It’s wonderful to receive a warmly written email from someone you love, but let’s all admit that the email would have been even nicer if it had arrived in the mail as a handwritten letter. That’s the idea behind Electragram, a boutique messaging service that lets you send digital messages on personalized digital stationery.
Created by media couple Anna and Gradyon Carter, the idea first came to them while vacationing overseas, after Gradyon left after 25 years of editing. vanity lounge.
“We went to France and rented a house there. It was idyllic in many ways, but the only way it was limited was feeling cut off from friends and family back home,” recalls Anna, who is now CEO of Electragram. “We were both avid letter writers and handwritten note fans, but it would only take weeks for them to get to the US from Europe! Everything seemed so terribly outdated by the time they arrived.
In this house in France, Graydon (now chief creative consultant) sketched out the first Electragram, drawing inspiration from Western Union telegrams pioneered in the late 1800s. Reaching their peak in the 1920s and 1930s, telegrams were a medium to send a note around the world for less than the cost of a phone call. Traveling by transatlantic wire through Morse code, the telegraph messages were then translated by an operator and typed as small letters for consumption.
On Electragram’s site, it’s easy to see Western Union’s influence on landline options (all of which feature a prominent Electragram banner at the bottom). With just a few clicks, you can customize the colors and font, while you can add various stamps by dragging and dropping them anywhere on the paper you like. By design, none of the combinations collide. Then, when your stationery is ready, you can type and send your message with all the speed of an e-mail.
“I was looking to bring back that lost art of elegant communication,” says Anna, who notes that the little effort behind the letter makes it a “more meaningful and memorable message to send.”
Indeed, just about every messaging platform on the planet has attempted to fill this lost expressive void in digital communication, leveraging emoji, then selfies, then cartoonized selfies like Bitmoji. Electragram fits into this continuum, not only as a reference to the antique telegrams of the early 1900s, but as a double retro game, equally nostalgic for the era of virtual greeting cards, which reached its peak in the mid to late 2000s. 2000.
Anna has many plans to modernize the electronic board into something more valuable. She imagines limited-edition digital stationary options by famous designers that you’d want to copy like a scrap of shoes. Plus, she’s building integration strategies for more personalization: Company logos and even someone’s personal NFTs could appear on an Electragram of the future. “The idea is that it’s very intuitive, flexible and versatile,” says Anna, “so you can create whatever you want.”
Electragram won over impressive early investors, including Tory Burch and Jony Ive. In a statement to fast companyIve notes that he invested because innovations around communication “have always been at the center of everything I’ve done”, while championing the service to “set a new visual standard for design”.
Without a doubt, Electragram faces stiff competition from mega design apps like Canva, which let you create any type of digital map (and just about anything else) in a few clicks. But instead of having such a wide reach, the service focuses on its niche: crafting digital letter writing, for $10 a month. You can try it here.