If you need to create a branded or custom-made envelope there are basically two ways of going about it:
- You can buy envelopes and then overprint them.
- You can start with a flat sheet of paper, print on it, then turn that sheet into an envelope afterwards.
Taking the first route – overprinting on existing envelopes – has a number of drawbacks.
Whilst it is possible to overprint onto previously made up envelopes, such as one might buy from a stationer, you are starting out with something that is already glued and formed from different thicknesses of material. This creates lots of limitations. You cannot, for example, print to the edge of or inside a pre-made up envelope. And, printing multiple colours on to what is basically a pocket of air can be very challenging for the printer and therefore inefficient for you as the customer. Print runs of pre-made envelopes can be notoriously tricky – leading to slow press speed and lots of damaged and lost envelopes.
So, it is worth considering creating bespoke envelopes from printed flat sheets. Especially if you require larger quantities printed.
How are bespoke envelopes printed?
The bespoke printed envelope starts life just like any other piece of printing, as a flat sheet of paper litho printed on a normal printing press. At PrintHouse we might typically use our B1 Heidelberg so that we can ‘plan up’ a large number of envelopes on one big sheet of paper.
After printing, these sheets can be die-cut and glued to create unique envelopes. This means you are not limited in terms of design and can give free rein to your creative instincts.
On the above example, the designer was able to get creative on the inside of the envelope with a colourful flower design.
Bespoke envelopes are better suited to longer print runs
Printing a bespoke envelope actually involves at least four different manufacturing processes as follows:
- printing the custom envelope on a flat sheet
- die-cutting the envelope using a custom cutter
- glueing that printed sheet into a bespoke envelope
- making up the envelope into its finished form
As a result, creating bespoke envelopes is quite an expensive procedure, meaning that it is not typically suitable for short-runs.
However, for quantities in excess of around 5,000 envelopes, printing a bespoke or custom envelope can become very worthwhile. Indeed, due to the ease of printing on a flat sheet, rather than already ‘made-up’ envelopes, it may be significantly more cost-effective to print custom envelopes for longer runs.
Who orders custom envelopes?
Some of our clients use them to send out bespoke brochures or ticket collections, for example. And since you are already using cutting and creasing processes it is possible to customise even further; as in these distinctive ‘bangtail’ envelopes which contain a perforated section which the recipient signs and returns as confirmation they have taken delivery of the contents.
Finding out whether flat printed custom envelopes are right for you
As we have seen, there are pros and cons to custom printed envelopes. They can be best summed up as follows:
- Custom printed envelopes provide you complete flexibility on the look and feel of your envelope. You can print on any side of the envelope, and right up to the edge. They are easier to print, because they start out as a flat sheet of paper, meaning they run through the printing press more efficiently. Finally, the printer can ‘plan up’ a large number of envelopes on a single piece of paper, potentially reducing cost and lowering production time. The key disadvantage is that custom envelopes are expensive for small (perhaps less than 5,000) quantities.
- Traditional over-printed envelopes don’t require more complex planning and finishing and can be produced in smaller quantities. But they are fiddly to produce and are far more limited in design.
Ask us for bespoke envelope samples and help with your custom envelope design
At PrintHouse, we’ve got the experience to help you with bespoke envelope design and production.
Contact our dedicated sales team today by giving them a call or if you already have all your details then you can use the Quick Contact Form below.
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