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Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

Custom Envelope Terms - what do they mean?

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

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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

What Does Booklet and Catalog Mean for Envelopes?

Posted by Jerry Velona on Dec 27, 2017 4:00:07 PM

Envelopes come in all shapes and sizes but like many specialty items, they have their own descriptive language.

Here’s a quick tutorial on some of the most common envelope terms and what they mean.

 Envelope blanks for converting.jpg

Commercial envelope sizes – Probably the most common envelope size is the standard number 10.  This envelope measures 4 1/8 inches in width and 9 ½ inches in length. I guess it’s called a #10 as that’s easier than a #9 1/2!  The is the envelope that is used when you are mailing a standard letter-size sheet of paper because when you fold that in thirds, it fits perfectly inside. The next most popular size would be the standard number 9. Care to guess what those measurements are?  Yes, that’s right: 3-7/8 x 8-7/8.  I guess whoever came up with these designations decided that using whole numbers that are close to the dimensions was easier all around. 

This type of rounding is consistent throughout all other sizes that are referred to by a number sign.  A #6 ¾ envelope measures 3 5/8 x 6 ½.  A #7 ¾ envelope measures 3 7/8 x 7 ½. Why not call them respectively a #7 or #8 envelope?  Well there’s already a #7 which measures 3 ¾ x 6 ¾ so that one is taken. A #12 envelope measures 4 ¾ x 11.   However, there’s already a #11 envelope and that one measures 4 ½ x 10 3/8.  Oh yeah, the #14 envelope measures 5 x 11 ½. So go figure!

Large envelopes – Envelopes measuring 6 x 9 or over are usually broken down into two types based on the location of the flap.  When the flap is on the shorter dimension side, the envelope is referred to as an Open End or Catalog style. When the flap is on the longer dimension side, it’s called an Open Side or Booklet style envelope. Those terms are interchangeable by style.

Again this is somewhat arbitrary.  Someone, somewhere (I’m going to try to track them down!) apparently decided that the long dimension is a “side” and the short dimension is the “end”; not to mention the curious distinction between booklet and catalog. I mean, is it OK to put a catalog into a booklet style envelope and vice versa?   I don’t think the Envelope Police will care one way or the other.

Seriously, I guess it’s necessary to have some type of agreed-upon standard as a basis for discussion which is how these came about.  Anyone who has spoken to a customer trying to describe their envelope saying, “well, the flap is on the top” can understand the need for that. “Top” and “bottom” are relative terms. Open Side and Open End are not.

 If you find all of this confusing and hard to remember, you’re not alone.  Elite Envelope & Graphics has put together a handy Envelope Buying Guide which lists all the standard sizes and all sorts of other useful reference information for those that buy and sell envelopes. It’s compact and can fit right in your desk blotter so you can take it out and sound like an expert when you’re talking to a customer or prospect.

Comment on this article and give me your address and I’ll send you one.

Topics: Booklet Envelopes, Envelope sizes, Catalog Envelopes, #10 envelope measurements, #9 envelope measurements

Booklet envelopes, Catalog envelopes and other curious terms

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jun 8, 2011 11:59:00 AM

Envelopes come in all shapes and sizes but like many specialty items, they have their own descriptive language. I’ve always been interested in how these phrases came about. I’m in the process of researching the etymology of envelope lingo and hopefully can report back on a future post when I get some hard information. In the meantime, here’s a quick primer on some of the most common envelope terms and what they mean.

Commercial envelope sizes – Probably the most common envelope size is the standard number 10. This envelope measures 4 1/8 inches in width and 9 ½ inches in length. So of course it’s called a #10! This is the envelope that is used when you are mailing a standard letter-size sheet of paper because when you fold that in thirds, it fits perfectly in a #10 envelope. The next most popular size would be the standard number 9. Care to guess what those measurements are? Yes, that’s right: 3-7/8 x 8-7/8. I guess whoever came up with these designations decided that using whole numbers that are close to the dimensions was easier all around.

This type of rounding is consistent but eccentric throughout all other sizes that are referred to by a number sign. A #6 ¾ envelope measures 3 5/8 x 6 ½. A #7 ¾ envelope measures 3 7/8 x 7 ½. Why not call them respectively a #7 or #8 envelope? Well there’s already a #7 which measures 3 ¾ x 6 ¾ so that one is taken. A #12 envelope measures 4 ¾ x 11. I hear you all saying, “but Jerry, that should be a #11 right?” Wrong, amigo! There’s already a #11 envelope and that one measures 4 ½ x 10 3/8. Oh yeah, the #14 envelope measures 5 x 11 ½. Go figure.

Large envelopes – Envelopes measuring 6 x 9 or over are usually broken down into two types based on the location of the flap. When the flap is on the shorter dimension side, the envelope is referred to as an Open End or Catalog style. (1st diagram below) When the flap is on the longer dimension side, it’s called an Open Side or Booklet style envelope. (2nd diagram below). Those terms are interchangeable by style. Again this is somewhat arbitrary. Someone, somewhere (I’m going to try to track them down!) apparently decided that the long dimension is a “side” and the short dimension is the “end”; not to mention the curious distinction between booklet and catalog. I mean, is it OK to put a catalog into a booklet style envelope and vice versa? I say it is although some more law-abiding than me may disagree.

Open End or Catalog Envelope, Elite Envelope & GraphicsOpen Side or Booklet Style Envelopes, Elite Envelope & Graphics

Seriously, I guess that it’s necessary to have some type of agreed-upon standard as a basis for discussion which is how these came about. Anyone who has spoken to a customer trying to describe their envelope saying, “well, the flap is on the top” can understand the need for that. “Top” and “bottom” are relative terms. Open Side and Open End are not.

If you find all of this confusing and hard to remember, you’re not alone. That's why Elite Envelope has put together a handy Envelope Buying Guide which lists all the standard sizes and all sorts of other useful reference information for those that buy and sell envelopes. It’s compact and can fit right in your desk blotter so you can take it out and sound like an expert when you’re talking to a customer or prospect.

Comment on this article and give me your address and I’ll send you one.

Topics: elite envelope, Booklet Envelopes, Open Side, Open End, Catalog Envelopes, Booklet style envelopes, Commercial size envelopes, #10 envelope measurements, #9 envelope measurements

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!

 

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