Letterhead designed in-house can save you dollars, but are you doing your business damage by using badly designed or formatted files? Here’s a few tips on how to produce a professional letterhead design.

The basics

  • Use a font (typeface) that suits your logo. Is it a ‘serif’ font like Times New Roman, or is it a ‘san serif’ font, like Arial.
  • The font you use will indicate to your clients how professional your business is, so use a font that is ‘clean and corporate’. Never use a font like ‘Comic Sans’ or a ‘Script’ font for your signature.

Make it easy to read

  • Separate your contact details from the text of the letter. A different size or weight of text makes a big difference. Make your contact details smaller than the main text of the letter you are writing or choose a different colour.
  • Don’t have the text too large or too small. The text size will largely depend on the type of font you are using. It needs to be readable, so print it out to see the visual size – don’t rely on how it looks on screen.
  • Keep in mind that if the letter recipient receives your letter digitally they will usually print it using their printer’s default settings. This will mean that some people print ‘fit to page’ and some will print at ‘100%’. Test print for size using both settings and use something comfortably in the middle.
  • Simple fonts are best so avoid fussy or hard to read fonts.
  • Be careful of the text colours you use – black on white is ideal for readability. A dark grey or one of the colours in your logo is good for the contact details.

Make it visually pleasing

  • Leave plenty of space around the outside of the page. Anything under 2cm can make your letterhead look cheap and nasty.
  • Don’t overdo the number of colours. Keep it simple and when you do use colour, choose colours that complement each other.
  • The font size and weight is important for a ‘corporate’ look. Too large or heavy makes you look like a ‘clunky’ company. The same goes for the size of your logo.
  • Remember, less is more. Don’t add things just to fill space.

A final word

The points we have mentioned in this article are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to professional letterhead design, but, if you do this then you will reduce the kinds of basic mistakes that can harm your business image.

You don’t need to use a graphic designer to have your letterhead designed if you are proficient in using your software and have an eye for design. Naturally, if you want a letterhead that is more than the standard see your graphic designer and ask for something ‘really different’ and let them do the hard work of making it unique, professional and user friendly.