A wonderful way to brighten one’s day and to connect with loved ones, in spite of great distances and even tragedies and wars, postcards have been around since the beginnings of the postal service. However, the very first picture postcard in history was created in London, in 1840. The card represented a hand painted caricature of post-office employees working, and it is attributed to the writer Theodore Hook, who was also the recipient of the postcard, and who is believed to have sent it to himself as practical joke on the post-office workers.
In the following years, picture postcards gradually gained mass popularity, they were manufactured and sold in post-offices all over the Globe, and, due to their rather affordable price, were seen as an efficient way of sending quick notes, and messages even from a continent to another.
Moreover, if the very first printed postcards represented, a thick rectangular piece of paper or a thin piece of cardboard with decorated borders, which could to be sent without an envelope, the 1870s brought lithographed postcards. The 1890s introduced the postcards personalized with an image, usually representative for the town or country, where the postcards were sold, which made them acquire souvenir value, and which opened the so-called golden age of the picture postcards.
The 1930s brought in fashion the cartoon-styled postcards, extremely popular in Europe, and America , however the 20th century brought a stylistic richness, which linked the images conveyed through postcards to almost every aspect of social and cultural life, weather landscape painting, artistic photography, Art Deco or Art Noveau currents.
However, there are postcards, which combine the picture with special features, such as an appliqué, made from metal, leather or cloth, in order to confer the postcard and unique appeal; other postcards reveal base relief, embossed surfaces, 3D effects, kaleidoscopic images, interesting details revealed only in a certain light, hand-made exquisite decorations, music etc.
Nevertheless, the new millennium, and the increased demand for online services, brought another stage in the development of postcards, which acquired another, more personal value. In the internet era, postcards can be personalized in order to express, in the best way possible, the individuality of the sender, who can choose the colors, the pattern, the musical theme, and even an attached animation, which would bring the best emotional response from the addressee.
Today there are thousands of sites, which sell and even offer free picture postcards. For instance people can chose from a wide variety of customizable postcards intended to celebrate the most important events of people’s lives – starting with birthdays, weddings, engagement parties, graduation parties and other social events, the internet offers the appropriate support for every need, and every emotion which needs to be conveyed.
No matter if you prefer the colorful virtual postcards, which travel the world in a matter of seconds, or you like the more traditional postcards, which capture the charm of city or a monument, you should first think that the original purpose of the postcard – that of bringing joy to a loved one, hasn’t changed through the years.