Autumn 2002

Postcard backs

Martin Soames
Common knowledge

The normally ignored verso of the common postcard is put under the spotlight

The back of the postcard contains all the instructions and information the purchaser needs. The left side is ‘for Communication’ and the right is for the ‘address’. The vertical divider assures us that ‘this is a real photograph’. A small ruled box shows the sender where to put the stamp. Other cards take a more officious attitude. One commands: ‘Affix Stamp’, while others employ the ‘Post Office Preferred’ logo. Borders provide more opportunity for variety: a broken grey rule, a dotted outline or mock perforations. Companies such as Aüne, Leeds and FontShop regard the space as an advertising opportunity. The little figure in the baseball cap is promoting Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs. Technology has made all manner of box rules possible, but the most pleasing frames take the line that ‘just enough is more’. Four minimalist corners show you exactly where you can stick your stamp.

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