Letterhead Research

To create a strong, professional brand, I will need to apply the same visual identity to all of the products that I produce. Materials used in letterheads are very important, there are lots of types and thickness of paper that can be used depending on style and design of the actual letter. I spoke to a company Marqetspace, they mass produce trade printing from business cards to letterheads to flyers and asked them to send me examples of the different types of paper that they print on. A couple of things i learnt from actually receiving the products were that thickness generally provides the user with a sense of quality and luxury while the opposite is said for the thinner pieces of paper.

You can see images of all the letterheads I looked at here;

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Given that the thickness gives the paper a certain quality the “120gsm CONQUEROR” has a really nice texture but I also believe that you wouldn’t want to go below 100gsm if you don’t want to loose that ‘quality’ feel. Also the fact we are in an age where we all have to consider the environment we live in it would also make your company stand above e it’s competitors if you showed that you care, one way of doing this would be to use the “100gsm RECYCLED” letterhead. Something else to consider when choosing the thickness of the letterhead would be the capabilities of the printer you used to print on the letterheads, as you need paper that would not jam in the printer. Yet another consideration of letterheads is the legal requirements as a business you are required to provide your name, the registered company name, contact number and address.

From my research about good and bad letterheads it is reasonably easy to state the plain white ones that the average company such as a bank send are considered to be the worst, while unusual shapes and sizes are seen as better design. Something I noted from the good designs is that they have all redesigned the envelope as well as the actual letter itself. You can actually see this in these two images below, they have actually redesigned the entire concept of sending out material to their customers.

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I think I like these two designs and will actually use them to create my own designs when it comes to making my mockups. Something I noted earlier was to have consistency across all of the material I produce, the pieces below have actually got a similar colour scheme and design processes behind them so that as a user you know they relate to the same company.

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I looked at the consistency across the portfolio of items below and I noted that it is very similar to what I was going aim for, the colours fall in line with my logo design and would work perfectly. I may consider this when making my designs.

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Another consideration for the letter is the eligibility of the content, I need to make sure the content of my letter is easily readable. Firstly, contrast of colour is something I really need to to focus on, my logo is a black to light purple gradient with light purple text, therefore to get the contrast for my type and logo design to stand out on the page i need to consider the colours my letter and envelope will come in. Line height, spacing and length are all factors that can impact the readability of the page, as discussed in this article (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0071161), dyslexic people find it easier to read shorter lines, so this is something I must consider when creating the letter layout. A larger line height is better because it improves the scannability which is something else I will need to consider when devising the layout of the letter because it allows the reader to flow through the content much easier by guiding them with the layout of the text.  At the same time though I don’t want too much text on the page so it is important to have a substantial amount of white space on the page as well, by using white space in between paragraphs it makes the content more scannable. Using grid layouts is going to be very important when creating the layout of the letters and their content and this is something I am going to examine in another post.

I really like the letterhead below because it uses flat colours (something that very fashionable in design right now) to separate the company information and the personalised information for the customer.

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In a sense from the name ‘formal letter’ they should be simple and boring, but that is not the case by adding interest to the layout sets you apart from the competition. Making use of the back side of the paper is just important as it again adds interest to your letter, you can see below there are a couple of examples that take advantage of the free space.

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References:

http://www.marqetspace.co.uk/home/

http://startups.co.uk/letterhead-legal-requirements-your-business-needs-to-follow/

http://www.peppermintprint.co.uk/products/letterheads/

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0071161

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/18/10-principles-for-readable-web-typography/

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