Business & Professional

 

Stationery Wardrobe Essentials

Some say the clothes make the man. We like to say the stationery makes the man. And woman, of course.

There are many types of stationery that you might wish to include in your corporate stationery wardrobe. These items range from the basics, such as your corporate letterhead and business cards, to the more personal, such as correspondence cards and jotter cards.

Many professionals start with the basics and add other items as their business grows or as their needs increase. Below are our suggestions for building the perfect professional stationery wardrobe.

Jump to Section

 

Corporate Letterhead

 

This 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet is the basic stationery used by most businesses. It is used not only to communicate, but also to project a corporate image. Information on the letterhead may include the firm’s name, address, phone number, fax number, Web site and social media URLs. It may also include an executive or partner’s name, title, e-mail address, cell phone number and social media information. Because there can be so much information on the letterhead, many companies are placing some of the information on a line running across the bottom of the page.

Most members of a firm use the universal letterhead displaying the corporate identity and the basic information, such as the address and phone number. Partners and senior executives, however, generally use the same letterhead with their name, title and, perhaps, other pertinent information added.

The company name and address appears in the top left corner of the front of the envelope or, less frequently, on the back flap.

Back to top

Monarch Sheets

 

Monarch sheets or executive stationery (7 1/4″ x 10 1/2″) are slightly smaller and, therefore, more personal than the standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets. Monarch sheets can be used as business letterhead or for personal business letters. They can be used as letterhead in businesses where a personal touch might be helpful, perhaps by designers, consultants or by executives of small businesses.

When used as letterhead, they display the same information found on a standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet. Since monarch sheets are smaller, you might want to include only essential information.

Personal business letters are letters sent on behalf of the business to an individual with whom you are on a first name basis. They display only the executive’s name at the top of the sheet. The company name and address appears on the back flap of the envelope.

Back to top

Correspondence Cards

Many business occasions and meetings call for a brief, personal note as a follow-up, or, perhaps, a congratulatory note needs to be sent. Correspondence cards are the perfect tool to meet these needs. They are flat, heavy cards (4 1/4″ x 6 1/4″) that are used to send brief notes. The notes are handwritten, letting the recipient know that you cared enough to take the time to write a personal note.

Your name is engraved at the top of your correspondence cards. Your company’s name and address appears on the back flap of the envelope.

Back to top

Business Cards

 

Business cards provide clients or potential clients with a means of contacting you. They should contain all pertinent information neatly and concisely and be as free from clutter as possible. Remember, they are a communication tool, not an advertisement.

Information can include the company name, your name and title, as well as the company’s address, phone number, fax number, Web site and social media URLs. While the standard size for a business card, 3 1/2″ x 2″ is still the most popular, many executives, in order to accommodate so much information, now opt for larger 3 3/8″ x 2 1/2″ cards or fold-over cards with company name printed on the front.

Most business cards are white or ecru and are printed in black or grey ink, but many cards are now being printed on grey or blue stock in various colors, such as red, green, blue and combinations of two colors to reflect a company’s identity.

Back to top

Social Business Cards

letterpress calling card  

Business cards are not generally exchanged during social occasions or in social situations. Instead, social business cards are exchanged. Social business cards are the same size as standard business cards (3 1/2″ x 2″). They are usually white or ecru cards that are printed in black or grey ink. The cards are imprinted with your name and your office phone number. Your e-mail address may also be included.

Back to top

“With Compliments” Cards

“With Compliments” Cards (3 1/2″ x 6 3/4″) are used to forward an item of interest. They fold so that they may be attached to a magazine or annual report leaving exposed the words, “With compliments” or “For your interest” with your name imprinted below.

Back to top

Jotter Cards

 

Jotter cards (3″ x 5″) fit inside leather carrying cases and travel with you to meetings and trade shows. They can also be kept readily available on your desk in an open-top holder. Jotter cards can double as business cards. Their extra space affords you the opportunity to jot down a reminder to your clients as to why they might want to get in touch with you on a specific matter.

Your name or name, address and phone number appear at the top of each card.

Back to top

Business Invitations

 

Business invitations may be created for any type of corporate function from a grand opening or relocation of offices to a reception honoring a retiree or a top salesperson. They may be formal or informal, depending on the purpose of the event and the impression you want to create. Many times, a corporate logo is placed at the top of the invitation.

While it is impossible to include every type of invitation that you might use, almost any situation can be handled by looking at the samples provided and substituting your information for the information in the samples.

For example, if your company, the XYZ Company, were hosting a dinner to honor the accomplishments of your senior editor, you might follow the format below, substituting your company’s name on the invitation line, dinner for reception on Event Line 1, “in honor of” on Event Line 2, and your senior editor’s name on Event Line 3.

By following this format, you can create copy for any type of invitation for any event. You can even start with this format and change the order in which the information is presented. The important thing is simply to make sure that all of the necessary information is included.

Sample #1

Invitation Line: Mr. Herbert Sanders
Request Line: requests the pleasure of your company
Event Line #1: at a reception
Event Line #2: to introduce the 2012 Holiday Line from
Event Line #3: Sharon Jay Togs
Date Line: Thursday, the fifth of April
Time Line: at seven o’clock
Location Line: The Red Lion Inn
Address Line: 30 Main Street
City and State Line: Stockbridge, Massachusetts 01262
Reply Request Line: Please reply

Sample #2:

Event Line #2: To introduce the 2012 Holiday Line from
Event Line #3: Sharon Jay Togs
Invitation Line: Mr. Herbert Sanders
Request Line: requests the pleasure of your company
Event Line #1: at a reception
Date Line: Thursday, the third of April
Time Line: at seven o’clock
Location Line: The Ritz-Carlton Central Park
Address Line: 50 Central Park South
City and State Line: New York, New York
Reply Request Line: Please reply

As you can see, all of the information is the same. It is just presented in a different sequence.

Back to top

Business Announcements

Business announcements are sent to inform clients of a change in the status of a company. Announcements may be sent for any number of reasons. The most popular reasons include a change of address, change of partners, introduction of a new officer or even the introduction of a new product.

Business announcements are generally conservative, unless the nature of your business allows for a flourish of creativity. As such, they are generally engraved in black ink on ecru or white card stock.

A rule of thumb: The name of a company is a singular entity that requires the use of a singular verb. For example:

Simpson, Healy Investments, Inc.
announces that its offices

or

Adamson and Shelton
is pleased to announce

Back to top

Info to Include on Your Professional Stationery

In the not too distant past, it was fairly easy to decide what information to include on business and professional stationery. You included your company’s name, address, phone number and, perhaps, your name and title. In addition to that information, it now may be necessary to add your e-mail address, Web site, cell phone number and social media handles (i.e. @craneandco).

Back to top

Ink Color of Your Professional Stationery

While most businesses choose conservative colors, such as black and grey, more and more businesses are using livelier colors like blue, red, green, gold, bronze, silver and combinations of two or more of these colors. The correct colors for your business are the ones that best reflect your company and the type of business that you are in.

Back to top

Printing Process of Your Professional Stationery

Business and professional stationery can be engraved, thermographed, letterpressed or flat-printed.

gold engraved calligraphy calling card 

Engraving is one of the oldest and most beautiful processes for reproducing images on paper. The appeal of engraving lies in the exquisite detail created by its three-dimensional impression.

Engraving is produced when the copy is etched in reverse into a copper plate. Ink is deposited in the resulting cavity. The engraving press then forces the paper into the cavity, creating a raised impression. The paper is literally raised with the ink adhering to the raised surface. The fact that the paper is raised is what distinguishes engraving from thermography and flat-printing.

It is easy to tell whether or not a piece of stationery is engraved. Simply turn it over. If there is an indentation (caused by the pressure from the engraving press), it is engraved. You can also tell by looking closely at the impression on the front. The paper will be smoother there, and there may be a little ripple to the sheet. This is called the “bruise” and is a natural part of the process.

Engraved stationery is more expensive than thermographed or printed stationery. However, much of the price difference lies in the initial cost of the engraving plate. Since engraving plates can be used over and over again, and since business stationery is often run in large quantities, the cost of engraved stationery is not necessarily much more expensive than thermographed or flat-printed stationery.

personalized monogram notes 

Thermography is sometimes called “raised printing,” although the printing is not raised at all. Unlike engraving where the paper is actually raised, the raise in thermography is created by a resinous powder that is melted over the flat-printed ink.

Thermography is less expensive than engraving but, while quite handsome, is not quite as appealing. Since it is less expensive, it might be chosen when smaller quantities are ordered, especially now that laser-friendly inks are available.

 

Photo courtesy of Blush Publishing.

Letterpress is also an option. It’s a more casual style and has seen a recent resurgence, with independent letterpress printers popping up all over the world. Developed in the 14th century, letterpress printing involves setting type and motifs in reverse on a letterpress plate. The plate is then inked and pressed onto the surface of a paper. You can tell if an invitation has undergone this printing process by running your fingers across the paper and feeling for depressions where the letters have been — you got it — pressed.

Flat-printing, as its name implies, is simply ink applied to a flat surface with no raise.

Back to top

More questions about etiquette, style or design? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.