When you’re in the market for printed envelopes, there are a number of things that are useful to know before making a decision. Printing on an envelope versus a simple flat sheet presents some unique challenges. Here are three things that experienced print buyers already know when they purchase printed envelopes:
- Choose the right style of printing – There are four ways to print an envelope.
- Offset on a pre-made envelope
- Offset on a flat sheet which is then converted into an envelope
- Flexo which is typically done in-line as the envelope is being converted
- Digitally either on a pre-made envelope or a flat sheet
The style of printing you choose revolves around three factors: the quantity you need, the quality of printing you require and the amount of print coverage you’re looking for. I’ve laid out the details on all this in a previous post which you can view here .
2. Know the limitations of the process – Printing customer service professionals must be adept at “managing expectations” i.e. educating customers on what is possible and reasonable with what they are trying to accomplish. When speaking about your order with your envelope printer, be sure to make clear what you want the piece to look like so that you can receive the best advice on what the likely outcome will be. For example: if you’re looking to print a large, solid block of dark ink on the face of an envelope, you need to be aware that the seams created where the paper folds in the back will likely cause light lines to appear in the solid block due to the pressure applied by the print rollers. These are called “seam marks” and are generally unavoidable if the envelope is being printed after it’s folded. The way to avoid this is to fold the envelope after it’s printed on a flat sheet. This is more expensive than printing on a pre-made envelope.
3. Design with the envelope in mind – When printing on a flat sheet, the only real limitations are presented by the type of stock or your budget. However, printing on envelopes is different and there are different things to consider. Some examples:
- If the envelope contains a window, you cannot print right up to where the poly cover starts or risk getting ink on the window. You can work around this by printing on a flat sheet and converting after the fact. Doing this allows the window to be cut out of the printed portion which allows for a clean line.
- If your envelope is being mailed, there are limitations and restrictions to where the print coverage can be. These are dictated by postal regulations. For instance, you have to be careful with any printing on the lower right-hand corner of a #10 envelope due to the presence of a bar code which facilitates mail processing.
When looking to print an envelope, it’s always best to deal with an experienced envelope vendor, particularly an envelope converter wherever possible in order to get the full range of options available.
We’re happy to answer any of your questions!