All about Pigeon
Thanks to their miraculous homing instincts, Pigeons have a long and honourable track record in delivering messages. The ancient Greeks sent them out to broadcast the names of victorious athletes at the original Olympic Games. And Julius Caesar employed pigeon post during his conquest of Gaul. In recent centuries, of course – ever since 1660, when King Charles II established the Post Office – the poor old pigeon’s been somewhat edged out. We think it’s time to reintroduce Pigeon Post...
The Pigeon Story
I came up with the idea of Pigeon after falling out of love with social media.
I came to realise that most, if not all, of my online interactions were pretty negative. Either I was compulsively checking my posts for ‘likes’, or I was getting annoyed by people showing off and oversharing. They probably felt the same about me. And somehow, no matter how many likes my FB posts received, it was never quite enough, and they led to a time-wasting column of comments.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my friends. But for all that frenetic activity, the platform wasn’t fostering any genuine sense of connection. There was something about it that left me feeling hollow and empty. So I took the plunge and closed my social media accounts. But then a good friend of mine moved to the USA. Until then, apart from trips to the pub (no longer possible), we’d only really communicated on Facebook, which meant I needed a new way of keeping in touch. And that made me think about letters.
Compared with posting online, there have traditionally been quite a few hurdles to writing a letter. Laying hands on writing paper, finding a matching envelope, digging out your friend’s address… Then there’s the format, the tyranny of the empty page. How on earth do you start? And if I’m honest, letter writing isn’t exactly edgy. It’s old school, sure, but certainly not millennial.
And that got me thinking. I’m a graphic designer with an engineering background, and I happen to love origami. I wanted to find a way of making letter writing fun, new, beautiful, and easy.
Pigeon is the result.
The envelope is integral to the letter, and the space to write in is not too daunting. I sometimes say it’s like Twitter, but with a pen. Once you get a correspondence going, you’ll always have your friend’s address to hand inside their latest letter. Pigeons are also the perfect size to hold a Polaroid photo, so you can slip in a selfie. And the design means each Pigeon is a small object of beauty.
If you don’t normally write letters, you’re in for an unexpected treat – the completely irrational joy of not receiving an instant reply to your message… It sounds perverse in our day and age, that having to wait can feel good. But it really does. Trust me. I’ve discovered first hand that there’s a real pleasure in knowing that, in the next day or two, a friend will receive a completely personal note from you - just from you, and that you might get a hand-written reply some time after that. Delayed gratification is good for the soul.
Sending one letter to one friend and waiting for one reply is entirely satisfying. It’s personal and unique; narrowcasting, not broadcasting. Added to which, I often read letters from friends two or three times over. I can’t say the same for social media. Romantic as it sounds, with a letter you end up with a little part of your friend, to keep for ever. To tuck into a book and stumble across at some later date. A letter holds its value, and that helps sustain true friendship. Nothing digital can compare.
Most (sane) people agree that with our fast-paced, capitalist lifestyles, we are ‘extracting the world to death’. And while we all have an individual responsibility to make whatever difference we can, up in the Pigeon Loft we believe that companies have an even greater responsibility to help turn things round. So we’ve decided to do more than just be carbon-neutral: we’re a carbon-negative company. (Smug, eh?)
So we’ll be planting more than twice as many trees as we need to neutralise our carbon emissions (in fact we have committed to planting up to 30 trees a year via a regular donation to the John Muir Trust in Scotland). That’s emissions from delivering letters, and emissions from our digital communications too (yep – email and social media all contribute to global warming too). We’re also going to great lengths to keep all traces of plastic out of our products and packaging (the plastic-looking sticker on your package is actually compostable and biodegradable, made from cellulose, in the UK).
And of course all this environmentally-friendly activity will be good for our IRL wood pigeon friends too!
If we all do as much as we can to reverse the effects of climate change, we do actually stand a chance. Doing nothing is not an option. Which is why we are working twice as hard as we need to.