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Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

Four Color Process Envelope Printing - which method is right for you?

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jun 9, 2015 1:29:00 PM

fancy envelope picture

Envelopes used to be an afterthought when it came to a printed package. A lot more time, attention and expense would typically be spent on the contents rather than the package which enclosed them. That is no longer the case and here's my theory as to why:

One of the pervasive aspects of our increasingly affluent society is that people's tastes and expectations change; generally in a more expensive direction. Just to take a couple of examples (there are many others):

My parents drank Maxwell House ground coffee that they bought in a large, pressurized can at the supermarket probably for the same price (or less!) than a single latte drink at Starbucks costs today. Maxwell House was good enough for them and millions of others.

Anyone try to give away their old cathode-ray TV lately? Last year I had the Salvation Army refuse to take mine because "everyone wants flat screen TVs these days".  They also wouldn't take my used but good condition sleeper couch with down cushions because of a small, faded portion on the back from the sun.  Apparently, even poverty isn't what it was 50 years ago.

Those are just two examples but the point is, for most of us, pedestrian isn't good enough anymore. One of the prime drivers of this is technology which, for example, makes flat screen TVs less expensive today than my 19" Sony Trinitron cost 15 years ago. Our standard of living has gone up largely because the cost of what used to be premium items has decreased. We're less willing to settle for...

simple black printing on envelopes for example!  You can buy a fairly inexpensive color desk top printer and print your own envelopes in pretty colors.  You can also go to Staples or other walk in digital printers, hand them your flash drive and walk out with some fancy color printed envelopes.

But what about if you're a small business owner or a print buyer?  What are your options for more than just a few hundred four color process envelopes? 

There are four possible ways to do this:

  • Offset
  • Lithographic
  • Flexographic
  • Digital

 

  • Offset - The most common offset press made for envelopes and used by most envelope converters, envelope manufacturers and envelope printers is the Jet press made by the Halm Corporation. The four-color jet press is a great option for a quantity of 5,000 and up where the printing is light to medium coverage with no bleeds.  For instance - if you have a small four color logo that you place with your return address, the four color Jet is generally the best way to go for price and good quality.

 

  • Lithographic - By this I mean high-quality sheet-fed printing from a large, sophisticated press made by companies like Heidelberg and Kamori which you'll find at large, commercial printing companies. Envelope converters like Elite Envelope will take printed sheets from these companies, almost always printed in full color, and cut, fold and glue them into envelopes. The reasons an envelope is printed this way boil down to three: coverage, quality and stock.  If the envelope has full coverage, front and back, this is one of your two options (flexo is the other, more on that shortly). If the envelope uses coated stock, then it generally needs to be printed this way. And sheetfed offset is generally the gold-standard for print quality in the industry. So if your envelope has to look better than anyone else's, this is probably the way for you to go.

 

  • Flexographic - Also known as "flexo" uses hard-plastic photo polymer plates versus the metal plates used in offset printing. It is done in-line (as the envelope is being manufactured) and features quick drying ink. Flexo used to be pretty much exclusively for "down and dirty" print jobs;  black or one color with simple copy. It's main advantage is cost; especially on very large quantities (typically 100,000 and up).  The quality of flexo printing has improved dramatically over the past several decades and there is now so-called "enhanced flexo" equipment which prints four color process in full coverage with outstanding results. However the quality is still not quite up to the level of lithography.

 

  • Lastly as I already mentioned, there's digital printing.  This is done mostly with toner versus ink. The quality is generally very good especially as the technology improves. Unlike the other three methods, there's virtually no-set up time required for digital printers. You pretty much just click and go. For that reason, digital is great for small runs of up to around 2,500.  However digital printers are very slow in comparison to offset or flexo presses so after that number, you're better off going offset.  Another drawback with digital printers is because of the intense heat needed to set the toner, regular poly window patch material melts.  So special and more expensive material must be used if you're printing a window envelope.  Plus, while the quality is good, it has a different look than offset printing. So, if the components are printed offset, they won't match the envelope which can be a problem in some packages. However, one great advantage to digital printing is that it can easily print variable data which has become essential in the world of direct marketing. And if you need a larger quantity of digitally printed envelopes, there are some very-sophisticated digital web presses that can print on sheets or rolls for converting later.

 

If you have a question on how to print a particular envelope to best meet your needs, send me an e mail or give me a call. I'll be happy to help you sort things out.

 

 

Topics: envelopes and printing, envelope printing, envelope manufacturer, envelope converting, four color envelope printing

Selling Envelopes and Print in the Digital Age

Posted by Jerry Velona on Mar 30, 2015 11:25:00 AM

Elite Envelope blog

“It was twenty years ago today.”

Yes, I know, a shameless attempt to get you into my blog by quoting the famous opening line from Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  But as I was getting my day going on a 32 degree “spring” morning in late March, I realized that my work life changed dramatically just about twenty years ago. It might as well have been the Stone Age.

 I was in sales at Northeastern Envelope Manufacturing Corporation of Braintree, MA. My boss was not just old school; he was the principal of the old school.  As such he insisted on a daily call report from me which up to that point I had dutifully hand-written and submitted, five at a time, at the end of each week.  

 I had recently purchased and began using my first personal computer sometime in 1994. I was just getting used to it and had heard of ACT contact management software. I decided to give it a shot so in the spring of 1995, I uploaded all my contacts, built a data base and began generating and printing my daily reports.  This was initially not met with enthusiasm by my boss who was still using index cards to keep track of his contacts. However, he eventually (but grudgingly) accepted the reports, and I was off and running into the information age.

My next life-altering experience came later that same year when I got my first cellphone.  Up to that point I had a pager or “beeper” as we called it firmly affixed to my belt. One of the inside staff at our office would call the pager number to let me know that someone had called looking for me.  I would have to find a pay phone, pull out my trusty roll of dimes and call the office to receive the message and then call the person back. This happened many times each day I was on the road.

I remember the first day I used my cellphone on the job. I called a colleague of mine to joyously announce that I was actually walking around downtown Boston talking to her on the phone.  I was so excited!  No longer would I have to use a payphone in the rain while juggling my notes and umbrella and fumbling for the dial. 

Just those two things increased my productivity (and my income) tremendously.  I was a bit of a late adopter but I think it was around twenty years ago that cell phones and e mails started becoming a big part of the daily life in business. 

Well here we are in 2015 and I’m still using ACT (a much later and improved version) and have had a succession of upgraded phones leading to my IPhone 6 which I love.  I can pretty much run major parts of my business through my smart phone.  Technology enables me to do meetings on line, answer my e mail from wherever I happen to be, send links of video to prospective customers and run a fairly sophisticated marketing operation solo.  All stuff I wouldn’t have imagined “twenty years ago today”.  (A second Beatle reference in that last sentence – so clever!)

So what did I spend a majority of my time doing last week? Calling and e mailing customers to set up face to face appointments.  I was able to line up several and each one of them was very productive. In each case I learned something new about our customer’s requirements and how we might be able to better compete to meet them. I also was able to personally express our gratitude for their business and end with a handshake which is not something you can do digitally.

Technology has changed our world and our business. I hear a lot of envelope manufacturers, envelope printers and web printers grousing about how the decline in overall volumes due mostly to computers and software have pointed our industry toward inexorable decline.  There’s some truth to that but print on paper and direct mail are here to stay. 

We need to embrace the enhanced ability to be more productive provided by new technologies and use them to our advantage. At the same time, we also need to remember that ours is a personal business based on strong relationships forged by customer service.  It’s easier to send an e mail and there are many times when that is the best approach. But there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings whenever they can be accomplished either in cultivating new business or cementing existing relationships.  Despite all the great toys and tools at our disposal, successfuly selling envelopes and print in 2015 is not all that much different than it used to be.

To meet the challenges of remaining viable and profitable it helps to remember, to quote from another great song from a different era, “the fundamental things apply as time goes by.”

Topics: direct mail, envelope printing, envelope industry, envelope manufacturer, web printing, envelope sales, printing sales

Elite Envelope Wins Blog Award!

Posted by Jerry Velona on Oct 16, 2014 2:17:00 PM

Elite Envelope wins Blog award

When you write a business blog on a regular basis, you are doing it primarily to promote your particular company. That’s not exactly a secret but it explains why many blogs are virtually unreadable. Commercials can be entertaining; in fact I think they really must be entertaining to be able to get even a whiff of attention from viewers or listeners already overloaded with messages and data in our information overloaded world. But most sales pitches are generally not exactly scintillating; and that’s what your typical business blog reads like.

But sales pitches are different from blogs right?  Well, they should be but ultimately the blog’s purpose is to sell the individual or company. You can do that by providing useful information for people who buy your product or service or for those who may want to in the future. The best business blogs don’t read like sales pitches. They provide information of value which interested people might not mind taking a few minutes of their precious time to peruse.  Presumably, the reader will get the idea that the company knows what they are doing and might be worth considering

Elite Envelope & Graphics’ business is envelope converting, envelope manufacturing, envelope printing and web printing for direct mail and financial printing. In our blog, we attempt to write about these topics in such a way as to increase the understanding of what we do. We also will incorporate other topics that are related to what we do such as the continuing travails of the Post Office and the direct mail industry in general. 

Sy Syms who owned a clothing store named after him in the Boston area had a famous line on one of his commercials in which he said, more or less, “an educated consumer is our best customer”.  Not sure if ol’ Sy came up with that line himself but it’s a good one.  It suggests that the more you know about clothing, the better he looks. It’s an invitation for his customers to flatter themselves which is never a bad thing!

We started the blog after signing up with Hub Spot; a Massachusetts company that was little more than a start-up back then which has grown into a hugely successful public company (check out the recent IPO figures).  At the time, I considered writing a blog to be mostly a waste of time for us. However, my Hub Spot rep convinced me to give it a try as a way to boost our sales.  Following Hub Spots’ very carefully calculated procedures which tie into their very intuitive web design, I’ve since become a believer. The blog has increased the number of hits to our site dramatically and in the past year we’ve started to get regular orders from customers all over the country who find us on search engines as a direct result of our blog.

In addition to increasing my knowledge about the industry I’m in through researching for articles, I’ve also become a fairly capable “in-bound” marketer which has helped me understand the digital world better. One of the main ideas in blog writing is to incorporate those important phrases or “key words” which describe what we do and which get carried out to the world via search engines. You ‘ll notice how I already got that out of the way in paragraph three!

We’re proud of our blog and also of our membership and support of the New England Direct Marketing Association (NEDMA) an organization of which we’ve been a member for most of our almost eleven years in business. NEDMA brings together most of the players in the direct marketing field and emphasizes education with networking among the members as a nice side benefit. It’s the organizational equivalent of a good blog.  Elite’s blog won a silver medal this past June in the “Best Blog Copywriting” category.  We are grateful to NEDMA for considering us worthy and proud to have built and maintained what has become a very useful tool for us and, we hope, for you.

Topics: direct mail, elite envelope, envelope printing, envelope manufacturer, envelope converting, direct mail printing

Envelopes for Packaging – A Sweet Idea

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jun 19, 2014 11:05:00 AM

envelopes for packaging is a sweet idea

 

I had an interesting conversation with a successful entrepreneur a few weeks ago.  She is one of the principals for a company that produces very high quality and very delicious square-shaped chocolate bars.  (By the way, the frowning (smirking?) candy bar above is not the product in question. The ones to which I'm referring are of a much happier variety!)

Her idea was to have us create a small, square envelope for the outside packaging on her candy bar. The bar would have a folded foil wrap directly covering it and then would be inserted into an envelope and sealed.  It would be a white envelope printed in four color process on the outside to create the required design along with ingredient information and the required nutrition breakdown. 

I told her I thought this was a great idea and not just because she had selected us to do the job. I can’t think of any food products that use envelopes for outside packaging but certainly there must be some that could. You need something fairly flat and dense.  Candy bars are an obvious example although like all good ideas, it seems obvious only after someone comes up with it.

The thing about envelopes is they have certain characteristics that convey things like timelessness, sturdiness and consistency, not to mention reliability. After all, the motto of the United States Postal Service is “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”  According to Wikipedia, that phrase was a translation from the Greek historian Herodotus describing the ancient Persian system of mail carriers circa 500 BC.  You can’t fake that kind of historical lineage.

I realize of course that we live in an age when the 1980s is seen as ancient history but there are certain products which have deep cultural roots that resonate. Envelopes are certainly in that category. Cars also need to be included in that list. It can’t hurt for a product to have a tie-in to a simpler, perhaps less-complicated time. Nostalgia may often be an overly sentimental longing for a past that never actually existed.  But the feeling is undeniable and it starts to hit everyone who’s well into his twenties and beyond.

Now, I’m an envelope manufacturing guy and I have my biases but I can’t help think that printed envelopes, with all the possible options of paper and design, are an excellent choice for packaging the right product at the retail level.  We’re here if anybody out there wants to talk about it!

Topics: envelope manufacturer, printed envelopes, envelopes for packaging, custom envelopes

Custom Window Envelopes – Creating an Effective mailing

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jan 21, 2013 11:41:00 AM

Custom Window Envelopes are used frequently in direct mail and in smaller specialized applications. In envelope parlance, a custom window is also referred to as a special window:  same thing; different terminology.

 standard window diagram resized 600

A standard envelope window measures 1-1/8” x 4 ½” and is placed 7/8” in from the left edge and  ½” up from the bottom edge. (See above)  Since the use of bar-coding for outgoing mail has become more common, there are a couple of different envelope window sizes that have become near-standards. They are close to the standard size and placement but generally a little bigger and/or placed a little higher up from the bottom in order to incorporate the bar code either as part of the address showing through the window or ink-jetted at the bottom of the envelope below the window.  These can vary from company to company so it’s always better to check before designing your mail piece.

 

The standard window was originally designed to display the outgoing address when it’s typed in the customary spot on the upper left-hand corner of a standard 8 ½ x 11 letter sheet and tri-folded to fit in a standard #10 envelope.  That is still the case and the standard #10 window envelope is by far the most widely used window envelope. If your mailing can be designed to use the standard window, it’s going to be less expensive especially in smaller quantities of 100,000 or less.  On any mailing of over 100,000 there will be less of a difference in price for using a custom window and the price difference nearly disappears on very large quantities of 1 million or more.  Envelope manufacturing is the same as any other kind of custom manufacturing: the larger the quantity, the lower the unit cost.

 

Most window envelopes have a patch over the window which is glued to the inside of the envelope. This protects the contents and makes them more secure.  Unpatched window envelopes are more commonly used for reply envelopes where the end –user is handling the piece individually – mostly on large mailings for utilities and insurance companies.  Putting a window envelope with no patch covering the window through a mailing machine could cause problems which is why this is rarely done.

 

In order to properly glue a patch to the inside of an envelope, you must have a minimum of 3/8” space from the edge of the envelope to the edge of the window cut-out.  Most envelope converters will not make a window with less space than that.

 

Window patch material can vary. The most common is the regular poly material which is a clear plastic. In the past, glassine was used as a recyclable alternative to poly but had drawbacks due to the fact that it was cloudy and not favored by the post office. More recently, there have been numerous vegetable based window materials that are clear but also recyclable. These tend to be more expensive as is typically the case with any recycled material including paper.

 

Custom windows can vary widely in both size and shape. A commonly used item is the full-view window. This is a large window used generally on a #10, 6 x 9 or 9 x 12 size envelope that covers most of the face of the envelope. It allows for whatever piece is inserted to show through almost completely which can entice the recipient to open the envelope.  Other popular custom windows are the pistol shape and basic geometric shapes like circles and squares. The former is generally used to show an address while the latter are used to expose certain spots of the mail piece to create curiosity on the contents.  The creative use of custom windows is a great way to get the recipient to open the envelope which, after all, is the whole point.

Topics: direct mail, envelope manufacturer, custom window envelopes, special window envelopes, direct mail design, standard window envelopes

Custom Envelope Manufacturing Tips

Posted by Jerry Velona on Sep 26, 2012 10:13:00 AM

Elite Envelope is one of six remaining envelope manufacturers in the six New England states.  Nationally, the number of companies that actually make envelopes is shrinking due to lower overall demand but it is still a robust industry with dozens of plants spread throughout the country.  When you’re dealing directly with an envelope converter or manufacturer (same thing ) ordering  a custom envelope for a specific requirement is a fairly straightforward process. However, there are some things to keep in mind and here are a few of them:

Elite Envelope manufacturing

Quantity: - Many companies will enforce a 5,000 minimum for special-make envelopes.  Like most orders in the printing and envelope industry, the set-up for the job is a significant part of the total cost and it takes around five thousand impressions or envelopes to amortize that expense.  This means that if you order fewer than 5,000, assuming the company will allow for it, you’re really paying just about the same price overall that you would have for the 5,000.  At Elite, we will make fewer than 5,000 but there would be a minimum charge regardless of the quantity.  Some customers will just have us make 5,000 since they are in effect paying for them anyway.

Window Size,Position and Type: - If you’re designing a custom envelope with a window, it’s good to keep in mind that the edge of the window can be no closer than 3/8” to any edge of the envelope. This is because the patch that covers the window needs at least that much space to be glued properly.  Window sizes can run from full view which exposes virtually the entire front panel to small circles or special sizes and shapes (my favorite is the butterfly shape we used for a non-profit nature organization’s mailing).  Window material ranges from the most common synthetic poly to the bio-degradable corn-based product.

Size and Construction - When designing a custom envelope, the size is going to be driven mostly by what goes inside. It’s good to keep in mind the wide variety of standard sizes that might be close to what you’re looking for. It’s always going to be less expensive to use a stock item if possible.  Elite Envelope has a pocket guide which among other things lists all of the standard sizes. We’d be happy to send you one with our compliments. Simply click here.  It’s also a good idea to keep in mind the postage requirements based on certain size envelope. Elite Envelope Manufacturing

Function: - Lastly, if your envelope requires automated inserting, the specs of your particular inserter should be consulted to ensure that what you are designing will function properly.  All equipment varies with regard to what is acceptable.  The most important aspects to check are the size and shape of the flap and the depth of what is called the “throat”. That is distance between the flap score or fold and where the back panel of the envelope begins. In my experience, I’ve found that the smaller the inserter, the more careful you need to be about these aspects as they tend to be more temperamental with fewer adjustment options.

Topics: elite envelope, envelope manufacturing, envelope manufacturer, envelope questions, envelope buying guide

Small Quantity Envelope Converting – Does it make sense for printers?

Posted by Jerry Velona on Mar 26, 2012 10:56:00 AM

Envelope converting can be tricky. As I’ve explained in a number of previous posts, there are specific ways to go about it and pitfalls to avoid.  Over the years I’ve found that some printers will avoid taking orders from their customers that would entail envelope converting because of uncertainty about the process and a lack of confidence in the outcome.  I suppose I shouldn’t complain because many of those printers tell me this after they’ve referred their customer to deal with us directly. However, I always tell the printer that he’s losing out on a potential order for no good reason.

 Elite Envelope converting

There are some envelope companies out there that can make the rest of us look bad. I suppose that’s true in any industry.  In the envelope world, there are many companies with the word envelope in their name which are not actual manufacturers. They will typically print envelopes but any converting will have to be outsourced.  Sometimes the personnel at these companies are not familiar with the process so getting a converting order from one of their customers can result in some communication problems which can, in turn, lead to a bad outcome.  At Elite, we know the right questions to ask so that usually doesn’t happen. But in general it’s better for a printer to deal directly with a converter if you want the job done properly.

Which leads me to the question du jour: What if I only need a thousand or so of a four color envelope?

Well the short answer is, no problem. With four-color, short run digital printing now so commonplace, the demand for a thousand or two #10 envelopes to go with a letterhead order is increasing. Printers can run  #10 diagonal seam regulars one up on an 11 x 17 sheet or 2 up on a 12 ½ x 19 sheet on a digital press and send them over for converting for a reasonable lot charge.  At small quantities this is more economical than setting up the job on an offset press and it allows for the printing to match on all components which is important.

So printers, don't hesitate to take that order which includes a small quantity of four color envelopes. Find yourself a good converter and once you've done it a couple of times, you'll see that it can be a fairly straightforward process.  It just might open up a new source of business for you. These days, that's nothing but good.

I’d be interested to hear about any of your small run converting experiences. 

Topics: elite envelope, envelope manufacturing, envelope manufacturer, envelope converting, envelope converting tips, digital envelope printing, envelope converting process

Songs about Envelopes and Mail

Posted by Jerry Velona on Mar 20, 2012 10:05:00 AM

A while back I decided to change the music on our telephone hold machine. I thought it might be fun to feature songs associated with our business; most notably envelopes but also mail, letters and letter writing.

At first I concentrated on songs about envelopes in particular. After all, we are an envelope converter, manufacturer and printer and we want to focus attention on our product wherever possible. I thought if you have to be on hold, you might as well be entertained a bit with something a little different.

After doing some research, I was unable to find one song specifically about envelopes. That might have something to do with the fact that it’s a difficult word to rhyme (cantaloupe? Jack lope?  Bar of soap?) However, if you broaden the category, you start hitting the jackpot. Relying mostly on my iTunes account, I found these without too much trouble: Return to Sender (Elvis), The Letter (The Boxtops), Please Mr. Postman (The Marvellettes) and I’m Gonna’ Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter (Fats Waller).  After a little more digging, I unearthed: Strawberry Letter 23 (Brothers Johnson), Mr. Mailman, I Don’t Want No Letter (Little Milton) and the wonderfully sappy early 60’s summer hit Sealed With a Kiss sung by Brian Hyland.

Songs about Envelopes and Mail by Elite Envelope 

Along with way I learned that there is a band called Envelope and another called Glass Envelope. I also discovered a few songs in the house/techno genre that have the word envelope in the title; most likely having to do with sound frequencies.  I decided to leave those alone.

In order to ensure that people didn’t hear the same tunes every time, I enlarged the category further to include songs about working and work in general. Some that I included were: 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton), Working for a Living (Huey Lewis), The Work Song (Cannonball Adderley), Work to Do (Average White Band), 16 Tons (Tennessee Ernie Ford), I’ve Been Working (Van Morrison), Let’s Work Together (Wilbert Harrison) and, my personal favorite, Whistle While You Work (The Seven Dwarfs).  Initially, I also included Take This Job and Shove it by Johnny Paycheck. I thought it was funny but some of our customers didn’t so that one was pulled.

Feedback was mixed. Some enjoyed it and others made comments about the “weird” hold music. For now, we’ve gone back to the old generic hold music. But that won’t deter me from trying to inject a little fun into our business wherever possible. In the meantime I’d love to hear from you with other songs I could add to my list.  

Topics: write a letter, envelopes, envelope manufacturer, songs about envelopes and mail, songs about letters

Rush Deliveries – bane or boon?

Posted by Jerry Velona on Feb 13, 2012 10:49:00 AM

According to Wikipedia (the ship that helped launch a thousand blogs) the first recorded mention of the Latin phrase tempus fugit was from the Roman poet Virgil who wrote: Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore, which means, "But meanwhile it flees: time flees irretrievably, while we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail." We generally use the phrase to mean “time flies”; one of the most common expressions in American English and certainly one of the most apt in these times.

The printing business, including of course the envelope printing business has changed a lot over the past 20 years.  When I started in envelope sales in 1988, my company was still making rubber plates for flexo printing. All offset printing had to start with film which was cut and “stripped” to a “flat” that was then used to burn the image onto the printing plate.  The phrase “camera-ready art” was still widely in use. Today when you hear someone say that, to put it charitably it indicates they’ve been in the industry for a while.

While the pace of technology-driven change in printing is probably not as great as in many other fields, it has had the effect of accelerating the production process. Increased productivity has been a good thing; allowing us to produce more in less time and thus stay competitive and viable. However it’s also increased the customer expectations for quick turnaround on most jobs. Another indication of someone who’s been in the industry a long time is when they mention the fact that getting two or three weeks to deliver a print order used to be fairly commonplace.  Ah yes, the “good old days”!

With so much of the commercial landscape catering to the customer’s demand for instant gratification, there’s no way for printers and envelope manufacturers to escape. In order to survive, we must be able to pivot quickly and adapt to this reality. There’s something to be said for the notion that a quality product takes time to produce. That’s still true as far as it goes. It’s also true however that you’d better be able to make that quality product in as little time as possible in order to win the order.

The advent of digital technology has allowed printers to produce reasonably high quality process printing in a shorter time frame by eliminating the lengthy pre-press process. In the world of envelope printing, where the vast majority of the jobs are still printed either flexo or offset, this is not as easy. At Elite Envelope, we have analyzed each step of the manufacturing and printing processes in order to make them as efficient as possible. We also make full use of direct-to-plate set up which has saved us lots of time on the front end.

Ultimately, instead of grousing about it, we need to embrace this trend in our industry and take it as a challenge and impetus to work a little smarter and be more productive. In order for the printing and envelope industry to survive, there is no other way.   Don’t allow your company to become a “prisoner of the love of detail”. Virgil would approve!

By the way; sometimes rush deliveries can be a little too rushed as the picture below shows! Insuring your packages can't hurt I suppose.

rush delivery gone bad resized 600

Topics: elite envelope, printing and envelopes, envelope manufacturer, printed envelopes, Rush deliveries, rush envelope orders

Does my envelope need to be converted?

Posted by Jerry Velona on Feb 6, 2012 10:23:00 AM

Ok, so your customer or in-house client wants to do a mailing with a custom envelope: Good for them!

Studies show direct mail advertising to be a very effective way to get your message across. And a colorful and well-designed envelope can help the effectiveness of the message and create interest to open it and find out more.

Your client presents you with an envelope design and now it’s your job to decide how best to get it done.  One of the first decisions is how to print and make the envelope. Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to make the right call.

The three most important factors are the size of the envelope, the size and placement of the window and the amount of print coverage required.

If the envelope is not a standard size, it will most likely have to be custom-made.  If it has a window that is not standard (1-1/8” x 4 ½ ”, 7/8” from the left and ½” from the bottom), the same thing applies. Regardless of whether the envelope even has printing on it, these two factors will have to be taken into account. Obviously an off-the-shelf item in a standard size that can be jet-printed (typically the way envelope companies print envelopes – see other blog posts for more information) is going to be the least expensive way to go.  

However, the most important factor in determining whether an envelope must be converted or not is the amount of printing coverage. The term “converting” is really just another way to say “manufacturing”. However, they are generally not used interchangeably. “Converting” most commonly describes the process by which sheets are printed and then cut and folded to make envelopes.  It can also describe the cutting and folding of flat sheets of paper with no printing but for our purposes, we will stick with the most common use of the term.

Envelope Converting machine

Jet presses have their limitations and that mostly has to do with the amount of print coverage. If your design has either of the following printing characteristics, the envelope will most likely have to be printed on flat sheets and converted into envelopes after the fact:

  • Full coverage front and back

  • Heavy coverage and solids on either side of the envelopes including the flap that bleed to the edge

Anything less than that and it will be a judgment call. Some jet presses (like those at Elite Envelope) can print solids and bleeds to the edge with good results. Some of it has to do with the skill of the pressman (ours are the best!). If you’re unsure, the best way to proceed is to send a pdf of the copy to your envelope company and a trained eye will be able to give you the printing options.  It’s always best to deal directly with an actual envelope converter when you are trying to determine the best way to go. They would have the most expertise on both the printing and converting side.

Good luck and may you be happy and enthusiastic like all recent converts! Feel free to comment or pose a question and I'll be sure to get back to you.

Topics: direct mail, elite envelope, envelopes and printing, envelope manufacturing, jet printing, envelope manufacturer, envelope converting, envelope converting tips, envelope company

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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