Handwriting vs. Text

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Handwriting vs. Laser Printing

While we were unable to find an authoritative data detailing the impact of laser printed text vs. laser mimicked handwriting vs. handwritten text have on a recipient’s response/engagement with something, we were able to determine that handwritten letters have an open rate of 99% compared to 56% of printed mails.

Invitation Letter for Labor Recruitment

  • A 2019 study led by Jeniffer McCaffery aimed to determine whether the number of participants recruited to an Occupational Therapist Intervention Study (OTIS) trial can be improved by writing the potential participant’s name by hand, versus printing the name, on the invitation letter found that there was no evidence that personalisation of invitation letters by writing the potential participant’s name by hand improved recruitment to the OTIS trial.

Handwritten Letters vs Typed Letters

  • Handwritten Letters are known to increase retention and loyalty.
  • According to Letter Friend, handwritten letters by human have an open rate of 99% compared to 56% of printed mails.
  • Handwritten letters attract about 200%-500% more responses compared to printed mails.
  • Letter Friend claims that "Our customers regularly get 3-6x higher response rates than with printed mail." e

Your Research team applied the following Strategy:


In order to determine the impact of laser printed text vs. laser mimicked handwriting vs. handwritten text have on a recipient’s response/engagement with something, we commenced our research by visiting research databases. We scanned through authoritative research databases such as ResearchGate, Wiley, Springer, Google Scholar, among others as we sought to find any research papers, surveys, reports and studies addressing the subject under investigation. However, in our research we noted that there were overwhelming studies regarding optical character recognition on text, forensic related studies and academic related effects of printed texts compared to handwritten. Fortunately, through these research databases, we were able to locate one book from Google Scholar about the impacts of using real pen handwriting by a human as opposed to mimicked handwriting via a laser printer. We have included this book as a source in our research. Unfortunately, we were not able to locate any hard data/ statistics from these sources. Additionally, these studies were usually outdated as their data of publication was beyond the two-year limit that our team of researchers consider as best in providing up-to-date information.

We extended our research through press release databases because these sources usually published summary of different studies and we wanted to make sure that we hadn't missed any critical research study through our initial strategy. We scanned through PR News Wire and Business Wire among others. However, the only relevant studies that we found were similar to those found in the initial search. We also found some market reports of laser printers.

Next we scanned through news articles published by leading media outlets such as WSJ, Fortune, Forbes, CNN, New York Times, among other. Unfortunately, our search was not fruitful either. The only helpful information that we were able to obtain using this strategy related to laser printers and digital innovations on handwriting-to-text process such as apps and technological tools. Additionally, we scanned through blogs that discussed the impact of laser printed text vs. laser mimicked handwriting vs. handwritten text have on a recipient’s response/engagement with something. However, the only helpful information that we found related to the advantages of handwritten letters compared to printed ones.


We employed this strategy as we tried to locate the different types of direct mail handwriting tactics (Real Pen Handwriting, Laser printed handwriting, traditional laser printed direct mail) that marketers use today. We searched for agencies that offer marketing solutions on direct mail handwriting tactics. Here, I found some agencies that offer personalization in direct mails such as RST Marketing, The Addressers, Valtim, Letter Friend, Handwrytten, among others. We scanned through the testimonial published on their websites, reviews and case studies because these usually contain their clients' previous method and the results of using the new tactics offered by these marketing agencies. We found some reviews of how effective handwritten letters (no fonts, robots, printers) and also some reviews of how effective letters which are printed with machines that replicate the appearance of real handwriting. On the case studies, we did not found any indications of the impact of the direct mail tactics because they were either under paywall or member log was needed or the companies had a wide portfolio of products and the direct mail handwriting case studies were not included.


Based on the case studies that we found, we scanned through the websites of the clients of these direct mail handwriting companies as we sought to locate any case studies that they may have published detailing how they brainstorm new strategies for their direct mail campaigns. We scanned through the resources page and blogs on the clients' websites. Unfortunately, our search was not fruitful.

  • "Our findings that personalisation does not improve recruitment lend weight to the argument that methods to improve recruitment may well be context specific."
  • "Still, a handwritten letter is a labor of love and provided it’s legible and well thought out. I think most people would acknowledge that you went to extra effort on their behalf with a handwritten personal letter. What’s more, any errors that sneak in will be forgiven because you’re presumably writing to someone who is close to you. They like you, even love you, and it’s probably not for your skill at spelling."
  • "One thing you should remember about handwritten letters is that you’ll get less text on each page. If you have a lot to say in your letter, typing is probably a better solution. You don’t want to end up trying to cram a ten-page missive into an envelope."