Professionally printed full-color envelopes bring a luster to your corporate correspondence and direct-mail communications unmatched by desktop printers. Envelopes should be designed to match your letterhead in a corporate setting and motivate prospects to open and read your sales letter in a direct-marketing setting. How your envelopes are printed largely influences how your design will ultimately look and how much it costs to mail. Read on to learn envelope printing techniques that can make you look great, save you money and boost your return on investment. Envelope size Your envelopes should be sized to correspond with the materials inside. Generally speaking, A-6 and A-7 envelopes are appropriate for greeting cards, while No. 9 and No. 10 are perfect for corporate and sales letters. Paper Your envelope paper should be able take laser and ink jet inks without smearing, so you can individually address each. Standard paper is a good choice for bulk, mass-mailed letters, while premium paper adds a robust and professional appeal for corporate communications. Mailing To save time and reduce mailing costs, you can choose to have your printer address and mail your envelopes for you. Compare and contrast your mailing options – even though bulk mailing is cheaper per piece, it doesn’t have the response rate of first-class mailing (because some customers equate bulk with junk), so it might pay to spend more on mailing now to realize a higher return on investment later. Get a proof To ensure your envelope design, colors and printing look as great off the press as they do on your computer screen, make sure you get a hardcopy proof before running the entire job. Even though it might cost a little more, a proof in hand can save tons of headaches down the road. It’s the measure twice, cut once principle. If you’re certain everything is correct, you’re guaranteed a high-quality product that meets or exceeds your expectations. Order in volume Just like letterhead, postcards and other printed direct-marketing materials, it pays to print envelopes in volume; the greater the quantity of envelopes per run, the lower your price per envelope. The best strategy is to order as many envelopes as you’ll need during the next year all at once. Your envelopes are every bit as important as the materials inside. Printing stunning envelopes that project a professional identity is important to your direct-mail success. Keep these printing techniques in mind when planning your next corporate identity package or direct-mail marketing campaign to top the competition at the mailbox.