Update: Pantone Postcard Project: Mail Art 2017-2019

Many of you are familiar with BAG’s new book published in fall 2020, documenting the Pantone Postcard Mail Art project. But what you may not know is how we came up with the idea.

On Valentine’s Day  2013, Emily Martin, professor at the University of Iowa Center for the Book, was given a box of 100 Pantone postcards by her sister. On the one hand she thought she would like to keep the collection intact—“pristine and complete,” but on the other hand, “I wanted them to be used.”

Her inclination to have people do something creative with these cards won out. So on her Facebook page she posted a request for volunteers to receive these postcards, respond to the color in their own ways, and mail them back. In 17 hours, all the cards had been claimed. She mailed them in April 2014, and the 100 cards came back that fall, each individually treated by 100 people.

In 2017 Emily published a book of all 100 cards. The BAG mail art co-chairs got wind of the project, and thought it would be fun to use the idea for our monthly mail art exchange. Emily generously gave her permission.

With 54 BAG members participating, we got so excited we made not just 100, but 200 cards! In fall 2020, BAG’s own compilation of Pantone postcards came out in book form, and Douglass Rankin mailed a copy of the book to Emily. In January she replied:

Dear Douglass,

I was finally in the office at school and picked up my mail. What a treat to find the Santa Fe BAG Pantone postcard project catalog! Well done. You have a wonderfully active group out there. I hope you are keeping well, fingers crossed for vaccines soon for everyone.

My best to you,


Copies of the BAG Pantone Postcard  book are available from the Blurb Bookstore:


Thanks go to Emily https://emilymartin.com/, Greg Berg, Barb Macks, Gail Murray, Douglass Rankin, and the BAG board of directors for inspiring, supporting, and instigating the project, and putting together the book. And a special thanks to the BAG artists who created the exceptional Pantone postcards.