Elisabeth Egan, the books editor for Glamour magazine, struggled with how to express her political protestations after the November presidential election, until she realized the call to send postcards to lawmakers perfectly matched her skill set.
“I’m a good writer and I have good handwriting,” Ms. Egan said. “And I have a lifelong love of paper.” So starting on Jan. 22, she pledged to write 100 postcards to public servants in 100 days.
“I do try to read them with an eye to what the most conservative person I know would make of this postcard,” she said. (A recent card to President Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, ended with, “I’m sorry, I’m sure this is hard to hear and I know your job is beyond hard.”)
Ms. Egan’s postcards of choice feature literary quotes from authors like Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf, but those looking to address the current administration have ever-increasing options of cards designed by stationery makers and artists specifically for writing lawmakers. Many companies are selling the postcards at cost or donating a portion of the proceeds.
Dahlia Press, which is based in Seattle, released four female-empowerment illustrated postcards, including one with a hand with red fingernails holding an olive branch and “Tough as Nails” written across the wrist ($12 for eight). Stephanie Clarke, the company’s founder, intended the cards to be appropriate whether the sender wanted to encourage lawmakers to better support women or to thank those who were.
“I didn’t want the cards to come across as aggressive,” Ms. Clarke said. “I kept them very soft and feminine and peaceful.”
Saying thank you is one of the purposes of the Waterknot Super Pak (Postcard Action Kit) collection, which includes messages like: “Thanks for working for justice. You’ve got my vote!” For those with whom a sender disagrees, one option is “Work for love to earn my vote” on a purple card with darker purple writing ($12 for 18). Two companies, Bench Pressed in Minneapolis and the Firecracker Press in St. Louis, offer postcards reminiscent of party invitations that prompt the sender to fill in the blanks with things like a hometown, issues of concern and why the topic is important.
Paper Chase Press goes one step further, with full-page stationery that requires an envelope. The 40-year-old Los Angeles press and bindery company, whose clients include Marc Jacobs and the Ace Hotel group, just introduced an Official Correspondence series ($12 for 12), including letterhead on thick eggshell-color paper with a circular logo reading “The Office of Concerned Constituents.”
The series could be considered partisan, said Nicole Katz, Paper Chase’s chief executive, noting one reads “Majority” and another “Immigrant.” But her hope is that buyers can find a paper that fits their political personality. “We like the idea of radical neutrality,” Ms. Katz said.
Paperless Post is also aiming for neutral, though of the nonradical variety, with a new line of Write Your Reps postcards offered among its pastel baby shower invitations and thick-stock personal stationery. (Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has had a stake in Paperless Post via his brother’s venture capital firm, but is reportedly divesting himself of that and other assets.)
One card calls to mind the United States flag, with “Yes” in shadowed letters in the upper-left corner; a matching “No” card is available.
“Having both versions will really allow people to participate in political dialogue,” Catherine Chi, a content director at Paperless Post, said. “Also, prettiness and politeness can be a good way to bring forward a message to your local representative.”
Dana Doll, executive director of Treetops Collective, a refugee advocacy group in Grand Rapids, Mich., was looking for politically powerful but polite postcards when she found printable postcards on Instagram from Love Letter America, a collection by various artists designed for writing to lawmakers with imagery of America’s strengths.
Treetops is “quite serious about wanting to take a positive voice in general, especially with the work we do and people we work with,” Ms. Doll said.
So when she and a stationery-obsessed colleague gathered with fellow advocates last month to write to Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan and a member of the House Freedom Caucus, they used downloadable postcards reading “Dear America, I love you” atop a pink drawing of the United States, and another with an illustration of the Statue of Liberty above the words “Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Both postcards were created by Oliver Jeffers, a children’s book author and illustrator, who wanted to channel his distress over the political climate into a positive message, which he thinks is more productive. An original rendering, he said, included an unflattering picture of Mr. Trump yelling into a megaphone, “Kick them out, ban them, lock them up.”
When he drew it, Mr. Jeffers said, “there was anger in me — that’s pointing out what’s wrong rather than reminding them what’s right.” So for the card released to go to lawmakers, he let Lady Liberty stand alone, a heart topping her torch.