Quick Guide: Printing Envelopes

Even in our digital world, people are still sending mail through the U.S. Postal Service. Whether it’s a direct mail campaign or a wedding invitation, envelopes are a necessity for many of the jobs we produce. While the sizes and types of envelopes are vast, there are a few ways that we handle printing them.

At Master Print, most envelopes are printed on our Jett presses, which can handle pre-made stock envelopes up to 12×15 ½ in size. These specialty presses can only print 2 colors at a time, so if you have a three-color logo or other design with more than two spot colors, the envelopes will have to be fed through the press more than once.

Trying to match the printing registration on two different press runs is quite tricky. Jett presses are designed for speed and do not have a gripper or guide which can causes the paper to move slightly. To account for this, make sure your three-color design doesn’t involve all three colors touching in close proximity. This way if the registration is off slightly, it won’t be noticeable.

There are some instances when the Jett presses will not be a good fit for your design. If you absolutely have to have all three of the aforementioned colors in tight register, you’ll need another option. Printing full color envelopes also requires a different solution. Also, if your design includes large areas of heavy ink coverage, you’ll want to go another route. Bleeds should not be included for envelope jobs.

The other option for printing envelopes is called converting. This refers to the process of creating envelopes from printed flat sheets of paper. The paper is then die-cut into the required shape, folded, and glued together to make the final product. By choosing to print flat and then convert your envelopes, you can get really creative with the design and incorporate some amazing graphics for an impressive result!

For a small run of envelopes (typically 500 or less), we can print on the digital press. This is more cost effective than getting the offset presses involved and can allow you to have a (more limited) design in full color without the conversion process.

Ask your sales consultant or account manager about your next envelope job. They can help you figure out the best way to print your job!