E-mail has its limits. Too often brusque, businesslike, and soul-less, it is the medium of communication for chores—doling out assignments, organizing carpools, and complaining about a missing can of tomatoes in an online grocery order.
It’s no way to tell someone that you love or miss them. It’s no way to thank a friend or stranger for an extraordinary act of kindness or a dinner invitation. This used to be the job of high-quality, personalized stationery. And while some admirably organized (and time-insensitive) types still rely exclusively on this method, those who find themselves sending such missives frequently yearn for something more expedient and modern. (And we don’t mean a text message, which is best suited to breezy chats and logistics.)
Enter Electragram, a new online-correspondence company that functions as a digital telegram, inviting users to create custom messages on smartly designed and personalized templates. (It all works within one’s e-mail system, so there’s no need to download yet another app.) When an Electragram arrives in one’s in-box, its catchy design ensures that it won’t be ignored; the feeling is akin to discovering a hand-addressed envelope from a friend in a stack of bills.
Electragram was co-founded by Graydon Carter (co-editor of Air Mail) and his wife, Anna Scott Carter, when the couple was living in France and searching for quick but special ways to meaningfully communicate with friends and family back home. Ultimately, with the help of Angela Panichi and John Tornow (she is the design director and he is the chief technology officer for Air Mail), they made their own with an initial design that was inspired by vintage Western Union telegrams. The tagline: “When snail mail is too slow, and email is too slight.”
After months of beta-testing among a discerning group of friends and colleagues, Electragram is now available for everyone to enjoy. The initial design is now joined by an array of templates; Vespas, pineapples, teddy bears, palm trees, birthday cakes, and martini glasses are among their decorations.
Each missive can be further customized by color and font and delivered via either e-mail or text; recipients can seamlessly send replies via Electragram’s user-friendly Web site as well. All correspondence can be saved for posterity in Electragram’s “archive” folder, the digital equivalent of a leather-covered filing box.
And for those who have been dreading the annual holiday-card conundrum, help is here—Electragram is an ideal way to send festive, personalized greetings to everyone in your address book without requiring a single trip to the post office or an interaction with Paperless Post. There is more happy news—Electragram’s new set of elegant seasonal offerings includes two limited-edition stationery options, a holiday-themed stamp set, and a selection of monograms to personalize your message. And if you’re still searching for a special something for an especially discerning friend of family member, why not go with an an annual gift subscription to Electragram’s premium membership? Elegant, stylish, and foolproof—unlike that Cameo greeting from Sarah Palin that you went with last year.
Ashley Baker is a Deputy Editor for Air Mail