Lovely cards, ugly cards, boring cards - what is the difference?


i have been very curious. . . .
would you also like to talk about it with others?

sorry my time online is quite limited, especially typing, so i may not be able to participate much myself but if you all like, we can keep this thread perhaps ?

for example, what do you think about temples and shrines in Japan ? they rarely get favourited. . .

lovely cards, ugly cards, boring cards - what is the difference ?

thank you.



First of all, perhaps we should all agree that lovely/boring/ugly is a very subjective rating. What I might find lovely, others may find boring… so on and so forth.

I think that a postcard should evoke something in the recipient’s mind. Perhaps spark interest in a certain culture, place, building, work of art… etc. Or maybe the card should portray something the recipient likes such as a food item, a comic, a certain character from a movie… etc.

I also place a lot of importance on the other side of the card where we write things.
This can be adorned and decorated in many ways. Some of us like to compress as much text as we can too. One of the purposes of the postcard in this project is to create a connection with someone you, most probably, will never meet again.

Finally, and I will use Japanese temples for an example here, the way a photo on the card is taken can make or break a card. That is, you can have two cards of the same temple, one is boring, and the other is lovely. It depends on things like the angle and lighting in the photo (very briefly so as not to turn my reply into a tutorial on how to take architectural photography).


thank you.
one rather sad thing for me is that even the ones of temples that i think are nice rarely get favourited. i am happy enough, though, if the recipient seems to like the card.


I love Japanese temples because they look so exotic to me, I think anyone in Europe would think that :thinking:

What I personally find really ugly is those cards from the 70s and 80s where it looks like the photographer fell while holding the camera and the forefront of the photo is like a road or something completely not picturesque (and I say that as someone who loves urban sceneries and decadence), and the composition is all weird.

I also find not very pretty a lot of the cards with illustrations that people love and collect like the “happy postcrossing” ones. I don’t mind receiving them because people send them enthusiastically, but I still don’t like them.


“The beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, the difference is simply that people are different.

What comes to the Postcrossing’s amount of favourites, it is not a sure system to determinate whereas the card is lovely, ugly or boring. If we want a public opinion we should have as many people place their answer as possible (eg. show a card to 100 people and ask them to say if they think it is boring, ugly or lovely) Then we would have some kind of a general opinion. If we show 100 different cards to these same 100 people, we could estimate what this specific group generally favours about the cards, but we will still not know what individuals prefer.

However, in Postcrossing there is no jury of 100 people deciding on each card if they like it or not. You card is seen by a random number of people, depending on how active you are on forum and main site (aka. how often your profile appears easily “clickable” and how much interest people have on checking your wall), if the card has been specifically mentioned and linked somewhere (eg. a post on forum), and if the sender or receiver is ambassador, supporter, in top10 of their country, from a country with a low member count, mentioned on blog… These all affects the chance of other members to end up browsing the member’s postcard wall which then again increase the chance of cards being favoured. Also, of course sometimes people don’t want to have favourites on their wall, or they favourite only cards they receive, or cards they want to receive, or only one or few cards of each theme they like. So the amount of faves essentially tells nothing about the lovely-ugly-boring rate of the card.

Postcrossing has a huge postcard gallery with several hundreds new uploads each hour, so it is highly possible that nobody else than the receiver and the sender will ever even see the card.

And when it comes to my personal favourites, I like to not announce what I specifically find lovely as often I end up finding something else that I also find lovely and my opinions change along the time. But I do admit that I am especially fond of horse cards, and the cards with glossy look feels uncomfortable on my fingers (I admit, twice I have favourited card purely because the quality was so good it felt nice on fingers). However, I give faves also just because I liked the message, but I only favourite the cards I have received myself. So for this example about Japanese shrines, yes if I received one and liked the message or/and the card itself, I would favourite it. But because I only favourite from the cards I have received, I wouldn’t go around browsing and favouriting shrine cards other have received.

Also, I dislike the certain popular card series with facts because I found those facts very basic and also incorrect in some cases.


Many postcrossers have only unreceived cards in their favourites. I don’t mark any received card to my favourites because the favs are those I would like to get in the future.

The unknown temple, shrine, church or any building itself is not interesting for me. But the texts behind those cards can give the beauty and meaning to those buildings. If you send a temple card, you may tell about the meaning of that picture to you personally. For example “This is the building where I got married with my husband” or “I remember how I went this xxx with my grandmother when I was under the school age” … This kind of memories make the card unique.

Unesco WHS cards are quite popular, need to mention that it is Unesco site.

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hello again,
thank you all so far.
there is this temple named Ryoanji temple in Kyoto, UNESCO, where famous for Zen Rock Garden.

the card of the garden pretty much only show the rocks / stones. i very much fear the card is totally regarded boring or ugly by foreign people generally who really do not know anything about Zen Buddhism. so i simply refrain from sending the card as an official Postcrossing.

recently, i had chances to send the cards as unofficials, and i wrote on the cards ‘this may look boring but it is actually Zen. in reality it is meaningful.’ they understood well so i was pleased.


I find some touristy cards visually unappealing because it’s kind of easy to ruin a good photo card, isn’t it :sweat_smile: Find a wrong angle, make a photo with bad lighting, made some mistakes with colouring - the list goes on and on. And sometimes you can slap a “Greetings from countryname” slogan in the most horrible font you can imagine. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate those cards, they hold a part of foreign and beautiful place, but man sometimes I wish they look better :sweat_smile:
I also like trivia card and even have a lot of those in my faves. But I clearly realise that some of those are ugly as sin.

American states deserve a better representation :rofl::rofl::rofl:
Again, if you like it - go for it, and if I’ll receive it - I’ll be happy, because those cards will hold a message from this place. But those cards are from big publisher and they not cheap, if I remember correctly. They should try harder with their designs :sweat_smile:


Oh, I once received a card depicting it, and liked it very much, even though I don’t know anything about Zen. I found it fascinating, as it’s so different from the standard European garden.

I think it would be absolutely okay to send it as an official (I received mine through a swap I think), especially if you explain about this kind of “gardening”. And of course all UNESCO collectors would be thrilled to receive it or a card similar to it.

As to what is boring or ugly or lovely, that not only depends of the beholder’s opinion, but even on their knowledge. At least it’s like that for me: The more I learn about something, the more I like it.


it is actually not that i know a lot about Zen, but i at least know it is meaningful in reality.

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing:
I think that “typical tourist cards” (those showing city views, buildings, landscape…) usually get less likes than illustrations or special cards like maxicards. At least there are only 2 tourist cards among the 60 cards sent by me which got the most likes.


Lovely cards, ugly cards, boring cards … it’s really individual.

I received some cards which I first thought were rather boring. But the receiver made an interesting description on the written side and by this turned the supposedly boring picture in a very much interesting one.
Few cards I got first I thought were ugly, but there was something in them, and the more often I looked at them (I have all cards on a wall for about 3 months) the more I liked them, and now they’re some of my favourite ones …

For me: an Japanese temple wich I can recognize as UNESCO WHS I’d always appreciate. Sometimes the uniqueness or importance of a depicted subject is not self-explaining. So I really appreciate when the sender writes a bit about it on the written side.

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I keep running out of Likes!

I click on the little Heart for so many cards that I love, and get a message - - no more likes for an hour or more.

I’m sure that’s true of many of us! So some cards may be better loved than you know. :blush:


I’ve noticed this! I love fact cards, but so many of them are “unattractive,” and I’ve noticed that most of them are marketed towards children, as if adults know everything.


I think they’re lovely and peaceful, and I know that a lot of Postcrossers would appreciate them, too.

As others have mentioned, the composition of the image (whether it’s a photograph or an illustration) is largely what makes a card visually interesting or boring, but even that depends on the viewer. A “boring” subject can be made interesting when photographed or drawn from a unique perspective, and vice versa!

Receiving a postcard about an unfamiliar subject often inspires people to learn more about it! Sometimes, you never know what will excite and intrigue people.

Stamps, too–I have been curious many times about stamps on postcards, and I often learn something fascinating by researching them myself or asking the sender about them. (One of my favorite examples is this Czech stamp that commemorates an equally hilarious and catchy song about a swamp monster. If I had not been curious about the stamp, I would have missed the song! :sob:)

…do they, though? :joy: I’m kidding–I keep a few of those eyesores in my stash at all times because, honestly…sometimes I sort of enjoy their ugliness. And a lot of people request them–perhaps they also appreciate the kitsch factor like me. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


hello again
thank you all.
speaking of stones, stone henge in england seems to be more popular and well-known in the terms of Postcrossing.

but on the other hand, Zen Rock Garden in Japan are so so so less-known in general and there would be people who only judge by its appearence, which is again more or less sad to me. so i would not send it as officials on Postcrossing.

I love color. For me I favorite what catches my eye, I’m very into can’t, food, carnivals, idk where this came from but I just love grapes!! I’m ALWAYS doodling them. I’m weird I guess. Lol

But why? It shows your culture after all and we’re here to learn about cultures we’re unfamiliar with! :slight_smile:


I find this card beautiful and exotic in a charming way. :slight_smile:

Anybody, who likes “touristy” cards should be highly pleased to receive such a card. :slight_smile:

Of course people are likely to get cards they know nothing about! And I should hope so too!

That’s how you learn about, let’s say “Zen” in this case.


because once the image is uploaded, there would be quite many people who would think of it as ugly and / or boring because of its appearence. i very much fear that. so i save those cards only for people who can seem to understand its real meaning, sent unofficially.

but postcard space is too small so i can only seem to write things like 'this may look boring but it is actually Zen. in reality it is meaningful. ’

but now i am pleased i can share with you all the real meaning of the card of Zen Rock Garden in this thread.