When you think about custom stationery, it seems a little outdated. In fact, to me it conjures up images of letters written with a fountain pen and sealed with wax sealed to be delivered in a saddle bag on horseback. Electronic communication has supplanted paper letters, memos, and envelopes as means of communication in most cases. As archaic as fancy stationery might seem, it still has its place in today’s world. The world of business and communication may be more and more digital, but we still exist in the real world and we interact at times by talking face to face, sending letters, and passing papers at meetings and across desks.

Emails and text messages have become so commonplace that a real physical letter with a letterhead makes a serious impression these days. Some colleges have started doing it to cut down on wait times, but how much less climactic is opening an email with your admissions decision than opening an honest-to-goodness letter? Getting a letter (that isn’t junk mail) feels like an event and shows that more than a little thought went into sending the message. Moving up in the business world is often about perceptions; perceptions about how hard you are working, how seriously you take the job, and professional you are. Investing in things like business cards and stationery for yourself can help boost positive perceptions of you as a worker.

Stationery doesn’t have to be stuffy and old-fashioned, either. If you like letterpressed, embossed, or engraved designs for their caché you can use them. The style of your stationery should match the style of your business, brand, or personality. It should advertise in some way what you stand for. You can even use old-school stationery printing techniques to fancy up the modern designs on your printed products. You can design your envelopes, letterheads, and memos to convey an air of professionalism, security, friendliness, or fun, depending on your organization’s or your own personal image.