Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Envelopes: Begin With The End In Mind

All too often, a project is conceived, designed, and printed before any thought goes into how it will be mailed. When we say begin with the end in mind, we’re suggesting that early in the planning process thought should be given to what type and size envelope will be used.

If you intend to mail your brochure, invitation, or thank you card, it’s a good idea to size it to fit in a standard envelope. Although custom size envelopes are possible, it’s an expensive and lengthy process.

Common Business Envelopes

Envelopes are made for many purposes, so it’s useful to categorize them according to use.

Commercial envelopes are used for business purposes such as correspondence, direct mail, and billing. They’re made of 24# basis weight paper in these popular sizes:
 
  • #10 – the most common business size; an 8.5 x 11 sheet that is trifolded fits perfectly inside.
     
  • #9 – slightly smaller than a #10; also holds a tri-folded 8.5 x 11 sheet, but will fit inside a #10. Often used as a remittance envelope.
     
  • 6 ¾ – also fits inside a #10; often used as a remittance envelope.
     
These three sizes are all available with or without a standard window and with or without security tint inside.

Large envelopes are used for mailing bulkier material, like booklets, or contracts where folding is undesirable. The two styles of large envelopes are catalog and booklet. A catalog envelope has the flap on the shorter side, while a booklet envelope has the flap on the longer side. Large envelopes are made of 24# or 28# stock in either white or manila. The most popular sizes are:

  • 6x9: holds 8.5 x 11 sheets folded in half.
  • 9x12: holds 8.5 x 11 sheets without folding.
  • 10x13: holds 8.5 x 11 sheets without folding or a standard size 9x12 folder.
     
Specialty envelopes are used for social correspondence and invitations. A good rule of thumb when choosing the size of a specialty envelope is to have at least 0.25 inch more in height and width than the piece being inserted. Common specialty envelopes include:

Baronial: referred to with “Bar” after the size; they are typically available in white or ivory stock. This envelope has diagonal seams and a pointed flap. Used for formal announcements, invitations, greeting cards, and sometimes personal stationery.

The most popular sizes are:

  • 5 ½ Bar – fits a 4.25” x 5.5” response or reply card or a small thank you card.
  • 6 Bar – fits a 4.5” x 6.25” response or reply card or a folded thank you note.
  • 7 Bar or Lee – fits a 5” x 7” folded invitation or announcement card.
     
Each size baronial envelope will fit into the next largest size. However, because of the pointed flap, baronial envelopes cannot be sealed by machine. They must be sealed by hand.

Announcement: referred to as A-style; these envelopes have side seams and a square flap. They’re available in more colors and kinds of stock than a baronial. Used for invitations and personal stationery, the most popular sizes are:

  • A-2 – fits a 4.25” x 5.5” response or reply card or a small thank you card.
  • A-6 – fits a 4.5” x 6.25” response or reply card or a folded thank you note.
  • A-7 – fits a 5” x 7” folded invitation or announcement card.
     
Each size announcement envelope will fit into the next largest size.

Sealing Methods

Envelopes offer a variety of sealing methods:

  • Moisture Activated (also known as “lick and stick”) has gum applied to the flap.
     
  • Press and Seal has two flaps, each with a strip of latex gum that adheres when pressed together.
     
  • Peel and Seal has a paper strip over a strip of latex gum. Remove the strip and press the flap to seal.
     
  • Metal fasteners are sometimes used on large envelopes, particularly those made of manila stock.
     
  • String and button, a metal or paper button with a string that wraps around the button, are common on interoffice envelopes that will be opened and closed frequently.
     
  • Tamper-evident has a perforated strip on the top flap; once opened, it cannot be resealed.
     

Design Considerations When Printing Envelopes

Envelopes can present some unique printing challenges. When printing an envelope, a bleed is any printed element that extends beyond the edge. A full bleed means the printed elements extend beyond all four edges. Since it is not practical to print right to the edge of an envelope, typically the image needs to be printed first and then converted into an envelope. This may not add much expense if a large number of envelopes are being printed, but can add quite a bit on smaller quantities.

Let Us Help

Envelopes play an important role in business communications and transactions as well as direct mail marketing. We can guide you through the choice of envelopes to find the perfect match for your project. To discuss options, call Jason or Marya at 215-923-2679.

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