Questions? Call Us!

(781) 961-1800

Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

The Smart Bubble® Way to Mail

Posted by Jerry Velona on Mar 13, 2019 11:16:07 AM

You’re a small business, maybe a one-person operation selling products online – selling small jewelry or socks. Or maybe you’re fundraising and offering premiums to people who donate. Or perhaps you’re doing a direct mail program and sending out something that needs extra protection. You need a way to mail that provides security and ensures your contents will arrive in tact. You could buy generic bubble mailers at the office supply store and slap a label on them.  Yeah, I know, pretty blah. 

There should be a way to have a custom printed envelope with bubble lining that allows you to show your awesome brand to your customers.  Actually, there is, but you have to order a minimum of around 20,000 to get them.  How many do you need?  500?  Oh well… 

But hang on, now there’s a solution for you – and it’s reasonably priced, and there’s no minimum, and you can print absolutely anything you want on several different types of envelopes; paper, Tyvek, Herculink or Paper Tyger. You can even use an expansion envelope for items that have added bulk.

Bubble Envelope with Smart Bubble logo 02

It’s called Smart Bubble® by Elite Envelope and Graphics.  Smart Bubble allows you to print anything you want – a four color logo, a splashy graphic image, a high-quality photo, heck, even full coverage front and back.  The secret sauce is our removable bubble liner which can be tailored to whatever envelope size you require.  This allows for a wide range of printing option with no degradation of the bubble protection.  And it’s “Smart” for another reason – the end user can remove the bubble sleeve once received and either reuse it or recycle it.  This means less plastic in the trash which is always a plus (not to mention something you can promote to your customers).

And because Elite generates more than half its power from rooftop solar panels, we can also include a “produced with renewable energy” logo on your piece – and it’s legit, not like companies that pretend to do this by buying Renewable Energy Credits on the open market.

So just to recap: you can provide the best protection for your mailing with these benefits:

  • No minimums
  • Wide range of sizes and stock
  • Virtually unlimited printing options
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Priced for small business

And let me also mention the best, personal customer service in the industry. Smart Bubble by Elite Envelope

Call us today for a free consultation and quote!

 

Topics: smart bubble envelopes, printed bubble envelopes, printed bubble mailers, environmentally friendly mailer

How to Order Business Forms (or any printed form) and Get What You Want

Posted by Jerry Velona on Feb 11, 2019 12:17:30 PM

In our last post, we described some of the common error people make when ordering business forms. All printing companies and envelope companies will encounter these situations from time to time.  Mostly it’s the result of someone who has been thrust into the role of purchasing something that they are not completely familiar with.  This has happened more and more over the years as companies have downsized and forced staff to do more things. As I mentioned previously, printing has its own unique set of terms and certain procedures which are commonly used to get the best result.

When a customer is trying to place an order and doesn’t provide the proper information, it requires a lot of back and forth with the vendor. This will slow down the process and sometimes can be frustrating for both parties.  So, to avoid all this, here are some things to keep in mind when ordering or seeking a price quote:

Size/Measurements:

This is one of the trickiest things when ordering something more than just a simple printed sheet. Especially for business forms with multi parts and other complicated construction aspects, this is crucial in order to get the form done properly.

Pinfeed liner forms and consecutive numberingSnap sets (multi part forms with a tab separated by a perforation that gets discarded) or edge glued forms are measured across the stub/tab or glued edge first then by the length, including the size of the stub, Ex 8 ½ x 11 ¾ including a ¾ top stub will yield an 8 ½ x 11 when the stub is removed or separate the edge glue. 

Continuous forms: measure top to bottom first then left to right including the marginal/tractor pin-feeds. EG: 9 ½ x 11 including a ½” left and right will yield an 8 ½ x 11 once the pin-feed side tabs are removed.

The following are more general in nature and would apply to ordering any kind of printed form or printed envelope.

  • Ink colors: All printers use a what’s called the PMS match system for ink colors.  Each color has a number and a specific formula to produce that exact color. Specifying the job as “prints in blue” will not give us the correct PMS color your customer is looking for. If the form has been printed previously, it was matched to a specific number. This needs to be provided in order to get exactly what you want.  If it’s not available, a sample can be provided to the vendor and he will try to match it as best as possible to a PMS color.   
  • Files: Electronic files must be print ready with high resolution. Sending a document in Microsoft Word or other document file will cause the contents of the file to change from one computer to the next and are not acceptable except as a starting point. Final artwork is best sent as a PDF file.  
  • Lead time:  Many customers will not understand that making a custom printed form or printed envelope requires some time.  Companies will have a production schedule and new orders are entered and given a place in the queue.  It’s very helpful to know what the expectations are for delivery at the time the quote is submitted.   If it’s a form that or your customer is using regularly, try to get a feel for how long the supply will last and check in with them a month or so before to allow plenty of time to order a new supply.

We’d love to hear about your experiences in ordering print.

Topics: business forms, printed forms

The Most Common Mistakes when Ordering Business Forms

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jan 9, 2019 11:08:45 AM

Printed forms can be tricky to order.  Like most other custom-made products, there is a set of terms and certain procedures that producers follow to make the forms properly to spec. Knowing how to speak the language of printers and business forms manufacturers can be very helpful to those who are charged with purchasing. Here are a few of the most common mistakes we see in our business and how to avoid them.  These are not listed in any order. And some are specific to forms while some are generally applicable to any kind of print buying for forms; cut sheets, envelopes, etc.

  • Not Measuring Properly – Aside from the fact that some adults seem unable to use a ruler properly (don’t get me started!), there are specific ways to measure different forms. For example, a multi-part form with a perforated tab (see picture below) needs to be measured both with and without the tab included. multipart carbon form with tab So, for instance, if you have a 3-part form where the finished pages will be 8 ½ x 11 inches with a top tab measuring ½”, you need to provide both dimensions to the vendor.  The total size will be 8 ½ x 11 ½ inches including the tab.  So, make sure to specify both the total size and the finished size (after it’s torn off the tab) of 8 ½ x 11.  This also applies to continuous pin-feed forms like those pictured just below. In general, you can never make things too clear or too obvious!

 

  • Not Figuring the Quantity Correctly – You might think this one is obvious, but not in every case. For instance, if you are ordering forms that are bound inside of a cover (also referred to as a “book”), you need to specify how many total forms you want and the number of parts per form.  You also need to specify the number of forms per book.  If you were to just order, say, ”50 books” it leaves a lot open to interpretation.  Did someone say you can never make things too clear or too obvious? 😊

 Pinfeed liner forms

  • Not Accounting for “Overs/Unders” – This comes up quite a bit and is a sore spot with some customers. Anytime a custom order is made and printed, there are likely to be extras produced.  This has to do with the waste involved in the process and the need to plan for that in order to “make count” i.e. fulfill the quantity ordered.   You can find a more detailed explanation here.

Most vendors will specify at the quoting stage the percentage of overs/unders that are customary for a job.  A buyer needs to be aware that this might be a possibility and plan accordingly especially if they are a reseller.  If no overs or unders are acceptable, the buyer needs to specify that at the quoting stage and the price will take that into account.

 

To be continued on the next post.   In the meantime, stay clear and obvious!

Topics: business forms, printed forms

Document Wallets Keep Your Papers Secure

Posted by Jerry Velona on Dec 7, 2018 3:02:05 PM

Yes, I know, you keep a lot of documents on your PC, laptop or mobile device these days.  But there are some things that just work better when you have the actual documents.  Sometimes actual signatures are required.  Or it’s just easier to pull them out of your file drawer rather than call them up on your device.  And even if you’re not of a “certain age”, sometimes it’s just better to read an actual, full size document rather than view on a 5” screen, especially if it contains fine print which these things often do.  Additionally, some other items, like key access cards or ATM cards need some protection when they’re being carried around or stored.

So, if you’re an auto dealer, law office, bank, hotel, funeral home, election agency or maybe law enforcement, you might just need a document wallet or folder made out of heavy paper, often in a custom size with printing.

s_elite_heavystock_2018_13-1

 

Deal Jackets - For auto dealers, there are still a ton of papers that get generated at the purchase or lease of a car. Some of them are legally required so there’s no getting out of it.  Nothing like a slickly printed, heavy duty document wallet or folder for telling your customer you think of the little things to make their lives easier.

 

last will and testament

Last Will and Testament Envelopes– For law offices, paper documents are still a necessity. These wallet envelopes will give your clients a handy way to keep and identify important papers.  Custom printing ensures your contact info is always handy for them.

Valuable Paper Folders and Document Wallets or whatever they might be called are useful for all types of applications. 

 

s_elite_heavystock_2018_2

  • Banks – for loan documents
  • Hotels – for access cards or gift cards
  • Funeral Homes – for cremation documents
  • Government Agencies – for office documents of all types like marriage certificates
  • Law Enforcement – for samples or evidence related matters

 

bank wallets

Because of the thickness of the paper, most of these products require individual die-cutting and sometimes hand folding and gluing.  Elite Envelope & Graphics has everything you need for a high-quality job.  Call or e mail us for more information and estimates.

Topics: document wallets, deal jackets, last will and testament envelopes, valuable paper folders, bank document wallets

What's Up with Paper Prices?

Posted by Jerry Velona on Nov 6, 2018 10:38:23 AM

Envelope blanks for converting-1

Anyone who's in the printing, paper or envelope business or in the position to buy any of those is already painfully aware that the price of paper has increased substantially over the past year and a half or so.  And there are predictions that the increases will continue into 2019. 

It seems counter-intuitive for the price of the essential raw material in our industry to be increasing so rapidly when many customer volumes are declining and companies are struggling to remain competitive in the digital world 

A Variety of Reasons Offered
There are many explanations we've heard.  Apparently the market for certain paper grades in other parts of the world is more robust and allows for higher prices so some of the paper is going overseas creating shortages domestically. 

Some analysts are saying that the price increases are the result of a greater demand due to the favorable macro-economic conditions of the past two years in particular. Paper mills are taking capacity offline and are betting that the market will absorb the increases without hurting overall demand. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that strong economic growth is causing prices to increase on a wide range of products from paint to a can of Coke. In general, companies feel confident that they can raise prices after a long period of low inflation and tepid economic growth and paper mills are part of that thinking. 

Our Commitment to You

Since most of our customers are in the trade, we are all feeling the same pain.  And that isn't to discount end users who are seeing their print budgets increase.  After fifteen years in the industry as an envelope converter and manufacturer and more recently a web printer, Elite is well positioned to help our customers weather this storm. We've always been strong financially and pay our paper vendors quickly which allows them to extend the most favorable terms to us and give us priority on shipments. We also employ a very productive staff both in our office and plant allowing us to do more with less.  All this plus our general high level of experience and resourcefulness gets passed along to our present and future customers. 

We welcome any comments or feedback you might have on this topic.  You can contact us through our website

Topics: envelopes, paper prices, printing

Custom Envelope Terms – Part 2

Posted by Jerry Velona on Oct 3, 2018 1:14:51 PM

In my last post I discussed and defined some of the special nomenclature pertaining to envelopes, envelope manufacturing and envelope printing.

For someone who’s buying these products for themselves or their business, it helps if you can speak the same language as the envelope converter or any other company you might be dealing with.

Here are a few more common terms/descriptions you might encounter in the process.

Standard Commercial Sizes (in inches)

These apply to either regular/closed face (non-window) envelopes or window envelopes.

# 6 1/4 – 3 ½ x 6

# 6 ¾ - 3-5/8 x 6 ½

# 7 – 3 ¾ x 6 ¾

# 7 ¾ - 3-7/8 x 7 ½

(Note: 7 ¾ size is also referred to as “Monarch Size”.  There is sometimes a distinction in the flap size and style between the two but the overall size is the same).

# 8-5/8 – 3-5/8 x 8-5/8

(Note: This is sometimes referred to as “Check Size”.)

# 9 – 3-7/8 x 8-7/8

#10 – 4-1/8 x 9-1/2

#11 – 4 ½ x 10-3/8

#12 – 4 ¾ x 11

#14 – 5 x 11 1/2

As you can see, the description doesn’t always match the size.  Don’t ask me why a #7 ¾ envelope measures 7 ½ inches!  Sometimes things just get carried forward and no one questions it. 

Elite Envelope can provide a handy desk guide which lists these standard sizes.  If you’d like one, please click here.  No charge!

s_elite_june_2017_13

A – Style – “Announcement Style” – used primarily for greeting cards, invitations, etc.  It’s a side seam, booklet style envelope (see previous blog post!) with a deep square flap that usually covers about half of the size of the envelope.

Baronial Style – These are also used primarily for greeting cards and invitations. Baronial envelope usually have diagonal seams and pointed flaps.  There is a variation of these called “Euro Style” which has the pointed flaps but with side seam construction.

Remittance Envelopes – Also sometimes referred to as “Coupon Envelopes”.  These are open side, side seam envelope with a wallet flap that extends nearly to the bottom of the envelope.  They are used for payments and are very popular with fundraising appeals.  Sometimes the flap can be torn off with a perforation and used to send back in the envelope along with a payment.

Oh, and I mentioned in my last post that I would get into what’s meant by a “vertical window” placement on an envelope.  This is really just a regular window but is oriented differently on the envelope.  Vertical window means that the long dimension on the window runs perpendicular to the long dimension on the envelope.  So if you had say a 9 x 12 booklet envelope with a vertical window that measured 2” x 4” and you were holding the envelope with flap at the top, the 4” dimension of the envelope would run “north/south” .  This is very common with booklet style envelopes that require running through a postage meter or an inserter. 

If that last bit seems a little confusing still, feel free to contact me for a further explanation or I can send you a sample of the envelope.

 

 

Topics: Envelope terms, custom envelopes, baronial envelopes, A Style envelopes

Custom Envelope Terms - what do they mean?

Posted by Jerry Velona on Aug 31, 2018 3:05:56 PM

35048217-young-cool-black-man-doubting

The world of print buying which includes envelope buying has its own set of terms which are sometimes not easy to figure out.  Many people who find themselves assigned the task of buying print and paper are often confronted with sometimes inscrutable language thrown at them by vendors who are not considering their audience.

One of my pet peeves in general is the use of jargon especially in business and government.  Sometimes specialized terms are necessary in certain situations, for instance in certain technical applications.  The digital revolution of the past 25 years has meant that most of us had to learn about things like RAM and gigs.  It’s just part of the evolution of things.

However, I suspect that sometimes people use terms in which only a select group are familiar either by habit or perhaps as a way to make themselves look important.  After all, if you don’t know what X, Y or Z means then you’re just not as informed as you should be and I have something over you, right?

Well, having gotten that off my chest, back to envelopes and print buying!

Here are a few things you might hear or read in a quote with a quick explanation:

OS & OE - These are abbreviations for “open side” and “open end”.  In the envelope world, open side means the opening (or flap side) is on the side of the envelope that has longer dimension.  So, for instance, a 9 x 12 open side envelope means the flap is on the 12 inch side. This is also called “booklet style” (don’t ask me why).  So open side and booklet mean the same thing.  Open end means the opposite; the opening or flap side is on the shorter dimension side of the envelope.  So that same 9 x 12 envelope listed as an OE would have the flap on the 9 inch side.  Open ends are also called “catalog style” (again, don’t ask) – same thing. 

These terms are useful, even essential when describing what you’re looking for.  I can’t tell you how many times a buyer has said to me, “the flap is at the top of the envelope”.  “Top” is obviously a relative term.  Using either open side or open end as descriptors eliminates all question and confusion.

Note:  one thing to watch out for is that “OE” sometimes will mean “outgoing envelope”.  In this context it describes the envelope that is mailed to the customer usually with a return envelope inside.  You’ll generally only see that used in quote requests. It doesn’t refer in any way to the size or construction of the envelope.

Window Measurements – This is an area that often causes confusion between buyers and vendors.  There’s a certain method which envelope converters use that tends to eliminate confusion.  You might see this wording in a quote for a custom window envelope:  “Window measures 1-3/8” x 4”, ½” L, 7/8” B.”

The 1-3/8” x 4” describes the overall size of the window; width (north/south) first and length (east/west) second.  The second group of numbers describes the position of the window.  Window position is always described by the distance from two edges of the envelope in question.  The letter L simply means “Left”. In the example above, the window is placed ½” inch in from the left side of the envelope. The letter B means “Bottom”.  So in the example above the window is placed 7/8” up from the bottom of the envelope.  Envelope converters will ALWAYS measure and describe windows in this fashion. The only thing you’ll have to take into account is that the flap of the envelope has to be on top as you’re doing the measuring. 

There is one exception to this which refers to what is called a “Vertical Window”.  I’ll get into that in the next blog post.

In the meantime, feel free to pose any questions about this or any other envelope terms you might find confusing. I’ll be happy to answer any of them. No charge!

Topics: Open Side, Open End, custom window envelopes, custom envelopes, Catalog Envelopes, Booklet style envelopes

Top 5 Reasons to Use Tyvek for Your Next Mailing

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jul 25, 2018 11:37:13 AM

DuPont’s Tyvek has been around for many years and has a reputation for durability and functionality in the mailing world. It’s a synthetic material which is also used as a first layer to wrap houses which gives you an idea of the durability part.

Tyvek is more expensive than regular paper envelopes but it has one property that makes it well worth considering for mailings; it’s a lot lighter than paper.  Most large envelopes used for mailings are either 28# or 32# weight.  Tyvek’s most common weight is 14#.  So simple math says it’s half the weight or less of paper envelopes.  Going to the next ounce in postage costs around 21 cents per ounce.  So for 1,000 envelopes, you’re saving around $210 per thousand in postage by avoiding the increase in weight of the mail piece – pretty impressive.

The sleek look and smooth feel of Tyvek is pretty much guaranteed to get your mail opened.  It prints really well – even with full ink coverage.  Your brand will stand out and be noticed and the recipient will understand that this is not just any mailing, but rather something important that deserves his attention.

It’s virtually impossible to tear which makes it ideal for mailing anything that has rough or sharp edges; like a spiral bound booklet for instance.  It’s also water resistant which ensures it will hold up and look better when delivered especially if it’s raining!

Tyvek envelopes from Elite Envelope

Tyvek is available in a wide range of sizes; from small, credit card size envelopes up through jumbo sizes as large as 22 x 27 inches. Tyvek envelopes are also available with side expansions up to 5 inches for bulky packages. 

 And, perhaps surprisingly, Tyvek is 100% recyclable. A nationwide recycling program collects used envelopes and recycles them into other useful materials. Tyvek itself is contains an average of 10% post-industrial waste content.

 

Topics: Tyvek envelope printing, tyvek envelopes

Envelope Converting Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jun 22, 2018 3:13:33 PM

9D6A7832 small file

Envelope converting is the process by which sheets of paper are made or “converted” into envelopes. The sheets can be plain or printed.  Machines which make envelopes can do so from paper rolls (which avoids die cutting as a separate function) or from die cut “blanks” which are fed into the machine and glued and folded.

Most converting jobs are ordered by printers. Generally speaking a printer will know the process and be able to speak the same language as the envelope converter and give him what he needs in order to produce the job properly.

However, there are many smaller users; small business owners, graphic designers to name just a couple, who might require a converted envelope and may not understand how to avoid the pitfalls that could occur as part of the converting process.   For those folks and any others who might not be that familiar with the process, you can obtain a list of converting tips here. But in addition, here are the three most common errors in the envelope converting process.  Keep these in mind when designing and ordering your custom envelope.

  • Error #1 – Not designing to the converter’s layout sheet.

Always ensure that the sheets are printed in strict accordance with the layout/template provided by the envelope converter.  If you don’t get one at the time of the order, ask for it. The converter knows how the job is to be laid out for best results.  And if you’ve ordered the envelope before from a different converter, don’t assume that their layout will apply to a different company.  Even if it’s a standard size like a #10, things like flap sizes can vary from company to company depending on their particular die.

  • Error #2 – Not accounting for the inevitable manufacturing variation and tolerances.

As I’ve covered in previous posts, there is variation inherent in both the cutting and folding of an envelope. If you are printing an envelope that has color which bleeds to one of the folding edges, you must wrap-around the image by at least 1/8” to ensure no white space shows.   The only way to significantly minimize this variation without the wrap-around is to individually die cut each envelope prior to folding. This is a much more costly process and not feasible on a large order. Plus, because of the folding variation, you’re still not going to get them all perfect.

  • Error #3 – Not leaving a no print area where glue meets ink.

If your envelope has full ink coverage all around, you must leave a space – called a no-print area – on the side flaps where they meet the back panel and also on the back panel where it meets the flap. This is where the glue is applied to hold the envelope together and seal it. The adhesion property of the glue is significantly lessened when it is applied on top of heavy ink coverage.  The layout provided by the envelope converter should have these areas marked off but if they don’t, make sure you ask.

Paying attention to these three points will allow you avoid the most common problems on an envelope converting job.  Feel free to e mail me at jerry@eliteenvelope.com if you have any other questions. I’d be happy to answer them for you.

Topics: envelope converting, envelope converting mistakes, custom envelopes

Full Color Envelope Printing - Digital or Offset?

Posted by Jerry Velona on May 21, 2018 2:04:52 PM

Envelopes have typically been printed either flexographically (rubber or plastic printing plate) or offset (metal plate). Those two processes (in addition to flat sheet printing/converting) are still the most common for the vast majority of envelope printing.  Today’s post however deals with the world of digital envelope printing and how that can be used to your advantage for full color envelope printing.

_MG_0181-2

Flexographic printing for envelopes is generally only economical on larger runs of approximately 100,000 or more. Since digital is only economical on smaller runs, we will only focus on comparing it to offset printing.

Digital envelope printing is done electronically. There are no printing plates. The printer automatically sends out the proper mix of colors to achieve the image that was programmed.  Digital envelope printing can be done with toner (like most desk top digital printers) or with later models that use ink jet technology where the color is “sprayed” onto the envelope.

In the world of envelope printing and envelope converting, digital printing is only economical on very small quantity jobs – generally under 5,000.  The quality is comparable to offset although many prefer offset or lithographic quality.  There is a different look to digital envelope printing – a little shinier perhaps.   From the strict standpoint of quality, the one possible advantage of digital printing is that there would be less variation over the course of the print run given the fact that offset printing requires continuous fine adjustments in the ink/water mixture.

Mostly the advantage of choosing digital custom envelope printing over offset boils down to cost. It’s much less expensive to set up and run a job digitally.  So, the fewer envelopes you require, the more it makes sense to print them digitally.  Once the quantity gets to around 5,000, offset becomes more advantageous cost-wise and as the quantities increase, the unit cost of offset printing decreases significantly. Digital printing unit pricing stays relatively constant regardless of the increase in quantity.

Recent advances in digital printing for envelopes such as the I Jet can print full color images that bleed right to the edge. Previously this could only be done by printing flat sheets and converting at a much higher cost.   Another advantage to the ink jet digital approach is it can print on regular poly window envelopes.  Toner printers generate much higher heat in order for the toner to adhere to the paper. This can melt regular windows.  Lastly, envelopes printed using digital ink jet technology can be run through laser printers for variable addressing. This is great for direct mail printing and is not possible with toner-based digital printing.

jetcolor.nov2017

Elite Envelope provides a wide range of digital envelope printing options.  We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have on the right way to go.

 

Topics: digital envelope printing, offset printing, custom envelope printing

Yet Another Blog Post

From Jerry Velona - co-owner,

Elite Envelope & Graphics, Inc.

Jerry offers pertinent, often useful information on envelope converting and printing, web printing, direct mail, the post office, songs that have to do with mail and letters, digital overload and much more!

(Non-spam) Comments always appreciated.  Spread it around!

 

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all