09 June 2014

Guest Post: When correspondence was by paper by GMax

Thank you to GMax for this guest post, I never knew about these 'inserts' very useful. 

Younger readers may not even be able to imagine a time when paper was really the only common medium for writing and sending messages, but it wasn't that long ago. Even the new-fangled fax machines used paper. (I will steer clear of telegrams at this point, in case we have another Morse code outbreak like the other week!)

The Filofax range used to include specific inserts for the purpose. Around 1987 (when, admittedly, the sheer variety of specialist leaves offered was starting to get a bit silly) one could buy envelopes like these in white, pink, lavender, fawn, grey or blue!



They were slightly larger than the standard inserts of course, but would still fit nicely in the wallets.

For special occasions one could send a Filocard.


The designs were Punch magazine cartoons. This one was a dig at the 1980s trend associating a large and well stuffed Filofax with a successful career and busy social life.

Office life prior to the widespread adoption of networked PCs involved a lot of circulating paper. So rather than sending an email you would very probably use a memo.


I wonder if anyone out there remembers using any of these?

18 comments:

  1. Very funny post! I love the cards and envelopes!

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  2. Gosh yes! About 1987, I remember the finance manager where I worked was forever sending memos out on Filofax paper. His theory was that we would insert his - oh, so important - request for figures, into our organisers and thus treat it with the utmost priority. In reality, our organisers were already straining with our own pages, without adding his! He then realised he couldn't claim the cost of these expensive Filofax inserts on expenses (our company produced it's own memo pads and preferred people in the same office to talk to each other!) so he was forced to admit defeat! For me, that period was the height of silliness, when Filofax was producing far too many gimmicks and losing a lot of respect.

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    1. Great anecdote Tim.
      I remember sending one of the memo leaves to my college tutor. I think he was a bit bemused by it.

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  3. Oh I would love those envelopes and cards..today..Yes I would.

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  4. I would love those envelopes and cards!

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  5. Thanks for the comments. Glad you enjoyed seeing these. Sounds like there would be several takers for Filo-sized stationery today.

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  6. Love the envelopes great idea and fun.

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  7. Thanks for sharing these & for a great post, Gmax.

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  8. May I join in wanting some of these envelopes and cards? I would really love to have some. Great post!

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  9. Fantastic stuff! I don't remember any of that......by 1987 I was firmly embedded in the TMI camp and didn't return until after the millennium (sometimes i think I never have), but these are great! TMI made a two- or three-part carbonised memo form for just such paper communication and tracking thereof. I still have one or two.......

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    1. Carbon paper leaves were available in the Filofax range then too, so if you wanted your memos in triplicate you could do it!

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  10. That drawing is cute and funny. Why did Filofax decide to print the first f that way instead of a capital letter? Did they believe it was more attractive?

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    1. I think that was introduced about 1981 soon after David Collischon took over the company.
      I reckon it arose from a desire to build a strong brand image.
      If you look carefully you can see that the current Filofax logo is subtly different, particularly the two letter Fs and the letter X.

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    2. Thanks for the reply gmax. I concur on the reason. To me the first f looks more recognizable on the spine of the binder than the capital F. It is interesting to see how a company has evolved over time. I would buy those envelopes if they were sold now. I made a few from craft paper and thick plain paper and the Filofax ones just look better.

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  11. Excellent post! I don't remember the cards, but I do recall the memos. Sadly, I had to use the corporate headed ones, after I'd drafted my memo in longhand and handed it to the typist to type up. Maybe we should have a Philofaxy competition to design a range of Filo notelet cards?

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    1. Thanks - yes a competition could be fun.

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  12. There was an outbreak of Morse Code? And no one rang me?

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