Paperless Post – A full and comprehensive Unbiased Review
I am a HUGE fan of all things party and all things stationery. So I was thrilled when the lovely people at Paperless Post asked me to review their site.
If you haven’t heard of them, Paperless Post is an online digital invite and announcement website. It is really easy to use. Simply create an account, choose a design, add your own details and email to your guests.
The site boasts an impressive array of holiday themes, categories and designs – in fact the biggest challenge is choosing your design. Once you’ve pinned down one, customise for your event and style preferences. Managing the RSVPs from your guest list is easy too, making them a brilliant party planning tool for any celebration.
I’ve written a more detailed review below, but if you want the quick and dirty, here are my highlights:
The things I liked:
- Great range of paid designs, easily filtered or searchable covering almost any holiday or event imaginable. Many designs have a cute GIF element.
- The site offers a ‘Flyer’ option. If you deselect premium add ons, flyers are free.
- The designs all enable customisation with different spacing, fonts, colours and special effects / embellishments.
- The system makes it easy to collect RSVPs, manage the guest list (and send a little nudge reminder if needed). It also prompts for a number of replies, and how many guests are kids (if they are invited).
- Depending upon the premium options selected, cards are animated – a cute feature. They simulate removal from the envelope and the reverse view.
- Unless you go ‘all out’ the designs are cost effective. Especially factoring international and standard postage costs.
- Digital cards are environmentally friendly. No delivery miles and no material that may or may not be recycled.
The things I wasn’t so keen on:
- Payment using the proprietary ‘coins’ system is annoying. I would much rather just pay actual cash for what I use. Or even better give people the option of either.
- The site doesn’t facilitate ‘hard’ print or paper copies. Digital is good, but sometimes I want something you can feel, and stick on your fridge. Although print options are available through an affiliate site.
- The help option could be more prominent at the top of the site. It’s currently hidden in the footer. Though it is pretty comprehensive.
Paperless post is a fantastic digital option for celebrations, invites, save the dates and cards. I couldn’t find much to fault. The range of quality beautiful designs is extensive, and should cover most tastes. The site is easy to use, and the designs are easy to customise. And if you don’t see what you like, you can upload your own design. There are a good range of free options, or you can go all out and add all the bells and whistles with premium content. Sending out designs is easy, but the site really comes in to its own in its ability to manage the RSVPs and the guest list.
Paperless Post wont drag me away from all all paper invites in the future, but It will definitely be in my arsenal of party and event planning tools. And I definitely intend to use it to send birthday cards to friends who live abroad.
The Full Review
In the interests of transparency, I need to disclose that I was compensated for this review. However all views expressed within the post, and in fact everywhere on this blog are my own honest opinions.
Choose your design
Paperless Post have categorised their huge range of designs into easily searchable categories and themes. They have pretty much every event covered for holidays as well as birthdays, christenings and weddings. The pre formatted designs include invites, save the date, requests, announcements, thank you and birthday cards.
Browse the categories, or use the search button to find more specific design elements. I randomly searched for ‘pigeon’ for example and found this little cutie:
There are literally thousands to choose from, including options from designers including Kate Spade, Jonathan Adler, Rifle Paper Co & MeriMeri to name but a few. The designs really are beautiful.
If you can manage to pin down a design, you can then start to customise. All designs that I looked at enabled modification of the text obviously, but also font, size and colour of your text. Customise with your own message.
Choices are also available for backgrounds, envelopes, envelope liners, digital postage stamps. For a more formal gathering, the envelopes and liners are a nice touch, but a lot of the other embellishment wont be noticed and seem to be a bit of a waste to me.
In the designs that I reviewed, there is only 1 space for formatting text (on each side of the card). If this limits your design creativity, it is possible to upload your own designs and use them with the delivery and event management systems for Paperless Post.
There are also lots of designs that enable uploading your own photo.
Designs can be created and saved for later (or cloned and modified easily) within your account. You could make a range of birthday or greeting cards for friends in advance, ready to send out when the time comes.
Preview the animated card from any of the designs before you send. You can see the front and back of your designs as well as the impact of any customisation you add.
Managing the Distribution or Guest List
This is one of the highlights of the whole digital process. Once the digital card has been chosen, customised and saved, simply add the recipient list details, and email away. Customisation options are given (depending upon the design type) to collect RSVPs (if applicable), numbers attending and collecting children numbers separately. Choose the number of ‘extra guests’ the recipient can bring.
The guest list can be hidden or visible to the attendees. Guests will receive an email with the invite, notice or card. If the card type and customisation was selected, this will be animated to show the envelope and the invite being removed from it, which is a really nice touch.
The host can see who has opened the invite, and who has responded, so that a gentle nudge can be given for people who don’t reply. Guests can message the host with nice wishes, or food preferences etc as required. Its all very easy to manage from within the site.
One thing I can’t see, is whether the host can request the name of a plus one in the RSVP. If organising a wedding or party, you may not know all the plus ones personally, but may need their name for place settings etc. This may be possible. But I couldn’t see the facility easily, though I haven’t needed it personally.
The payment concept for Paperless Post is to buy a package of their proprietary ‘coins’. Cards cost from zero to 13 coins depending upon which bells and whistles added.
The price per coin depends on the package bought. They range from 40p per coin for a £4.00 spend, down to 8p per coin with a whopping £80 spend. So an individual product can range from free to a crazy £5.20. For a digital invite, that sounds ridiculous, but its also a bit misleading. The majority of designs I looked at were 2-3 coins for the base design, with an additional 1 each for en envelope and liner. So a more reasonable 5 coins.
The cost per design is then charged per guest emailed. Versus the cost of paper invite, envelope and potentially postage stamps (especially internationally) in a conventional design it may save you money.
Paperless Post also offers a number of ‘Flyer’ designs for free. Plenty of options to choose from many with cute GIF animations. Brilliant for advertising a simple get together. However you need to remove all the ‘extras’ before sending.
This coin option is great if you are a heavy user of the site, as the coins last up to 5 years (provided you maintain your account). However I would like it if they also offered a simple payment method as well.
Hard Copies, Recycling and Environmental Factors.
Paperless Post is exclusively a digital invite and card service. This means no hard copies available. I am a traditionalist, and love the weight of card and paper, beautiful embossing, and something to put on your fridge! Hard copies are available through an affiliate site, but they are prohibitively expensive, especially outside the US. And looking for hard copies is slightly missing the point of this conept.
The digital designs enable premium card elements like embossing and gold foil in their digital form at minimal cost. Digital reduces the amount of paper that may end up in landfill if it isn’t or can’t be recycled. Furthermore, the carbon footprint of a digital versus paper shouldn’t be overlooked. 1 woosh of an email versus planes, trains and postal lorries beavering away to deliver hundereds of invites and RSVPs.
The Final Word
All in all Paperless Post is a brilliant service. It can be economical, efficient and still remain classy, and set the scene for your next event. Im definitely a convert.
Why not give them a chance. Head on over to their site and sign up for an account.