We reported during the first lockdown that stationery companies, like Smythson, were seeing an uptick in sales as people put pen to paper in a bid to find ways of staying in touch that didn’t involve screen time.
Since then, life has been nothing short of a slog, we know, but without wanting to minimise the loss and loneliness, there is still plenty to be thankful for – and one of the very best ways to do this is by writing a thank you card. And if your memory of thank you card writing involves your mum nagging you to do it on Boxing Day – know this: thank you cards improve the sender’s wellbeing as well as making the recipient’s day.
A good thank you card should make a recipient feel cared for and uplifted as soon as the receive it. Our round-up contains cards that would make people feel either happy or understood (or both) instantly. From plates of deliciousness or black and white photographs or boldly colour blocked prints there’s a range of subject matter and style.
While cards with text on them are part of our selection, we were also keen to include cards with just images so as to give the senders autonomy over their messages. We were also so pleased to be able to include plenty of independent artists and makers in the round-up.
Quality is of course really important, not just in the illustration or design but in the finish on the card. We were looking for thick paper and also, paper that was easy to write on: too soft and porous and ink bleeds messily but the alternative is that there’s no absorption at all which brings about its own untidy issues.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
The Right Lines shining stars card
Designed with the NHS rainbow in mind, this card is the brightest way to thank anyone who has lifted your spirits with their thoughtfulness or kindness over the past year, from life changing key workers to a caring pal. It is text heavy with deep sentiment, which is perfect for anyone who struggles to find the words for their feelings. The rainbow colours and gloss finish make this a truly uplifting thing to receive.
Buy now £3.70, Therightlines.co.uk
V&A Museum Set of 50 postcards
What we liked was that each card was a different image to look at and explore – so writers get a chance to have a little education in photographic art before they send their missives. There are photographs by the likes of Man Ray and Cindy Sherman all in a really cool hard black box with silver “camera” embossing.
This set of photographs from the V&A’s Photography Centre collection is absolutely excellent value. These are ideal for short pithy notes of thanks or thought and will look lovely propped up on any recipient’s mantelpiece.
Buy now £14.99, Vam.ac.uk
Katie Leamon thank you card
These are individually hand printed cards which will appeal to anyone with a penchant for bold typography and monochrome colour schemes. We have to give props to the envelope too, with its merry confetti design. The paper quality is 300gsm – making it feel solid without being bulky.
Buy now £3.50, Padlifestyle.com
Hannah Richards Design pick up sticks greetings card
Fans of block colour will be delighted by all the print designs in Richards’ handmade collection. This one – a brilliant jumble of pick up sticks has plenty of pick-me-up energy with which to share your gratitude. The finish is matte and the envelope is made from recycled corn so you’re helping the environment too –bonus.
Buy now £3.00, Etsy.com
Art By Lucia greetings card
These playful cards are prints of rich watercolour and ink paintings made in the West Country. The finish is smooth and glossy – but the blank inside is rough enough to make writing easy and satisfying.
We love the sea life selection best but if you’re more of a landlubber there are bees, birds and other wildlife to choose from. Lucia also accepts commissions meaning you can personalise your cards to suit you or your recipients tastes.
Buy now £3.00, Artbylucia.co.uk
Papier chromatic thanks, box of ten
As is always the case with Papier, these cards are made of Mohawk paper and are thick, weighty and luxurious – the same goes for the envelopes. The rainbow coloured letters on matte eggshell ground dominate the card and are a welcome dose of cheer.
Buy now £18.50, Papier.com
Pen & Ink original hand-painted card
The USP here is that each card is an original watercolour painting that isn’t reproduced. Although themes or topics might be repeated, no image is the same and card size varies slightly.
What we really like is that your recipient will have an original piece of art with your message inside, perfect for framing, which is a pretty special way to say thank you! We love the charming, unpretentious finish – and the humour in each painting. The card is thick, cream watercolour paper with a richly textured finish.
We think the small plates and sushi platters are best – but there’s plenty on offer here from pink Christmas trees to muddy terriers or bouquets of flowers. Requests are welcomed and the collection is added to on a daily basis.
Buy now £8.00, Etsy.com
Smythson correspondence cards, ten
Simple, smart and completely plain for anyone who wants total control over their correspondence and like to express themselves completely. These are super chic and incredibly sophisticated not least because of the quality Smythson always guarantees. Just holding the powder blue ribboned box feels like total luxury. A joy for both writer and recipient.
Buy now £25.00, Smythson.com
De Winton Paper Co stand by me cards, set of eight
These cards are printed versions of hand painted pieces by artist Harriet de Winton which evoke a sense of togetherness that so many of us are missing right now. This is the perfect way to give thanks for our friends and to let them know just how much we miss them. The texture of the card is a soft matte, which suits the paintings beautifully. These are lovely, sentimental cards.
Buy now £12.00, Dewintonpaperco.com
Poppins & Co ice cream cards, set of six
With the days finally getting longer we thought these ice cream themed cards were just the ticket for words of thanks, support or just reminding your pals that there are better times ahead. These are charming illustrations, beautifully printed on weighty, slightly rough cards. You can pick packs of six, 12 or 18. We also think these could work beautifully as birthday cards.
Buy now £11.99, Poppinsandco.com
The Completist merci beaucoup card
If you think everything sounds better in French then this is the card for you. We love the lively checked brushstrokes and punch of colour on this A6 card. Printed in London on 300gsm thick gesso paper the texture is rather matte which is extremely pleasing.
Buy now £3.50, The-completist.com
Hannah Carvell thanks a bunch card
This bunch of bananas is just sort of tongue in cheek boldness you can offer a good friend. We love the audaciousness of how the illustrations and typography fill the whole surface. These cards are illustrated with pen and ink before being hand screen printed onto recycled paper, the quality of which is excellent.
Buy now £3.75, Hannahcarvell.com
The verdict: Thank you cards
The timeliness of The Right Lines and how it captures the sentiment of the past year while still offering longevity – gratitude is always going to be relevant, right? – is what we especially liked about this card. We also thought the way it paves the way for writers to express themselves, almost like a prompt, would be really helpful for anyone who finds expressing their feelings, especially on paper, a struggle. Meanwhile, we think the V&A postcards offer the best value for short sweet notes.
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