in Offset Printing and Coatings
Always Start With the Envelope!
– by Paul Soltysiak
There are many different methods used to produce envelopes — with many factors to be considered in selecting the best method — including colors, artwork and quantity.
As a wise graphic designer I know (Dan Castello) likes to say... "Always start with the envelope…" (When designing pieces that will require one, such as invitations and/or direct mail pieces.)
We often see a beautifully designed invitation, brochure, etc. — only to realize that there isn't a standard envelope that it will fit nicely within.
Therefore, the piece either needs to be re—designed — or — it will flop around in the envelope, which isn't ideal!
Envelopes can be produced with these methods:
Digital Envelope Press — 4-color process (nice — but not high end) — generally for a few thousand or less. Can bleed off edges. Avoid large solids, as many digital devices have trouble printing large solids.
Offset Envelope Press — print directly onto pre—made envelopes. Many presses cannot run envelopes, because of seams, etc. Often 1 or 2 spot colors (Pantone). Necessary when spot colors/metallics are needed for short runs.
Print & Convert — 4-color process and/or spot colors. Flat press sheets are printed, and then converted into envelopes on special equipment. This is generally the best method when using special paper, and when critical color match is necessary — including large solids. Usually for a few thousand or more. Timeline is normally 2 weeks or more, depending on quantity.
Custom Size/Shape/Format Envelope — 4-color process and/or spot colors — flat press sheets are printed, and then die cut — as with any other die cut project — can be standard stock or thicker stock such as 80lb cover.
When using a digital envelope press — or if there is no color or design elements bleeding to an edge, you can simply build your file as a rectangle/square.
When using the "Print & Convert" method — we can supply you with a template to build your artwork with.
The moral of this envelope story is to plan ahead. Communicate as many details as possible with your rep/consultant. We can then help advise you on the smartest way to produce an envelope "fitting" for your project! And don't forget about our Ultimate Envelope Guide — which shows many of the standard sizes and styles available.