Texting may be the go-to form of communication in the age of the smart phone, but does it require a more artistic flair? The digital chit chat emphasizes short and impersonal messaging — “Hi,” “Wut up?” and the devastating blow to the ego, “thx” — but it’s a medium primed for creativity. There is strategy when it comes to being a suave and charming texter, but designer Christina Vanko tapped into something with far more potential when she picked up a calligraphy pen and started handwriting her texts.
Yes, you read that correctly. For one week, Vanko embraced the old fashioned method of snail mail, giving her text messages a dab of personality. The results blew a few minds.
Vanko writes that the experiment helped her learn a few valuable lessons about texting. A few of the more universal revelations:
“My personality shined through so well that one friend texted back ‘It’s like you’re here with us!’…but then she followed up a few messages later that ‘It’s almost like you’re deaf and passing notes around in the room.'”
“My messages sent were more thoughtful in the ‘I used complete thoughts’ type of way.”
“You look super silly if you completely ignore all that you learned in English classes. Impeccable grammar and flawless spelling is necessary for a handwritten note.”
“It was indicated multiple times that people feel more ‘special’ when they received handwritten messages.”
Calligraphic proficiency isn’t required to send a handwritten text, just time and care. A text is something you tap a few buttons to send off, zero weight attached, regardless of the message. A handwritten note goes beyond the practical content. It’s a romantic gesture, simply because effort is displayed. The biggest hurdle? Finding a decent pen. Who still uses pens?
Matt Patches is a writer and reporter living in New York City. His work has been featured on Vulture, Time Out New York, and The Hollywood Reporter. He is the host of the pop culture podcast Operation Kino.