What is a Letterhead?

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Just a few days ago someone actually ask me, “Exactly what is a letterhead?” I had to pause and think about how I would respond as I have been doing them for so long with all the rules and purposes ingrained tightly in my little head it was hard to come up with a robust answer. I began by explaining how letterhead is a communication piece, which should represent your brand identity. It usually consists of a company logo, contact information such as address, phone number and email address. It shows a certain level of professionalism and consistency. The content of the message on the letterhead should remain the main focus amongst all the other elements.

Part of the Bigger Picture

Letterhead is one piece of branding puzzle. Once a logo, design look and feel and font are chosen the creation of a letterhead can begin. While not all companies have a logo, they may have a type treatment or just a font that should be included in place of the logo because it is part of the brand. All elements of your brand should be consistent and hang together throughout the different vehicles. The letterhead design should be locked down and included in your company’s brand guidelines to make sure it always looks the same way. The letterhead design can be repurposed to support layouts for internal forms and billing documents.

Printing Considerations

There are printing considerations that need to be accounted for if you choose to have physical letterhead for communications through traditional mail.

  • Is your letterhead going to be printed in color or black and white?
  • Printing on a personal printer or at a professional printer
  • Printer margins will be different for different printers
  • Professional printers can print designs that go to the edge of the paper, so a bleed has to be set-up to accommodate this and then the sheet will be trimmed down to size

Some companies have chosen to make all their communication efforts electronic, which is becoming more the trend these days. It makes communications faster and more affordable. Programs like Word allow you to embed your graphic elements in the header and footer space, leaving the center open to format and align the content how ever you would like. This makes it very easy for small business owners to develop their own identity communications on the fly.

As simple as a letterhead can seem, it can say many things about your brand. In the end it should communicate two things, your brand and the content on it.

What is a Letterhead?

Written by on January 27, 2012

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