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how to design a letterhead

How to Design a Letterhead. Our tips to make a letterhead for your business.

A professionally designed letterhead acts as a vital branding tool for every business – it’s often the first impression a company makes. Beyond just conveying logistical information, an expertly crafted letterhead reinforces brand identity, exudes prestige, and creates an enduring positive image in the minds of customers and partners.

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But what goes into designing a company letterhead that stands out and effectively represents your company? This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process, from determining the right elements to include to leveraging graphic design software to create a polished, memorable look. Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to craft your startup’s letterhead or a seasoned graphic designer seeking tips to maximize visual impact, we’ll cover the best practices for building a stellar letterhead from start to finish using various platforms.

Follow our tips and visual tutorials to learn how to make an eye-catching letterhead that cements your brand in the minds of all who receive your correspondence. 

What is a letterhead and how do you use a letterhead?

Letterheads are pre-printed sheets of paper branded A4 paper, typically they have your company’s contact information such as your logo and tagline. This makes it easier for those who receive your letter to quickly ascertain who the letter is from and how to get in touch. Typically they consist of a header and a footer with a space in the middle to insert your content. 

What Should You Include on a Letterhead Design?

We covered the Essential Elements for Company Letterheads a little more in-depth as there are some legal requirements in making sure they are legally correct. Generally, they should include your business name and logo, contact details like address, phone, email, and website, your business structure registration details etc.

Setting the stage and getting set up correctly

We are going to give you step-by-step instructions on how to set up your design canvas with the most common design tools. No matter the tool you’re designing in whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional it’s important to get this crucial bit right!

Create a letterhead in Word

Many businesses create their letterheads in Word, it’s an ideal program to make a letterhead template when you are just starting a new business. There is nothing wrong with using Microsoft Word, we will show you exactly how to create the paper size.

  1. Use the top bar and go to the “Layout” or “Page Layout” tab. Select “Size” A4.
  2. You should increase the size by 3mm on the edges so that it would be 216mm wide by 303mm high. You should also add a 3mm minimum to your margins (the inner guides).
  3. If you want your design to have a header or footer you can go to the insert tab and select header and footer options using a pre-designed template or create a custom one
  4. When you finished editing all the design elements save the document as a template.

Top Tip: As we do not print from Microsoft Word documents you’ll need to save your letterhead as a PDF this will guarantee that we or your chosen printer can produce them as you see them. This flattens the layers, meaning your fonts won’t change and visual elements won’t shift when you upload your artwork.

Make a Letterhead Photoshop

If you are creating letterhead in Adobe Photoshop

  1. Create a new document by going to “File” > “New.” Set the dimensions for your letterhead to 216mm by 303mm inclusive of bleed.
  2. Set the resolution to at least 300 pixels per inch (ppi) 
  3. Change the colour mode to CMYK

Top Tip: if you are using images as part of your design you can use Ctrl + T within the Adobe Suite and crop out the unnecessary parts of the image making for a smoother design.

How to Design a Letterhead in Illustrator

  1. Create a new document by going to “File” > “New.”
  2. Set the dimensions for your letterhead to 216mm by 303mm inclusive of bleed.
  3. Set the resolution to at least 300 pixels per inch (ppi) 

Top Tip: If you’ve used custom fonts make sure you embed them!

Using Canva

You may want to design your letterhead online using Canva

  1. So you’ll need to set Canva’s custom size to 216mm x 303mm.
  2. Then draw a rectangle for 210mm x 297mm and 206mm x 291mm for the Finished size and Safe Zones.
  3. Use the alignment tools available in Canva to centre align these to the custom canvas.

If you are using Canva Pro you can take advantage of Canva’s templates they have some nice, modern letterhead layouts you can customize to fit your brand. If you are using Canva Free you can not resize the templates so it’s important to bear this in mind.

No matter the version of Canva you use you should use the download for print option when exporting your design, choose the high-resolution PDF print option.

Top Tip: If you are using Canva free be aware you can only save in RGB try using Canva Pro for access to their CMYK design model

Whatever software you use we would always recommend saving the file to a folder on your device in an editable format for example an AI file for Illustrator. This means that should you need to make an adjustment, such as changing the font, you’ve not got to start again from scratch. You could even save it online to use with Google Docs!

Tips for making the Artwork pop!

A letterhead is not just a logo or icon on a piece of paper. There is so much more to the creative process! Here’s are our key tips for Letterhead Design.

  • Sometimes it can help to sketch the design out before you start creating one digitally.
  • Create a neat and uncluttered layout – don’t overpower the content they don’t need to be complicated.
  • If you are using a template as a starting point ensure it fits within your brand’s identity.
  • Make sure your logos and graphics used are of high quality and match your company.
  • Choose the right font sticking to clear and easy-to-read fonts can add clarity to the design.
  • Review your design and print test copies through your office printer to ensure you’re happy

With some strategic choices and the right software tools, you can create a professional letterhead that perfectly encapsulates your brand identity. Focus on an uncluttered layout, thoughtful use of colour, and typography that reflects your company’s persona. Be sure to follow our directions on properly setting up dimensions, bleeds, and export settings for flawless printing.

Your new branded letterhead will now make a bold first impression and turn every piece of correspondence into a marketing opportunity. Whenever you need to reach out to customers and partners, your letterhead will reinforce your brand, convey prestige, and help build lasting business relationships. A custom letterhead is one of the most vital brand assets for any company – with these tips, you’ll have an amazing one ready to represent your organization.

Start Designing Your Letterhead Now!

For a letterhead that not only communicates information but also captivates and builds lasting business relationships get in touch with our design team!
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