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Envelope Design Features

Copy Design

Copy for the envelope can consist of rules, text, graphics, screens and halftones. Their are limitations as to where the copy can be placed due to postal regulations.

Screened Copy:

  • For different shades of one color
  • To shade backgrounds
  • Many densities available
  • Screen quality will vary according to the printing process used.

Image Limitations

Printing on an envelopes generally have minimal limitations because of the lack of problems found on a web press and other sheet fed presses.  Copy can be printed before or while they are being converted to envelopes which eliminates the problems of copy being placed over an  image.

Back Printing

Back printing the term used when copy is printed on the back side of the envelope

  • Design features are the same as as on the front of the envelope
  • If the envelope is to be printed on the flap and can be done with the flap out than the flap can be printed at the same time as the front of the envelope.  This not back printing because the the flap is not down and the  underside of the flap not being printed.
  • When the envelope is printed before it is converted than much of the back printing on the envelope is  printed on the same side as the front of the envelope and when the envelope is folded it that copy becomes the back of the envelope.

Printing on Front Only

Die-Cut Printed Paper Before Folding into an Envelope

Front Side of
Envelope after Being Folded

Back Side of
Envelope After Being Folded

Design Guidelines for  Types of Printing Processes

There are several different printing processes available to use when printing envelopes.  Below is a guide to  help achieve quality on your envelopes

Offset Printing:

  • Allow 1/8" minimum bleeds due to +/- 1/16" variance on envelope converting equipment.
  • Keep weight of rules to a minimum of 1/2 pt. Keep to 1 pt. in reverse areas.
  • Type can be any point size but a minimum of 5 pt. is recommended, with a 7 pt. minimum in the reverse areas.
  • Screens should be 133 to 150 lpi, depending on the press equipment.
  • Standard traps are 1/4 pt.


  • Keep screens to a 120 line screen or coarser.
  • Use a screen density that is a little lighter than what you would like on the finished product. Screens have a tendency to fill in with the thermography process and will appear a little darker than normal.

Flexography and Letterpress:

  • Allow 1/8" minimum bleeds due to +/- 1/16" variance on envelope converting equipment.
  • Keep weight of rules to a minimum of 1 pt. Keep to 1 1/2 pt. in reverse areas.
  • Use a minimum of 6 pt. sans serif type for best quality. When using serif type, use a minimum of 8 pt.
  • Screens are usually 65 lpi. Keep screen densities at 40% or less for best results.
  • Halftones print alright if the original or the digital scan is good quality. Avoid duotones, tritones and gradient screens.
  • Avoid having large solids and screens in the same color - use a lighter color of ink instead of screening in the same color.
  • Standard traps are 1 pt. 
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