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Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

 Envelope Converting Defined – part 2

Posted by Jerry Velona on Mar 14, 2018 4:02:50 PM

In my previous post, we took the converting process from the point where the printer prepares the sheets and ships them to the envelope converter. Once the sheets are received, the envelope converting process for custom envelopes actually begins.

The first step is die-cutting the envelope blanks out of the sheet.  The envelope company will use a steel die – resembling a cookie cutter (see picture below). This is also sometimes referred to as a “high die” as the sides are generally around 4 inches high to account for the size of the ream being cut.

Depending on the quantity of the envelopes to be converted, the die-cutting will be either done by hand as the picture shows or in an automated fashion using a programmable hydraulic press (PHP).  The hands-on method allows for a little more accuracy and individual adjustments on cuts which can be improve the results on certain jobs. Once the envelope blanks are cut out of the sheets, they are stacked and ready to be fed into the folding machine.


Some tips to ensure a problem-free converting experience:

Always ensure that the sheets are printed exactly per 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 on the sheet for best results. Going by the layout and submitting a proof sheet for prior approval can prevent many of the most common errors.

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.

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.

If you’re looking to make a custom envelope that really stands out, consider dealing directly with an envelope converter rather than an envelope printer who doesn’t also make envelopes.  They will give you the expertise you need to ensure your job is a “cut” above. 


Topics: envelope converting, envelope converting mistakes, custom envelopes, top quality envelopes, envelope converter

Keeping it Simple with Envelopes - Part One

Posted by Jerry Velona on Oct 24, 2011 12:05:00 PM

A friend who makes his living as a carpenter once told me that he likes his job because there’s a beginning and an end to it each day.  I think many of us who work in the white collar world can appreciate that with not a little bit of envy perhaps.

I look at envelopes and printing in the same way. At Elite Envelope, once we get an order for a custom envelope we process the order, get the artwork proofed and approved, put it in the schedule, cut the paper and manufacture the envelopes, print them and ship them (on time, of course!).  While the job cycles can carry over from day to day, there is a definite beginning, middle and end to the process.  An order of top-quality envelopes shipped to the customer on the date requested gives me a good feeling even after more than 20 years in the industry and thousands of such orders under my belt.  

Part of why the job still provides satisfaction after all these years is the fact that I have always been part of a small company.  Now I have nothing against big businesses; they serve a need in the economy and can provide tremendous value to many.  But something often happens to companies when they get really big. They tend to get bureaucratic and arrogant. In other words, they get more like the government.

corporate shill photo

One of the ways this is manifested and one of my personal pet peeves is the phony PR that emanates from the “corporate communications department”.  For some reason, large corporations feel that simple, declarative sentences using regular English run counter to their best interests. Public statements, especially those that contain bad news, are more likely to obfuscate than enlighten.   They also usually contain much of the worst jargon and clichés du jour.  Somehow this is supposed to sound very official and important; however, the purpose is obviously to spin the message to make the company look as good as possible under the circumstances hoping that those reading or listening will move on quickly.

One of the largest envelope companies in America which has recently gone through a bankruptcy filing and subsequent sale just came out with a statement announcing that it was reorganizing further and as a result, laying-off staff.  The official statement from the CEO is a classic example of corporate-speak.

 It seems wrong somehow for a company that provides a simple product like an envelope to engage in all this as opposed to some huge financial company or utility.   Those of us who speak directly to our staff and many of our customers on a daily basis are used to just speaking the plain truth.  It actually works a lot better that way. However, as a public service, in my next blog post I will attempt to translate the aforementioned press release for anyone who might be interested. Stay tuned!

Topics: elite envelope, elite envelope, printing and envelopes, envelope printing, envelope manufacturer, top quality 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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