Business & Professional


Stationery Wardrobe Essentials

​Correspondence on one’s business stationery is not only a reflection of the individual sender but also of the company he or she represents. From the basics, such as corporate letterhead and business cards to the more personal, such as correspondence cards and jotter cards, a professional stationery wardrobe should always represent the integrity and identity of the brand.

Like a finely tailored suit, your business stationery should evoke a memorable impression without having to say a word.​

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.

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Order the letterhead pictured above.

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 handles. 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 place 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.

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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.

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Order the correspondence card pictured above.

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 something personal.

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.

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Order the business card pictured above.

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 may include the company name, your name and title, as well as the company’s address, phone 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 the 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.

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Order the calling card pictured above.

Calling Cards​

Business cards are not generally exchanged during social occasions. Instead, calling cards are exchanged. Calling cards are small, personalized cards used to network during social occasions and contain personal details including name, phone number, email address, mailing address and social media handles. Remember that these are social cards, not business cards, so refrain from including business-related information.

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Order the jotter card pictured above.

Jotter Cards​

Jotter Cards (3″ x 5″) fit inside 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.

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Order the invitation pictured above.

Business Invitations​  

Business invitations may be created for any type of corporate function, from a grand opening to a reception honoring a retiree or 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 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, was 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. Liam Sanders
Request Line: requests the pleasure of your company
Event Line #1: at a reception
Event Line #2: to introduce the 2016 Holiday Line from
Event Line #3: Peplum and Tweed
Date Line: Thursday, the fifth of April
Time Line: at seven o’clock
Location Line: The Bowery Hotel
Address Line: 335 Bowery
City and State Line: New York City
Reply Request Line: Please reply

Sample #2:

Event Line #2: To introduce the 2016 Holiday Line from
Event Line #3: Peplum and Tweed
Invitation Line: Mr. Liam Sanders
Request Line: requests the pleasure of your company
Event Line #1: at a reception
Date Line: Thursday, the fifth of April
Time Line: at seven o’clock
Location Line: The Bowery Hotel
Address Line: 335 Bowery
City and State Line: New York City
Reply Request Line: Please reply

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

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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:

Fedora & Sons
announces that its offices


Manor & Vine Realty, Inc.
is pleased to announce

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Information to Include on Your Professional Stationery

Traditionally, your professional stationery should include your company’s name and primary contact method, be it mailing address, e-mail address, phone number(s) or Web site—or a combination of two or three. Depending on its purpose, professional stationery may also include name and title. In addition to that information, it may be appropriate to include a social media handle (i.e. @craneandco). For example, a photographer or fashion designer may want to include his/her Instagram handle.

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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.

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Printing Process of Your Professional Stationery

Business and professional stationery can be engraved, thermographed or letterpress printed.

Order the pictured business card above.


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.

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 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 stationery.

Order the pictured calling card above.


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.


Letterpress is a more casual style and has seen a recent resurgence, with independent letterpress printers popping up all over the world. Developed in the 15th 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.

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More questions about etiquette, style or design? Email our Crane Concierge at​​​​​