There is an unquantifiable intimacy and humanity in the act of writing and receiving a handwritten letter. Unfortunately, this is a tradition that has seen a drastic decline in participation. People have forgotten why letter writing is valuable. The goal of this project is to revive a tradition and culture of letter-writing by giving people concrete reminders of the positive emotions associated with letter writing, sending, and receipt.
The most common reason for not writing letters that I found was that people simply don’t think of it. I needed to create something that people could see in the built environment: a tangible reminder of how great letter writing can be. So I made Martha: a traveling pop-up shop in a vintage mail Jeep (a Jeep DJ-5, to be precise). She has some fun accessories including shopping bags, a postmark stamp, and a vintage typewriter so that people can type a letter right on the truck. She also sells products designed to combat other common problems people have with writing letters.
I don’t have time to write
The first reason I found that people didn’t write letter was that they didn’t have time. To help with this, I developed madlibs for 5 different situations (thank you, thinking of you, get well soon, congratulations and I love you). They can be sealed with the included stickers and mailed without an envelope once they’re stamped and addressed.
I don’t know what to write
The second common issue was people not knowing what to write about. To help with this, I created a deck of 50 letter writing prompts as well as an additional 10 that would change at each pop-up location.
I don’t know who to write to
Finally, people weren’t sure who to write to. To combat this issue I developed post cards that would change with the pop up location. Visitors would purchase a card & postage, write down their address to leave and then get a post card with a visitor from another city’s address.