Monday, August 30, 2010

USPS Goes Retro?

Lately, I'd been reading about the issues USPS has been having, like closing on Saturdays and increasing postage from $0.44 to $0.46 by January 2011. It's inevitable! While a lot of people claim that USPS will soon close down its services to the public as more and more people choose to pay bills online with the urging of most billing companies adding a certain percentage of fine for not going paperless - the number of letter writers and postcard collectors are rapidly growing each day! I would think so. Ask any letter writers you know who go past sending greeting cards on holidays and they'll tell you we are on a letter-writing revival! It's certainly not primarily to save USPS, but personally, I think because people just miss the feeling of getting actual letters that are not bills you needed to pay, or coupons and catalogs you only browse once. It's true, there's nothing quite like it, and the joy of every process in writing, sending, receiving and reading one is unmatched. It especially excites me that younger generations are getting into this old trend. I've noticed more names in the 14-20 year-old bracket at the penpal section of this one pen pal finder site I found some of my new friends at.

Which brings me to this new argument re: USPS rebranding, will redesigning it appeal to the masses or help solve the ongoing budget crisis?

Designer Matt Chase created these gorgeous body of work for USPS taking in a more retro appeal. I love it and support implementation of this project, why should USPS be a stark white space like every other boring government office? While the eagle head logo is famous, I sure won't miss it if they changed it to Matt Chase's proposed one. In fact, I think the current eagle head logo would be more appropriate for, say, a new military or air force department if they don't have enough eagles in their logos already.

But this argument should also be taken into consideration: Shouldn't USPS focus more on finding strategies to become more competitive with FedEx, UPS, and perhaps partner with larger companies to develop some sort of mailing campaign? To make USPS the primary carrier if that is at all still possible? This article by Max Fisher (The Future of Mail) packs some very feasible solutions, including one that I don't approve of: shutting down USPS.

While the nostalgia route of the proposed designs appeal to people like me, if it's only going to generate appreciation instead of more supporters, then I think it's time to look the other way. But seriously, how can these not work? If our government couldn't rescue USPS, maybe a designer/creative agency could?

Happy writing!

Cindy Gonzales-Kujat

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for featuring my re-brand on your blog--one comment on the notion that USPS should strive to compete more with FedEx, UPS and DHL, though. These aren't the Postal Service's only competitors, because the USPS is not simply in the business of mailing parcels. It is in the communication business--a business of connecting people across distance--and thus the field of its competition extends more directly to things like e-mail, texting, cell phones, Facebook and virtually any other form of digital communication. The aesthetic direction was taken not only to inspire the vintage nostalgia of the 1950's, when the USPS was enjoying its heyday, but to appeal to a younger, more design-savvy audience--the kinds of people who grew up with the aforementioned digital communication opportunities and have chosen to use them instead of the Postal Service.

    Thanks again for the re-post!