Your business letterhead is the official face of your firm. We strongly recommend incorporating the legal name of the company into your letterhead design together with any regulatory or association credentials. Letterhead stationery is generally available in two sizes: Standard or letter-size stationery measuring 8 ½”x 11” (215.9mm x 279.4mm) and A4 measuring 8.3”x 11.7” (210mm x 297mm). While letter-size stationery is the standard of choice in the United States, most other countries use A4.
Having selected the appropriate paper size, you can now choose the paper color. While most business stationery is either white or ecru (cream-colored), we occasionally see light-blue, grey and even beige paper stock. While attractive, the use of colored paper stock restricts your printing options. Specifically, thermograph inks used to simulate engraving are resin-based inks and colors often appear distorted when printed on colored paper. Unless there are compelling reasons, we strongly recommend ecru or white for business letterhead. There are literally hundreds of shades of white and ecru paper and, as such, it is helpful to select brands that are readily available. We believe that it is useful to select paper from paper mills whose brands are of a consistently high standard.
Paper weight and its composition and texture are important considerations. Most business stationery ranges from 24# (pounds) weight to 32#. This weight measurement is derived from the mill weight of 500 sheets of paper that are then cut to standard size paper. From a practical perspective, it simply means that a sheet of 32# paper weighs a third more than 24# paper and is less flexible. If your firm typically prints single or two-page letters, we would be inclined to recommend a heavier paper stock. In any event, paper weight and its texture is a matter of personal preference. Guild member stores have sample swatches to compare paper weights and appraise ink colors under different printing processes. While printing in thermography is less expensive than engraving, it is absolutely essential that your stationery has a NIP finish (Non Impact Printer). Thermography inks have a tendency to melt under the high heat of a laser printer and, as such, care should be exercised to insure that proper thermography inks are used.
The layout of your letterhead paper should be consistent with the design of your other stationery. For instance, if your business card is center-adjusted, then your letterhead and personal correspondence should also be center-adjusted.