ones by Rifle Paper Co., so I filtered using their designs and clicked on the one I liked best.

I was then brought through a very straightforward design interface. Even though the card is pre-designed, you can still change some of the elements, like the backdrop of the screen that the e-card will sit on, and even the dimensions and printed lining of the envelope. And, if you really, really wanted to, you can choose to have your card printed on actual paper for an extra cost:

The artistic side of me really loved the stamp choices. Even though I wasn't actually going to be mailing these, I kind of wished I was when I saw the options:

For invitations, you can also choose how you would like your guests to reply:

While you are designing, the top right corner keeps track of the cost of your card. I was really going to town with my cards, so mine was using quite a few coins, but you could still make a really cute card for a lot fewer coins:

And at the end, I could preview the animation that my guests would get, including the full details and how to RSVP. It was THAT SIMPLE:

In all, including all my dithering over card designs and text, it only took me about half an hour to come up with a pretty card. I haven't actually sent them out yet because I haven't actually planned a birthday party for myself and I'd hate to promise to meet at a venue I haven't actually booked, but it's all ready to go if I decide to send them. Once they're sent, Paperless Post tracks the invite list and even gives the option for guests to write comments on the wall Having been the recipient of one of these invitations, I really liked how you get a map showing where the event will be, and I even get the option of adding the event to my online calendars so I can get a reminder:

Having done this for an imaginary event, I sat back and thought a bit on the experience of creating the invitation, and upon reflection, it would have been easier for me to make myself a birthday card, which I might well do. How nice would it be to get a little message from my pre-40 me on the big day? It was so fun making this card, I might just do that next.

Hmm... I might just start sending myself cards on random days just to cheer me up...

Or, I might actually send a card to a friend someday. How cool would that be? And if it's this easy, why not? I better get to work...

This post is a review of Paperless Post, in collaboration with Anagram Interactive. I received free coins in exchange for the review, but I am otherwise in no way affiliated with Paperless Post or its subsidiaries.

No comments: