Chronicle Books is updating four of its “Letters to My” packages, a popular gift product with four million units sold since the series launched in 2014. As of January 2024, four top-selling kits—Letters to My Baby, Letters to My Future Self, Letters to My Grandchild, and Letters to My Love—will feature new illustrations and be marketed as “Inspired Letters to My” gift sets.

Creator Lea Redmond developed the prototype for Letters to My while thinking about a favorite school activity, along with her love of antiques and handicraft. “I had a teacher in ninth grade who had us write letters to our future selves,” Redmond said, and she reimagined this creative prompt as a package of twelve pages styled as “old airmail aerograms, all bound together.”

Writers revisit the package twelve months in a row (or whenever they choose), and the finished product is a keepsake group of letters to a relative, a graduate, a friend, or even “the President (and Other Elected Officials).” The series has grown to include 30 kits and even more spinoffs, encompassing all manner of relationships and occasions. For fall 2024, two new packages will be added to the list: Letters to My Inner Child and Letters to My Past and Future Loves.

Chronicle executive publishing director Christina Amini attributes Letters’ decade-long success to the user-friendly format. During a walk together near their Bay Area homes in 2021, Amini and Redmond brainstormed how they might update the packaging while preserving the focus on kindness, reflection, and loving communication. “We realized we wanted the actual format to stay the same,” Amini said. “We had done Little Letters, we had done Letters for a Year of Gratitude. We did an engagement calendar. But the ones that were the best-selling and the most recognizable were those in the original format.”

Amini oversaw the redesign, keeping in mind “the look of the originals. They're an epistolary, aerogram style,” and they will remain as backlist items for letter writers who prefer a nostalgic snail-mail vibe. She also asked Chronicle’s team, “What’s the look that meets this moment? We have an opportunity here to make each [collection] more individual, with full color art throughout.”

Redmond, too, was open to a refresh. “The original series has a clean, crisp, airmail feel, and the redesigned series has a new mood and art approach,” Redmond said. “It will resonate with different people.”

Chronicle design manager Allison Weiner agrees. “The Letters to My series for 10 years has had a very clean, tried-and-true design that has made it recognizable,” Weiner said. “We all felt like it was time to liven it up” by inviting artists to put a fresh spin on it. To reimagine the classic sets, Chronicle hired Taiwanese animator and illustrator Hsinping Pan to craft Inspired Letters to My Baby; Berlin-based and Cameroon-born designer Sophie Douala to redo Inspired Letters to My Future Self; French illustrator Laura Lhuillier to create Inspired Letters to My Grandchild; and Australian maker Liv Lee to design Inspired Letters to My Love.

“The new designs have allowed each of the titles to have a bit more personality and expressiveness, to align with the target audience,” Weiner said. Amini added that the redesign “allowed us to go on a major exploratory mission to find the right illustrator.” She calls each of the designers “an emerging talent—somebody who’s doing something new but also appeals to a mainstream consumer.”