Business Letterhead Design – The Right First Impression

Business letterheads can be a tricky art to nail for the simple reason that no matter what it is you plan to mail out, this will be the very first thing the recipient sees. As such, what you’re technically trying to come up with is something that gives the very best first impression of your brand and your business possible in the form of something that needs to have an immediate impact and convey the right message in a split second or two. Not exactly an easy balancing act to pull off to say the least, but the real beauty about a good business letterhead is that the moment you hit the nail on the head, you’ll seldom have to give it another thought.

According to the experts at, there are certain rules to follow across the board no matter what line of business you’re in. What you do and who you are will of course guide much of the design process, but at the same time there are certain rules which if followed make it very difficult to go wrong.

Here’s a quick overview of just a few of the key rules to keep in mind along the way:

1 – A Brief Introduction

First and foremost, never fall into the trap of thinking that the letterhead is the most important thing in the world as technically all you’re looking to do is create a banner that introduces the main content of the communication. When and where a letterhead ends up taking over from the main content of the communication itself, you’re left with a rather unfortunate imbalance that leads to the whole thing being diluted. So, when it comes to designing your own letterhead, think of it more as something used to ‘frame’ the content of the message, rather than overshadow it entirely.

2 – Simplicity Sells

It’s always tempting to gun for something as high-impact as possible, but more often than not the most effective letterheads of all are those that are simple and to the point. What you’re gunning for is something of a calling card that will over time become synonymous with your brand and instantly recognisable. As such, the letterhead itself doesn’t need to be approached like a marketing tool in the conventional sense as it’s not something that’s going to be used to sell you brand, but rather introduce the message you’re sending to the recipient. On the whole, simplicity sells.

3 – Care with Colours

There’s definitely nothing wrong with using a splash of colour to brighten up your letterhead, but at the same time there is indeed such a thing as too much colour. The reason being that when looking to script a letter or message where the content is of any kind of importance, the more colours and flashy details you add to the letterhead, the more diluted the content as a whole will appear. You may have a brightly colouredlogo which should of course be used within the letterhead, but at the same time it’s important not to make it too colourful to be taken seriously.

4 – Key Details

Letterheads play a role in making communications look attractive, but are at the same time primarily for communicating a series of important details. Not only do you need to make sure the letterhead displays your brand’s logo or name, but also gives other important information like who the message is from and how to get in touch if necessary. You should make things like contact details and the name of the person writing the message as clear as possible in order to make the letterhead as functional as it is attractive.

5 – Readable

One of the biggest mistakes made by newcomers to the art of letterhead designs is getting wholly carried away with weird and wonderful fonts just for the sake of looking fancy. The problem here is that while the most elaborate fonts currently in existence may look the part, the harder you make the details of your letterhead to read the less likely it is to be read or taken seriously. Instead, you simply run the risk of coming across as pretentious – again, simplicity sells.

6 – Seek Input

Last but not least, it’s always a good idea to seek the input of an unaffiliated third party to cast an objective and professional eye over things and offer a few tips here and there. Whether looking for initial inspiration or just the final green-light before printing, a little help goes a long way.

Categorized as Marketing

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