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Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

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!


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

Envelope Terms – What’s a Vertical Window?

Posted by Jerry Velona on May 14, 2012 12:19:00 PM

Like many products, envelopes have a list of special terms to describe various parts and aspects of the manufacturing process.  In previous posts, I’ve explained the difference between open-end and open -side envelopes (the former has the flap on the shorter dimension, the latter on the longer dimension) and other descriptive terms which can cause some head-scratching.

One of the concepts that many buyers find confusing is how to properly measure a window in general and a vertical window in particular.

In order to provide window specs in a way that your envelope vendor will understand, the first thing to keep in mind is the proper orientation of the envelope to be measured.  Much of the confusion in establishing proper specifications for quoting have to do with the fact that certain descriptions like, “the flap is on the side” are relative. It depends on how you’re holding and looking at the envelope. 

So, the first step in measuring a window is to hold the envelope so that the flap is facing toward the sky. When measuring the length and width of the window itself, always state the “north/south” dimension first.  So, for instance on a standard #10 window envelope, the window specs measure and should be described, “1-1/8” x 4-1/2”.

This gets a little tricky when you’re dealing with what we call a “vertical window”. A vertical window is where the longer dimension runs in that “north/south” direction. Remember, you have to be looking at the envelope with the flap pointing north or straight up.  The best example of this is a standard 9 x 12 window envelope. This is a common, stock item for most envelope companies. These envelopes are booklet-style or open-side (different ways to describe the same thing).  The size of the window is 1-3/4” x 4-1/2”.  However when you hold the envelope with flap up top, you’ll notice that the longer dimension of the window actually runs in a vertical direction from the bottom toward the top; hence, it’s name.

So, when you are providing specs for a quote, you would state the window specs with the longer, vertical dimension first; i.e.  “4-1/2” x 1-3/4”.

The second step in specifying a window for quote is to provide the position on the envelope. That is done by measuring in from the left side of the envelope to where the window begins. Then, you do the same thing from the bottom of the envelope to where the window begins.  Once again, this needs to be done by holding the envelope with the flap pointing up toward the sky.  On the standard 9 x 12 window envelope, the window is positioned  2-1/2” from the left side and 7/8” from the bottom.

When this envelope is actually used, the 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper that contains the mailing address that shows through the window will be oriented in a portrait manner rather than landscape.  That means that when you read the address, the flap will actually be on your right.  However, the manner of measuring and stating the window size and position should be consistent so that everyone is speaking the language at the quoting stage. That makes it easier and prevents possible problems when the envelope is produced.

Topics: elite envelope, measuring window envelopes, Booklet Envelopes, Open Side, Open End, Envelope terms, 9 x 12 window envelopes, vertical window envelopes

Envelope Terms – Where Do They Come From?

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jun 23, 2011 12:45:00 PM

We all go through life using phrases and terms passed down through the years without much thought.  I grew up using the term “gypped” to mean cheated or defrauded without ever realizing that it referred to Romani gypsies who engaged in such practices.  It’s now considered un-PC to use and while in general I’m not a big fan of the PC language police, I agree with this one as it clearly stigmatizes a large group of people on the basis of the actions of a few.

Which brings me to the #10 envelope (how do you like that segue way?).   How many times have those of us in the printing and envelope industries used that term without ever giving a thought to where it came from?  The #10 envelope is just one of the interesting descriptions of various sizes of envelopes that seem to have little relation to the actual size of the piece.

I asked Barbara Monson at the Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA), whether she could provide any information about the origin of these terms.  Barbara very helpfully sent me some pages from a book entitled The History of Envelopes by Robert H.Ramage published by the EMA in 1952.

Samuel Raynor started Samuel Raynor & Co in the Bowery section of New York in the mid-1800’s which eventually became one of the largest envelope manufacturers in the country. Apparently either Mr. Raynor or one of his employees first came up with the idea of numbering envelope sizes. This was issued as the Stationers’ Handbook in 1876. Excerpts from the handbook show where many of the terms we use today came from:

              “Envelopes are made in all sizes, but there are certain sizes which are termed regular. These regular sizes, however, vary according to the manufacturer, each manufacturer making envelopes to suit his taste, without regard to any rule”.

             Elite Envelope & Graphics Randolph MA“Envelopes embrace nearly one thousand different kinds,…from the smallest Note size to the largest Official, with Drug, Pay, Glove, Wedding and Mourning Envelope patterns;”

 According to the History of Envelopes, early use of envelopes was confined mostly to personal letters and bill paying. It was only after the advent of machine made envelopes that the cost came down to the point where businesses could use them as part of mailings to boost their sales.  So in the pre-direct mail era, a “commercial” envelope was smaller than 3 5/8 x 6 ½ and anything larger than that was designated an “official” envelope. The History continues, “In the broader sense we sometimes speak of commercial envelopes as opposed to personal correspondence or social stationery envelopes, in this instance using commercial to cover both “commercial” and “official” sizes.

Today, Elite Envelope along with most other envelope companies use the phrase “commercial sizes” to mean anything from a 6 ¼ regular up to a #14.

My next post will continue on this theme. Please let me know if you have any other information on this topic.  Your comments are always most appreciated.

Topics: elite envelope, Envelope terms, envelope manufacturing, Envelope sizes, Envelope Manufacturer's Association, #10 envelope, commercial envelopes, official envelopes

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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