Envelopes: Custom Vs. Standard

I recently came across an interesting quote for a customer where we had to compare custom vs standard envelopes.  It is an interesting one that I thought I should share.

Most envelopes when they are printed are done so on a pre-existing envelope. That means it has already been die cut, folded and glued into what you know as an envelope.

That essentially means that when printing on the envelope the colour cannot go until the ends (the printing term would be bleed).


Standard Envelopes

I would say most people when printing their envelopes go with a standard look. They are usually printed as a one colour, or a full colour, depending on the logo. It is typically just the return address. Sometimes, customers will have a postal indicia, or something else printed on the envelope like a slogan, but it is all on the front and fits into the standard look of an envelope.


Semi-Custom Envelopes

 There are definitely some people that like to stand out when they are sending out letters and want to have a small difference from the standard envelope, but aren’t quite ready to go fully custom. This usually means printing on the flap of the envelope is added, and maybe a picture, however the specs still allow for the artwork to be printed onto a pre-existing envelope. So while the artwork is more custom than normal, it would still be considered a pretty common job.


 Custom Envelopes

Sometimes, somebody wants to stand out completely and have their envelope be a special colour, or they want an image where the envelope bleeds (remember, that means the ink goes all the way to the end of the paper). That means we can no longer use an envelope that is already glued, it needs to be custom made. The process is as follows


  • The envelope maker gives us a template to follow to create the artwork
  • The artwork is printed on flat sheets at a printing house with extra space on the sheet for the envelope maker to run the work through their die-cut machine
  • The finished flat sheets are sent from the printer to the envelope maker
  • The envelope maker than: Die cuts
  • Folds
  • Glues
  • Sends final envelope to customer


So as you can see, while making a custom envelope may give a customer a unique look or feel, it would also be a lot more money.

I bet you’re wondering the price difference between the three envelopes. What do you think they are?

Custom envelope with bleed.
The front of a custom envelope with bleed, only leaving white for the address block. Pretty yet Pricey!
Custom envelope with bleed.
The back of a custom envelope with bleed. The text on top would be on the flap.