Envelope Design Essentials

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Envelope design is crucial to sales letter success. Without stellar envelope design, your letters will never get opened. The best envelope designers know what it takes to keep your envelopes from being lost in the junk mail clutter, to get noticed and opened so your prospects will read your letter and become customers.

For the uninitiated, here are some envelope design essentials that motivate response:

Know the purpose

Designing envelopes for friends and family gift cards is one thing; designing envelopes for corporate identity or for a direct sales letter is entirely different. Gift card envelopes are going to be opened because the recipients know the sender on a personal level, while business-oriented communications are often sent to potential customers who are not that familiar with the sender.

If you're designing for corporate identity, your design must convey an image that represents your firm. If you're designing for direct response, your envelope design must be targeted to the audience and offer. Before you sit down to conceptualize your envelope design, make sure you understand the purpose of the communication within the envelope.

Keep it simple

resources imageYour envelope design should be simple and easy to read.

Envelopes do not benefit from cluttered space. For a corporate identity envelope, a simple logo in the return address area is sufficient. You can also add a logo on the back. You can add a splash of style with shapes or flowing lines, or by applying a shade or gradient to the envelope.

When it comes to direct-response sales letters, your envelopes should speak directly to the target audience. Dramatic imagery, highlighted copy and an offer/call to action work well together on envelopes, as long as they're not cluttered. If you were designing an envelope for a company that sells dog treats, for example, you might depict a happy dog enjoying a treat alongside a bold headline: "Get a FREE Slice of Heaven for Man's Best Friend - Open Now to Learn How."

Be brighter

It's no secret that bright, vivid colors grab attention better than dull hues. Keeping this in mind, your full-color envelope design should immediately stand out in the mailbox through the use of color. This isn't to say your design should be gaudy - only that it should be instantly noticed. Your first job is to get noticed; your second job is to motivate customers to open the envelope.

Follow the rules

The post office has specific standards for bulk and first-class mail. Whether you're mailing with metered postage or with an indicia, you need to make sure your envelope follows the proper format. You also need to make sure your envelope follows printing guidelines such as folds and safe area. To save time (and money), and achieve the best results, use a pre-formatted envelope template customized to your envelope size and mailing method.

Great envelope design is rewarded by return on investment. The right design can motivate more customers to open communications and follow through on your calls to action, increasing your profit margin handsomely. Follow these envelope design tips to help you get it right the first time.