It is important for your letterhead, business card, and other stationery designs to be consistent in both vision and message.  Your stationery is the first impression your customers and clients will have of you. There are many pitfalls to avoid when making a letterhead design. If the basic rules of letterhead and business card designs aren’t followed, it can result in a design that doesn’t convey the right message or one that isn’t effective for its purpose.

Simply put, your letterhead design must adhere to the following “Do’s and Dont’s” when making it!

Do this to your company letterhead:

Keep it simple! Use a font that compliments the other contents on the page (i.e.: don’t mix fonts such as Comic Sans with Times New Roman or Don’t mix script with serif) Increase the size of letters if they appear too small, but only slightly as to not look out of place; always think readability! Keep your background plain and use good-quality paper for a professional letterhead design. Use borders around pictures to make them stand out. Lastly, use lines; they bring attention to specific areas on the letterhead and allow for more space. For example, if you are having a letter, picture, or logo in the center then placing two lines next to it creates an area that’s shaped

Don’t do this to your letterhead:

Do not mix fonts at all; it will make the stationary look unorganized and may also distract potential clients. Avoid using script (i.e.: handwriting) for any text, if necessary use a computer-generated font that has thick edges to avoid bleeding on your paper. Don’t put borders around your text as it may make the page appear crowded. If you must have a border use a very thin simple line, but only if necessary to bring attention to specific areas of the letterhead.

Do this to your business letterhead:

Use lines; they bring attention to specific areas on the letterhead and allow for more space. For example, if you are having a letter, picture, or logo in the center then placing two lines next to it creates an area that’s shaped like an upside-down trapezoid.

Don’t do this to your company letterhead design:

Do not darken your letters so much so that they become illegible. Remember what you are designing reflects upon yourself, keep everything professional, and use common sense when making your design. If you want people to take you seriously use good quality paper, make sure all typefaces are clear and easy to read, think readability! Lastly don’t put borders around your text as it may make the page appear crowded. Note: If you must have a border use a very thin simple line but only if necessary to bring attention to specific areas of the letterhead.

Do this to your custom letterhead:

Use a simple sans serif typeface (i.e.: Arial or Helvetica) with clean edges to type your letterhead, business card, and other stationery needs. This will provide the basic structure for your design, making it consistent throughout all your print media.

Don’t do this to your letterhead:

Use fancy, thin fonts that could easily be misread because you think it looks better; remember what you are designing reflects upon yourself so use good quality paper, make sure all typefaces are clear and easy to read. Note: If you wish to use a handwritten font use one with thick edges like:

Don’t do this to your letterhead:

Avoid placing pictures in the center of the stationary unless you are doing so for emphasis purposes, (i.e.: highlighting important information or making room for an important message within your design.) If you do place pictures in the center of your letterhead then do so sparingly, avoid using bright colors or photos that are distracting.

Lastly don’t put borders around your text as it may make the page appear crowded. Note: If you must have a border use a very thin simple line but only if necessary to bring attention to specific areas of the letterhead.

Do this to your letterhead:

Use a plain, light color for your backgrounds such as white, cream, or ivory. Make sure to use good quality paper and design accordingly so your letterhead doesn’t look unprofessional. Use a font that compliments the other contents on the page (i.e.: don’t mix fonts such as Comic Sans with Times New Roman or Don’t mix script with serif) Remember what you are designing reflects upon yourself, keep everything professional, and use common sense when making your design. If you want people to take you seriously use good quality paper, make sure all typefaces are clear and easy to read, think readability! Finally don’t put borders around your text as it may make the page appear crowded. Note: If you must have a border use a very thin simple line but only if necessary to bring attention to specific areas of the letterhead.

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Don’t do this to your letterhead:

Use all capitals for any text, only use them if they are absolutely necessary and be sure to expand the font size so all letters can fit on one line of text. Avoid thick borders along the edge of your paper unless you are doing it intentionally because you are highlighting important information within your design. Don’t place pictures in the center of stationary unless you are doing so for emphasis purposes

Conclusion

There you go, all the various do and don’ts when you are creating a letterhead. Follow these rules and you are on your way to creating an effective letterhead design. 

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