Don’t Underestimate the Power of the ENVELOPE

Envelopes do far more than ensure the safe delivery of their contents, they have an important role in the sharing of information. Your envelope choice can play an integral part in improving the effectiveness of your direct marketing campaign by enticing and bringing the respondent inside.

After extensively planning what’s going inside your mailing it’s easy to overlook the impact the outer can have on your campaign. Many companies automatically default to a plain white envelope and whilst plain white envelopes certainly have their place, it’s worth giving some extra time and thought to the element that your recipient will see first.

Some things to consider…


When choosing the size of your envelope think about the weight and thickness, as these will affect the postage costs. Postage rates are calculated by many different criteria and are far from simple, but for example, the lowest band standard postage will be on an outer that is up to 5mm thick, up to 240 x 165mm dimensions and up to 100g in weight.

There’s still plenty of room to get creative within the size guide without incurring extra postage – non standard sizes such as C6 and 155mm square can still fall within the guidelines and may stand out as they are more akin to greeting cards or other items of personal mail.

Printed or Plain

It much depends on the content and purpose of your mailing. Printing your envelope will increase its ability to stand out amongst other mailed items. It can re-enforce branding and is an ideal place to add teasers to tempt the recipient to open it.

If your campaign calls for full print coverage, these envelopes will usually need to be printed before being made up and are best suited to bigger volumes. Large areas of print can still be achieved with overprinting, you just need to be mindful to leave clear zones and grip edges.

Printed envelopes aren’t just for promotions, transactional mail can also benefit from using the space to promote brand identity as well as to identify the mail as urgent or to flag it as non circular.

Finally, it’s advisable to have a return address printed on your mailing, and indeed mandatory for Mailmark. So bear in mind it shouldn’t cost you any extra to add a printed message or even an image at the same time.

Colour & Material

If you don’t want to print your envelope but still need it to stand out then look at the material. A different colour envelope will instantly change the look of your mailer and make it stand out against standard white or manilla envelopes. For a really big impact consider if foil or metallic envelopes are right for your mailing.

If you want something more subtle or need to keep it white then consider upgrading to a heavier weight and textured envelope – don’t forget direct mail is physical and the touch and feel will have an impact too. Just bear in mind the overall weight of your mailing.

Window or Non Window

Window envelopes come with another set of choices such as; standard, full view, double and reverse windows. The clear advantage is to display various elements of the mail piece inside and save on printing the envelope. Window envelopes mean that the contents don’t have to be matched, saving time and resources.

If the only personalisation you have is the envelope then a non window is likely your best choice, with no matching required the inserting and printing can be done quickly and efficiently. Perfect for non personalised content such as brochures, magazines or even postcards.

Remember, while getting creative with your envelope it must still meet all the UK postal service requirements to remain ‘machine-friendly’. Improper address placement, colouring, reflection and contrast as well as unacceptable shapes could add costs or delay your mail.

To gain discounts for efficient processing of your mail you must meet the more detailed machine-readable requirements of individual mailing products such as Advertising MailTM, Sustainable® Mail, Mailmark and Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

Do get in touch if you would like help deciding which envelope is right for your mailing.