Spare Yourself the Anguish: Selected Magazine Subscription Cards, 1967-1997
A set of ten postcards, reproduced from magazine subscription cards of defunct publications of the late 20th century. Volume 1 includes cards from Crawdaddy, Gourmet, Mellow Mail, New York Woman, Nick at Nite Magazine, Omni, Ramparts, Trouser Press and The Whole Earth Review. Printed on 80# uncoated stock, and packaged in a glassine sleeve sealed with dead stock Mellow Mail packing tape.
The humble “blow-in” subscription card is one of the least-celebrated aspects of your average magazine. First appearing in the 1960s, and said to generate almost a quarter of all magazine subscriptions as late as the 2000s, blow-in cards are dropped into magazines by belt drives, designed to fall out and be disposed of immediately. Despite that, a lot of care goes into the design. You can see a number of approaches tried out in these cards, each charming in its own way: self-aware, self-deprecating humor, earnest pleading, enticing full-color graphics, and invitations to enlist your friends and loved ones.
In a 1994 story on blow-in cards in the Los Angeles Times, writer C.A. Wedlan reported on many consumers’ use of the cards: “They just scribble little notes, from lovey to loony, and toss ‘em back to the magazines.” Now you can do the same to your friends and loved ones.
Unlike the real item, a 40-cent postcard stamp is required to send these.