What Is a Company Letterhead?

We define a company letterhead as stationery printed or engraved in a particular type of paper or cardstock. You can find it on print letters, memos, envelopes, and other business documents used to correspond with internal or external recipients, such as employees, clients, investors, and the media. And because it serves as a reflection of your business, crafting a design that suits what your company stands for should help you build your image to the public. Doing so will also make your business papers appear more credible and professional in the eyes of those who receive them.

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The Elements of a Letterhead

The United States Postal Service handles approximately 20.2 million mail pieces per hour, which is about 336,649 per minute and 5,611 per second. You can only imagine the number of formal letters that make up those quantities.

Among the many corporate letters that come in and out of the postal office, a handful of these letters have a letterhead printed in its cover. Quality letterheads can present itself in any given form or structure, as long as they serve as a visual representation of you and your brand.

General Information: A letterhead must always consist of the basics, particularly your company’s name, logo, and contact numbers. Some letterheads may also include your website, mailing address, email, and social media pages for additional reference. Adding a contact name is also optional for customers and associates to know who to address their letters to directly. You can even include a selling point to tell readers a thing or two about your business.Letterhead Design: Now that you know what to write in your text, let’s look into the typeface of a letterhead. You want to create something that will draw attention to your business name. Be wary of what your typeface of choice can do to the overall letterhead design. For instance, using a size 12 font will help you avoid a crowded heading. It’s essential to be mindful when choosing a typeface as well, given how typefaces may appear like the polar opposite of the type of business you run.Colors: Color can impact the visual appearance of your letterhead design in more ways than one. With an endless list of options to choose from, experts suggest sticking with a color scheme that closely relates to your brand. Limiting your letterhead to four colors is also a good idea for formality’s sake. And to save on costs, you want to be economical by using black and white when answering customer inquiries and requests, as color printing can be too expensive for a daily business purpose.Paper: Never underestimate what the quality and type of paper used for your letterhead can do for your business. We classify these papers according to their grade and weight, which means that a paper with a higher GSM (grams per square meter) is a lot heavier than those with a lower GSM. The best way to determine which paper material to use is to find one that best fits your business and available resources.

The Roles of Letterheads in Business Correspondence

People often have the false assumption that only big corporations possess the need to use letterheads when corresponding with another party. While it’s easy to see why many well-established companies have letterheads in their stationery, that doesn’t make it exclusive to their usage. Businesses of all sizes, including small enterprises and individual companies, should consider using company letterheads for the following reasons:

Introduces the Business: There are two essential components found in a letterhead: the company logo and its contact details. These are valuable pieces of information that help identify the business from that of its competitors. And with letters being valuable printing collateral in the world of business, using a letterhead to introduce your company to others is one way to gain recognition from a targeted audience for future transactions. It lets them know who the letter came from and what other means of communication they can use to respond.Establishes a Corporate Identity: Letterheads are almost always included in any legal document produced by a company. Anything you send your customers—be it a letter, an invoice, or a receipt—must depict your company’s identity through its recognizable features. In many cases, businesses incorporate their brand colors and illustrations to cement their image in the recipient’s mind. One look at the logo and they’ll know exactly who they are corresponding with at the time of writing.Prompts Further Reading: Leaving a positive impression is crucial in business, which is why creating visual interest is something that every business must prioritize. Although it’s important to note that the contents of your message matter more than your letterhead design, you shouldn’t use this as a reason to settle with a standard layout. Text elements should remain legible, while colors must be pleasing enough to convey your company’s brand identity without distracting viewers from the main body of the correspondence. An eye-catching letterhead is sure to get readers hooked from the get-go.Shows Professionalism: Regardless of the kind of business you run, regarding clients and customers with formality is not something to think twice about. Consumers care about how companies respond to their inquiries and complaints, which is why it pays to put some effort into the documents you make to communicate with the public. Fortunately, adding a letterhead is one way to prove to your audience that you’re a business that they could rely on. It makes it easier for potential customers to consider giving your business and its services a try, especially when authenticity is evident in its design.Promotes the Enterprise: Unlike business flyers and company brochures, we classify letterheads as an indirect form of advertising due to their casual endorsement of an enterprise. A letterhead provides an overview of your company’s vision through its structure and appearance. You can use it to catch the attention of prospects and potentially boost sales numbers for your business.

When to Use a Company Letterhead

If you run a business, you know how important it is to have a letterhead ready in your stack of stationery. It was in 2016 when Statista recorded a total of 1,100 new business establishments in the United States with 250 to 499 employees. And because these establishments communicate with buyers and co-vendors regularly, you can expect a lot of them to use a company letterhead in their correspondence.

Although many of today’s businesses are working toward a paperless corporate environment through emails and text messages, letterheads are still an essential element to add to your letters, contracts, petitions, agreements, and other legal documents. Apart from bringing a sense of formality, company letterheads also lend additional legitimacy to your documents that plain paper and handwritten signatures lack.

How Do You Design a Stunning Company Letterhead?

Customizing your company letterhead is pretty easy, especially if you have a letterhead template to get started. But standing out is another goal you’ll want to achieve to make it easy to remember. It’s one reason to spend time refining your letterhead as you would with a personal portfolio, as this can say a lot about your business and the image it portrays.

Here are a few helpful tips for you can create your professional company letterhead.

1. Get the Details Right

Before anything else, gather the information you need for the letterhead. As previously mentioned, there are details that your audience will want to find in the letterhead for their professional use. Some of these details include your company name, address, and contact information. You can add more information to the heading, as you long as they remain pertinent to its purpose.

Also, ensure that there are no mistakes prior to having it printed or engraved on paper. The last thing you’d want is to have a letterhead bearing a misspelled business name written on all of your stationery.

2. Adapt to Your Target Audience

As you immerse yourself in a state of trying to perfect the lines, borders, and colors of your letterhead, it’s essential to take the time to pause and analyze whether your letterhead is appropriate to the people who will receive the document. Imagine if a law firm used pastel colors or script font for its letterhead. Not only does it fail to communicate the identity you want to build for your brand, but it can also be very misleading to your target audience.

To avoid any branding mishaps, you should consider who you’re sending your letter to and modify the design to satisfy their preferences. Aim for a letterhead design that not only looks good but speaks volumes about your company’s personality as well.

3. Stay Consistent

A good tip for crafting any stationery is to pick a theme that you can focus on as the main feature of your design. It can be a specific color palette, shape, or image that you can use for your letterhead along with other print media. But uniformity doesn’t mean it has to be identical, as this will only make your design appear repetitive and boring. Instead, you’ll want to establish consistency. Doing so will make it easier for recipients to recognize your brand among a pile of documents. That way, people will no longer find it necessary to search for the name of the company that sent the letter. It’s a simple technique that many companies use to make sure the documents they produce can stay on brand.

4. Experiment with Color

Choosing the right color palette can be tricky. In your quest to make a simple but unique design, you may end up with a letterhead that says nothing about your business. Likely, the colors you first imagined in your head don’t look as pleasing when put to paper. Thus, be sure to use colors cautiously.

Since we all know how colors tend to be manipulative in terms of the psychological impact it leaves its audience, don’t be afraid to play around with it. You can still incorporate your brand colors into the scheme as long as they complement the rest of your letterhead design.

5. Add Creative Illustrations

While it may not apply to all, you still might want to try taking a modern approach with your letterhead by integrating a photo or illustration, which is relevant to your business, into the design. It’s a technique that those in the industry of photography, architecture, or graphic design can apply to make a lasting impression on their audience. It’s not the craziest idea, but it’s certainly one that you should test out before making your finishing touches. Be sure you’re familiar with the magic of gradients and transparencies so you can attain the desired look and feel of futuristic design.

6. Create a Visual Hierarchy

Visual Hierarchy is a principle that applies to all aspects of graphic design. Arranging these elements in their order of value is essential, as it guides readers in knowing what to read first. For instance, if you use a header and a footer for your letterhead, you can let the latter mirror the former, without driving the attention away from what readers are meant to find. The same concept applies to the flow of information in your letterhead’s content.

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Ultimately, letterheads are a great addition to your business documents for branding purposes. A simple letterhead can help you achieve and maintain a professional image in the eyes of your audience through its structure and placement in the material. By creating a letterhead that meets the fundamentals of effective business design, it becomes a powerful marketing tool for you to make the right impression with recipients.