Official company letterhead is what businesses use for official correspondence with customers/clients, suppliers, media outlets, attorneys, and many others. A business’ letterhead typically serves as the company’s stationery and reflects the company’s branding including colour scheme, logo, and typography.
In many cases, letterhead is a formal way to make the first impression upon someone you would like to do business with. That’s why it’s important not to settle with a dull design. You want the letter’s recipient to immediately get a sense for who your company is and what kind of business you run.
What Goes into Your Company Letterhead?
Your business’ letterhead should include your business name, logo, and your contact details. If it makes sense, you might have different contact details depending on which departments or individuals from your business frequently send out letters.
You’ll be able to customise your letterhead on most websites that provide templates, but you should always include your logo to reflect professionalism. Your company contact information should include your company’s registered address, the postal address if different from your location, and telephone number. You can also include your company’s website and your email address.
A professional and clean letterhead is vital for any size of businesses. Keep this in mind as you design your business letterhead. Below we’ve laid out some tips for creating your new letterhead.
How to Create Business Letterhead
There are several ways to go about creating a company letterhead. You can keep the process in-house if you have graphic designers.
Otherwise, you can use a professional branding service, or take matters into your own hands and design one online.
Selecting Your Creation Platform
The platform you choose to create your letterhead will depend on your computer skills or on if you have a graphic designer in-house.
For extremely simple letterhead, you can use programs like Word or Pages. These programs don’t require any specific skills. However, they are not flexible, and you’ll find they’re limited in graphic and typographic capabilities.
For design-savvy individuals or those with access to a graphic designer, Adobe InDesign and Illustrator are great options. They allow for more design flexibility and are designed specifically for graphic tasks like letterhead.
Finally, you can also use a letterhead designer through websites that sell printing services for letterhead, business cards, and other promotional materials.
Design Process: Branding
Before you dive head-first into designing your business letterhead, consider the elements that will be most important to convey your brand. Your letterhead is an extension of your branding which should be congruous across all channels. Your logo should be a given on your letterhead, but which other elements should you include?
Some companies like to include their tagline with their logo. Others like to add one or two branded colours onto their letterhead. You can even include elements that aren’t part of your official branding but help convey what your company does. For example, a barbershop or hair supply company could consist of a comb as part of their branding on letterhead.
Design Process: Hierarchy
When you design the layout of your letterhead, you should also consider 1) what information you need to include, and 2) which piece of information is more important than the others. Your design should deliberately communicate critical information in the order of importance you see fit.
Most companies include their logo/company name and contact information (address, phone number, email). However, to some companies, making sure the contact information takes precedence over the company name is more important. In this example, all the company’s information is included at the bottom of the page in a pseudo-call-to-action to get the recipient to respond.
In short, you should place essential information naturally on the letterhead, whether that’s the company name, the sender’s name, or company contact information. The rest of the information can be tucked away unobtrusively in another area of the letterhead.
Design Process: Fine-Tuned Elements
There’s honestly no limit to what you can include in your company letterhead. However, you must analyse each element to ensure it makes sense for your business’ branding.
Borders. Borders can be a clean or fun element to add to your letterhead. They help draw attention to the text. A solid border at the top and bottom of the letterhead or all around the letterhead can help the writing feel contained and neatly packaged. On the other hand, a colourful border can help you better match your branding if you have a colourful logo.
Solid Colour on Reverse. Printing a full page of solid colour on the reverse of your letterhead is a great way to add an element of surprise to your correspondence. The full page of colour can also lend itself to other graphic tactics like including a high-contrast message or tagline.
Side Column. A side column helps focus your reader on the text. It can also create a new alignment for your company’s information. Using high-contrasting colours, you can make your company’s information stick out on a solid side column. Side columns can also just be a logo and information on the side of the page with the letter text alignment starting a bit farther to the right.
Examples of Creative Company Letterheads
This ultra-simple letterhead is a must-have for minimalists. It’s so minimalist that the letterhead only includes the company name at the top and website at the bottom. This was likely done to provide flexibility for employees sending out letters. Rather than customising letterhead for every individual that is sending out correspondence for the company, Atelier chose to use a bare-bones template for employees to fill in later.
For companies that are in the business of being creative or fun, a playful letterhead like this might be right for you. We love how the illustrations at the bottom creep up the page. We also like how the contact information looks like it’s written on a sign and leaning against the trees. Beyond the letterhead itself, the designer also included illustrations inside the envelope that reach out and wrap around the envelope. It’s a dynamic and surprising twist to letterhead.
3. Supporting Graphics
You don’t always need obvious graphics to help with your brand message. Hunt&Co created this letterhead which is meant to represent a wine label. They cleverly added a wine blot as part of their design, adding a subtle and relatable element to the business letterhead.
4. Side Column
This side column letterhead took a new approach to side column design by delineating the column through text alignment rather than a solid, coloured graphic. The designer incorporated the company logo, name, contact information, and coloured branded elements in a clean yet simple way.
5. Solid Colour on Reverse
Bright colours don’t make sense for every company, but they sure make sense for this music production company called Pee-Pah. On their letterhead, the designer utilised the backside by creating a solid-coloured canvas upon which he added PAH in a colour that contrasted well with the background. On the front of the letterhead, you catch a glimpse of the graffiti-style writing he will treat you to on the back page.
6. Text Wall on Reverse
Creating a wall of text on the reverse side of letterhead is another excellent way to utilise space that otherwise is ignored. This example is from an identity project for the Bronx Zoo in which the designer used sounds to create a word wall on the back of her letterhead. The same could be done with keywords that relate to your business or industry. It’s a refreshing take on the reverse side of letterhead.
Letterhead borders can be as bold or minimalist as you like. They help direct your reader’s attention to the text. The above example shows a simple and colourful way to use borders. The designer also made key text match the border colour.
8. Misaligned Header
The tilted nature of this letterhead is what makes it truly interesting. Absurd Machine’s letterhead will be sure to garner a second look. Both the header and bottom border (not pictured) are at a slight angle, making the template a bit more dynamic. There’s also the added graphics to the header which use different circular objects to complete the pattern.
If you prefer a letterhead with fewer graphics, try focusing on typography like Ted Perez in his typography letterhead. He seamlessly and expertly combined different font styles to convey tons of information about his company in just a few lines. He hardly needs graphics because the typography block forms a graphic all its own.
Get Started on Your Business Letterhead Today!
We hope you’re inspired to create a beautiful letterhead template after seeing all these examples. Harnessing this inspiration and your creative spirit, you’ll be able to design a letterhead that reflects you and your business.
For the most part, letterhead design principles follow standard graphic design principles. You don’t want something that’s so busy you get distracted from the purpose of the letterhead – the written note!
To get started on creating your letterhead today, check out our letterhead page and designer.