Lifestyle

Letter perfect

The truth is you never write by hand anymore. You type at work — when you aren’t using your thumbs to text and tweet. Even your signature looks ragged. So perhaps you should consider hiring a pro to pretty up your holiday cards and party invites? With holiday season approaching, Julie Mancini, founder of calligraphy and design firm Posh and Prep (www.poshandprep,com), offers some advice.

1 This ain’t your forefathers’ calligraphy: Before you write off hand-lettering as old-fashioned, know that the industry has made strides since, say, the Declaration of Independence. “Almost anything you’re seeing today is more of a modern take,” Mancini explains. “The more modern version is less clunky and have more flourishes. It will look like your handwriting, but prettier.”

2 Know your style: It’s easier for a calligrapher to get your taste when you bring along a picture. Mancini recommends hopping on Pinterest or Instagram and sending along examples of work you love. She mentions Anne Robin (@annerobincallig), a Los Angeles-based calligrapher favored by Boston event planners, and the local Hush Hand Lettering (@hushlettering). “I can typically tell by just two pictures what your style is,” she says.

3 Consider the cost, but don’t fear it: While fees can vary, Mancini says you should budget $2-$3 per addressed envelope for a fleet of party invitations or holiday cards. Depending on your head count, the cost might seem high, but she considers the personalized paper a gift in itself. “Having something hand-done puts some extra love in there,” she said. “People love seeing their name in print, and knowing that someone is sitting down at a table and writing it out adds a more personal and intimate effect.”

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4 Try to plan ahead: Plot early so your calligrapher has time to try options. “Some brides will send it six months before it will go out, and some will be like, this needs to go out tomorrow. I’ll usually ask for one to two months for a job, but when you’re a small business, we’re always up for a challenge,” says Mancini, noting a quick turnaround can be possible with some flexibility.

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5 Make your list, check it twice: Mistakes happen, and Mancini gets that, but she encourages party planners, brides-to-be, and greeting card enthusiasts make sure they get as much information up-front to the calligrapher as possible. Changes can always be made — it’s paper, after all — but if you’re fretting over a last-minute swap, ask your calligrapher to leave a few blank or create generic labels for backup. “Sometimes you just need something to write someone’s name on,” she said.

Rachel Raczka can be reached at rachel.raczka@globe.com