Penmanship used to be a common lesson that children studied in school, but as technology evolved, what was once an art form slowly became replaced with typing classes and lessons on how to use a computer. Handwriting and even paper are being pushed aside for digital options, but Florida Atlantic University (FAU) wants to curb that trend.
FAU’s Arthur and Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts is holding monthly meetings called “Real Mail Friday,” where participants are given retro tools for writing letters. These include everything from handmade paper to envelopes and even sealing wax.
John Cutrone, curator for the Book Arts center, told The Sun Sentinel that he got the idea for “Real Mail Friday” when he received a handwritten letter in the mail. He added that being given two or three pieces of personalized mail like that makes you pause, and that it’s different from reading something on a computer screen or a smartphone text message.
According to a 2012 FAU study, writing by hand still has great value, as results showed that students with good penmanship tend to receive better grades.
Laura Dinehart, an assistant education professor at FAU led the investigation, added that while she has not studied adults, there are definite benefits from writing on paper, rather than typing on a computer or tablet.
“You’re going to think about it a lot more,” she said. “Oftentimes, when we write an angry email and send it, you notice the quality and tone didn’t come out as you intended. If you put it down on paper, you’re going to be much less likely to send something inappropriate because you’re thinking about it.”
Businesses who want to reach out to their customers should take note of FAU’s practice. Direct mail services are still successful, and even more so when the pieces of mail are professional and personalized. With laminating sheets and paper folding machines, perfectly folded pamphlets that are durable can be sent out to consumers.