Choosing and designing envelopes

As a designer you will most likely find yourself designing at least one invitation in your career; whether it’s for a client, friend, or your own wedding! At the design studio here in Boston, our clients often ask us to design invitations for their upcoming events and fundraisers. Almost always these invitations are accompanied by an envelope. Your beautiful invitation has to get through the mailing process in one piece, right?

Let’s go over a few things you will need to keep in mind when choosing and designing envelopes.

Choosing a Size

You will want to start by choosing the right size envelope. Your envelope will have to fit your invitation of course, but it also needs to give the invitation inside some breathing room. It is good practice to make sure there is a quarter inch of room on both sides and top of the invitation when it is placed in the envelope. It is important to plan for the extra room because if your invitation is folded or uses a heavyweight paper it will take up more space in the envelope.

Explore all the available envelope sizes and if it’s helpful, cut pieces of paper to the size of your invitation and envelope, to better visualize what will fit well.

Choosing a style

When picking an envelope you will also want to choose a style of the flap. There are a few different styles to choose from and some reasons to use or not to use them.

Choosing a flap type not only has to do with aesthetics.  It also needs to vary depending on how your envelopes will be printed.

  • Printing with a press and using variable data: Most printers will prefer the shorter flaps vs. long flaps. Especially if the envelopes are going through a machine that prints variable data. The long flaps get stuck making it impossible for the machine to work properly. Always check with the printer first to make sure the style you have chosen will work fine with their printing process.
  • Printing them yourself or handwriting: If you’re doing the printing yourself your flap can be any size you want! Same goes for handwriting, but be prepared for potential hand cramping…

Mail regulations

The last thing to consider before you start to design your envelope is the mailing regulations. The US postal service has a set of rules about where you can and cannot include graphics or text. It changes slightly based on the size of the envelope but these are a couple of the general areas to keep in mind:

  • The top right Postage Area: 1 ¼ x 1 ¼ inches
  • Barcode and Postal Marking Area: In the right corner 4 ¾ inches wide and 5/8 inches from the bottom
  • Address Area: 2 ¾ inches tall from the bottom
  • Return Address: Top left corner

All of the specifics can be found on the USPS website.

Then you’re all set to start designing your envelope! Or give us a shout and we can help:

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