|Thank you notes on official PoNY letterhead.|
Several months ago I created a custom letterhead for the PoNY to use for courtesy cards and thank you notes that would help make writing thank you notes easier, so that I was more sure to do it in a timely manner. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the logo and return address, and I print from a PDF file, which is easier to do than opening up Illustrator every time I need to make one. I just print on my own home printer on thick card stock, and I use envelopes with a string tie that makes opening even more of a tactile experience. An ink stamp of the railroad's rooster mascot Pony, customizes the envelope.
It is a first draft that will be refined and maybe offset printed when I get it the way I like it. Besides being a useful and fun thing to do, it helps establish the layout as its own thing that exists in this world apart from me.
The physical letterhead gives the layout I'm creating more gravitas, so that it is less my own private mental construct and more of a real thing that others can approach without my having to be an intermediary translator. For me, this is a significant way to think about how things are created form the layout. I put this in the same category as a physical interaction with the layout, and I treat it as a considered interaction just as important as being able to reach a switch or a read a town label in a satisfying manner.
This is also another opportunity to create a mood and a narrative about the layout that helps frame people's approach to my little world I am creating. The rooster hopefully adds a bit of whimsy and character, and the red envelope reinforces the red in the logo and is an auspicious symbol of happiness and well wishes of gratitude, good fortune and appreciation.
Besides, as I continue to grow up, I realize my mother was usually right about such matters, and it makes me feel good to let others know I appreciate what they do.