We sat down with Carissa of People I've Loved and asked her a few questions about how she got started and where she see the future of letter-writing heading. Be sure to check out the rest of our Designer Q&As after this.
Write_On: Tell us about yourself! What’s your background and what drew you to design cards and stationery?
Carissa: Both Heather and I have backgrounds in conceptual art, basically we were taught to think about content before beauty. I don’t know I agree with that anymore totally, but I started to think about how stationarity could be like little mini performance art works. IE we could design interactions that would at heart bring people closer together. I think I have been a person who often feels lost and alone, and made work to express that. It was a natural next step, to make objects that would help promote community, relationships and communication - communicating is something I need help with all the time.
Write_On: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Carissa: Like a four-year old could do it. With content that you might not want to tell your mother about. But I tell my mother most everything, so maybe that is not so true.
Write_On: How do you use your designs to inspire people to connect in writing?
Carissa: They are all pretty much prompts (verbal and visual) to express gratitude, open up to someone, to make you feel good about life, hopefully. I like to think that we use personal experiences as representations of universal human emotions/feelings.
Write_On: What does your process look like for creating a new card or stationery design?
Carissa: Depends on the day. And if the sun is shining. Journaling. Talking it out. Then painting, drawing, then scanning the drawing, then printing film, then making plates, then printing! FINALLY. My gosh.
Write_On: How have hand-written letters shaped your life and relationships?
Carissa: I have a box. One where when I am feeling down, I go to. It has all of my old love letters, letters from my parents, from my grandparents, etc. I feel like a bit of their being/energy has been transferred to this bit of paper that I am soothed by almost like they were holding me.
Write_On: What do you find most difficult about writing a letter?
Write_On: What does your letter-writing practice look like?
Carissa: Mine, at this point in my life is mainly about being thankful. Since I don’t live close to any of my family members it is about maintaining our connection over vast amounts of space and time.
Write_On: Modern times have made digital correspondence increasingly available and convenient. Why is it important for people to send handwritten cards and letters?
Carissa: For me, it is a feelling. Even tho I am a computer user, I still love stuff. I love touching things, smelling things, and seeing colors in real life.
Write_On: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about letter-writing?
Carissa: I am not sure I have received any advice. Mainly that I just love receiving stuff in the mail and I love sending stuff. It is so magical.
Write_On: What’s the next letter you’re planning to write?
Carissa: To my grandmother. I try to write her once a week. Her health has been in question as of late. She is my special person. I always felt like I connected with her in a way that I could with no one else. She made me feel safe, loved, and beautiful. I was so upset when I found out that all of my cousins feel the same way about her. Can one person be so special to many? I suppose so, but I don’t have to like it.