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Envelope Basics: Complete Guide to Envelope Specifications

Envelope basics refer to a complete guide that shows you everything you need to know when selecting, measuring, and ordering the right envelope for your business.

Whether you regularly send mail or you are new to using mails, this article contains everything you need to know about envelope basics.

Envelope Opening

The envelope opening depends on whether it’s an open-end or open-sided type.

Open-end envelopes have an opening on the shorter length and come in two small versions: the coin envelopes and large types, e.g., catalog envelopes.

Open-sided envelopes have an opening on the longer dimension such as business envelopes and come in both large and small versions, for example, booklets. Open side envelopes work with the majority of inserting systems. The size of the package determines whether you will need a large or small open side envelope.

It is essential to understand all types of business envelopes so you are able to choose the one that matches your business needs.

Envelope Printing Methods

There are several methods of creating a perfect envelope to meet your needs. These include:

Offset Envelope Printing Method

It is a popular printing method that increases your chances of getting high-quality envelopes at an affordable price. It can print packages of between 5,000 to 100,000 envelops. The price is usually lower when you increase the runs (number of envelopes to be printed).

The method allows for an option of a wide array of colors, from black to four color processes.

The envelope’s design can either be ready-made or more complicated. If the model is more complicated, the envelopes are printed as a flat sheet, which is later converted.

Lithographic Printing Method

Litho presents you with more complex printing options, for instance, heavy ink coverage. It is more expensive than printing onto the ready-made envelope, as was discussed in the previous method. In this method, the envelopes are designed on flat sheets and then die-cut folded and glued. The process takes much time, making the prices go up.

Envelope Paper Options

The 10th envelope, which is the most common type of envelopes, has a weight of around 6.75 grams when made from the 20th paper.

How to Calculate Basis Weight

Basis weight refers to collective fiber that makes up the paper, and it is calculated as the weight of 500 17” * 22” sheets. Thus, the 20th paper envelope will represent the weight of the  500 17” * 22” sheets of that paper and not the weight, 6.75 grams, of the 10th envelope.

The USPS in 2016 changed the minimum basis weight for automation mailings to 50 pounds or its equivalent.

Envelope Measurements

The size of the business envelope will depend on your specific business requirements. The standard envelope sizes include:

Business Envelopes (both direct and transactional mail size

The most common business envelope is the 10th envelope. It is used for both direct and transactional mail. The table below shows the standard sizes of business envelopes

 

Envelope name Standard size Maximum enclosure size
6-¼ envelope 3-½ * 6 inches 3-¼ * 5-¾ inches
7 envelope 3-¾ * 6-¾ inches 3-½ * 6-½ inches
10 envelope 4-⅛ * 9-½ inches 3-⅞ * 9-¼ inches

Booklet Envelope Sizes

It refers to open-sided, double-sided seam envelopes coming in many standard sizes.

The table below will help you understand the standard sizes of booklet envelopes.

 

Envelope name Standard size(inches) Maximum enclosure size(inches)
6 envelope 5-¾ * 8-⅞ 5-½ * 8-⅝
6-⅝ envelope 6 * 9-½ 5-¾ * 9-¼
9 envelope 8-¾ * 11-½ 8-½ * 11-¼

 

Envelope Window Measurements

The envelope window refers to the distance from the left side and the distance from the bottom of the envelope. It is always displayed as height * width, regardless of the orientation of the window.

Procedure for Measuring the Envelope Window

Orienting the Flap

It is the first step to ensure that the flap is at the top. Envelope orientation applies to both open-ended and open-sided envelopes.

Measuring Window Placement

The placement is measured from the left side first and then from the bottom of the envelope.

Determining the Size of the Window

Dimensions of the window are displayed vertical size by horizontal size, and it reflects the window opening against the window patch.

Identifying the Orientation of the Window

In most cases, windows are in horizontal formats, but we would advise you to specify both vertical and horizontal orientation.

In a horizontal format, windows are parallel to the bottom of the flap, and horizontal measurement is longer than vertical measurements. In vertical format, windows are perpendicular to the bottom flaps, and horizontal measurement is shorter than the vertical measurement.


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