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­­­­­­9 Top Tips for the Perfect Letterhead Design

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

A great letterhead design can make all the difference to how your company is perceived.

Not only are creative letterheads are a great way to build your brand recognition, but they're also vital when writing formal letters or sending printed invoices. This can make the design process appear a little daunting. But, don’t stress, we’ve put together a list of the top design tips to ensure your company letterhead design looks professional.

Professional letterhead

1. Plan your letterhead design

Before you even start to think about your colour scheme and design elements, you need to lay out a plan for your creative letterhead design. Start by deciding whether you want a header or footer and where you want your contact details and logo to go.

2. Decide on your letterhead's content

When it comes to designing business stationery, don’t underestimate the power of a simple letterhead design. Sticking to a few key details will ensure your business letterhead design is clean.

What information should your letterhead include?

In the UK, it is a legal requirement to include:

- Your company name.­

- Your registered office address.

- Your company number.

- The part of the country your business operates in.

We’d also recommend including:

- Your company logo.

- Your company contact details: generic email address, website and phone number.

You also may want to include:

- Your social media handles.

- Any professional bodies or trading associations your business belongs to.

- Awards you have won.

- Your Trustpilot star rating.

- Your business partners or directors.

Sticking to these pieces of information will ensure your business identity remains clear and your company letterheads look uncluttered and professional.

Top tip: If you are looking to include your company contact details, make sure you use a generic company email address. This will ensure your letterhead is relevant, no matter who uses it in the future.

3. Stick to your branding

Letterhead on a coffee table

Going back to your company brand guidelines is a great way to ensure your company letterhead design is on-brand.

Consider your company colour scheme, fonts you frequently use, font size and tone of voice. This will ensure your company letterheads are instantly recognisable as coming from you.

4. Choose your letterhead's layout

With so many different ways to structure a corporate letterhead format, it can be hard to choose one that suits your company. Whilst you are free to set out your company letterhead however you wish, here are a few conventional professional letterhead designs:

- Header and Footer

The design is at the top and bottom of your company letterhead.

- Spine Column

The design is in a single column on the left-hand side.

- Background (Watermark)

A logo or image is printed onto the background of the letterhead in a low-contrast shade.

As a general rule of thumb, your company logo should be placed at the top of the page, showing the recipient who the letter is from. Whereas, your contact details should be at the bottom.

5. Use colour sparingly


Colour is an extremely powerful tool that can make or break your office letterhead design.

You may have heard the advice that states you should only use black and white in your company letterheads so that your office printer doesn’t compromise on quality. However, printing your letterheads professionally, and popping them into your office printer to print the letter, will ensure quality letterheads, no matter what colours you choose.

What colours should you use for your letterheads?

Your brands colour palette is a great place to start. Most businesses opt for a single accent colour or two contrasting hues to reinforce their branding.

Top tip: Always use colour sparingly when designing your professional letterheads. Too much colour could become overwhelming for the reader.

6. Create your letterhead design using appropriate software.

Letterhead design on Illustrator

When looking for appropriate software to design a company letterhead, most people would immediately turn to Microsoft Word. However, Word will impose limitations when using graphics, an unusual text layout or keeping a standardised format.

Instead, we’d recommend using Adobe InDesign or Illustrator to design your company letterheads. Both platforms are flexible in their capabilities and will allow you to design a professional business letterhead.

If you’re looking to create your letterhead design on a budget, Canva is a great free alternative. It comes with plenty of free templates to help you get started, as well as the freedom to create your own designs.

Top tip: Remember to set your page size to A4 (210 x 297 mm), your canvas to 300 DPI and to export your letterheads as a PDF, before sending it to your printer. For more top tips on how to set up your artwork for print check out our ultimate guide to creating artwork for print.

7. Print your letterheads professionally.

Although printing your own letterheads may seem like an affordable option, using your office printer could limit the quality of your final print.

Choosing to print your letterheads professionally will ensure your letterheads are of high quality, creating the best possible first impression. What’s more your printer can guide you through the process of choosing the right design and paper stock, making recommendations based on your specific requirements.

8. Pick the right paper stock.

The heavier the paperweight, the more premium and professional your business letterheads will feel. Most professional letterheads are printed onto a 120gsm stock, ensuring a luxury feel without compromising on price.

Top tip: Don’t forget to consider the capabilities of your office printer. There’s no point in printing your letterheads on a thicker stock if your printer cannot handle the paper.

9. Match your letterheads to your other business stationery.

Branded stationery set.

Whilst it may seem like a lot of effort, investing in a branded stationery set is a great way to ensure a consistent brand experience.

Ensuring your branded letterheads match your compliment slips, envelopes, presentation folders and bespoke business cards will create a great first impression and ensure your brand is memorable.

Are you ready to post your letter?

If you struggle to ensure your brand looks professional, creating branded company letterheads could help ensure your business makes the right first impression.

If you’re ready to create a consistent brand experience, we can help you with every step of the process; from graphic design to choosing your paper stock and printing your final product. We make the process simple.

Contact us today by calling 0116 259 9955 or email to enquire about our professional letterhead design and printing service.


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