Envelopes - 1 and 2 Colors Pantone FAQ

Sections in this article

What is Pantone Printing?

Pantone is a propriety ink system that is the standard for colour matching and brand colours. Each ink is given a number and has a specific recipe so it can be mixed from standard ingredient inks. There are two main categories or colour books (named like that because the swatches are literally organized in books like paint chips), Coated and Uncoated. These are based on the paper that will be used, so colours for envelope printing should be picked from the Uncoated swatch book.

Pantone has a partnership with most common design software companies like Adobe so that the different colour books can be loaded from inside programs like Illustrator or InDesign and the desired colour chosen. This allows a designer to actually include the ink information in the file, making it very easy for the printer to know which ink to use.

What are the benefits of Pantone Envelopes?

Pantone Envelopes allow you to match the colour across all of your stationery products like letterhead, different sizes of envelopes, invoice forms, notepads, etc. The standard recipe makes it much easier to repeat the same colour for items ordered at different times or reprints in the future.

The other major advantage of Pantone printing is that the recipe can be scaled up or down as needed. Therefore, it is recommended that all Pantone items be ordered together so that one large batch of ink can be mixed and used for everything, guaranteeing that all items will have the exact same colour, because they will be printed with the exact same ink.

Can my artwork have a bleed?

Artwork with bleed is not possible with Pantone printing because the envelopes are pre-manufactured and arrive from the paper supplier already folded and glued. The exact size of each envelope can vary by up to 1/16” or .0625”, so if there are envelopes that are slightly larger, a white line could show at the edges. For this reason, any artwork that is supplied with bleed will have the bleed removed and a white margin added.

What are the margins required for Pantone Envelopes?

A minimum of .25” or 1/4” should be allowed on at least one edge (ideally the top edge where the flap is), as this is the margin that is required for the press to actually grip the envelope. The other edges should have a minimum of 1/8” or .125”, so that any slight variations in the size of the envelopes or position of the printing will not be noticeable.

Can I have printing on the flap?

Yes, content can be printed on the flap of the envelope, however, one of the double-sided printing options should be chosen. Commonly, the address or a slogan is printed on the flap, though a logo or simple design can also be used. The only constraints are the number of inks that can be used and the fact that the design can not have bleed. The standard margin guidelines should be taken into account for the flap as well as the rest of the design.

If there is content on the flap, it should be supplied as a second page in the PDF, not added to the top of the front artwork. This is because each side of the envelope is printed separately, as the envelopes are already manufactured.

Which size of envelope will fit a normal letter-sized document?

For a letter-sized document that will be folded into three panels (Letter or Tri-Fold), a #10 envelope should be chosen. This envelope is 4.125” x 9.5”, and can fit several folded sheets comfortably, as well as smaller return envelopes (a #9 or #8).

For flat letter-sized documents that will not be folded, a 9” x12” size should be picked. Again, this size allows for multi-page documents to fit comfortably. If the documents will be inserted into a 9” x 12” Presentation Folder, then a 10” x 13” envelope will accommodate the folder as well as the documents inside.

What does Artlined mean?

Artline is a special finish where a random pattern is printed on the inside of the envelope so that the contents can’t be read through the envelope. It is also called security printing or security tint and is common when the envelopes will contain confidential documents or cheques (often these are referred to as “cheque envelopes” for this reason).

What is Peel and Seal?

Peel and Seal envelopes come with double-sided tape and liner instead of the remoistable glue on regular envelopes. Therefore, instead of licking or moistening the glue with a damp sponge or brush, the liner is simply peeled off and the envelope can be sealed. This is ideal for applications where there are hygiene concerns, but also simply for convenience and speed in sealing.

What’s the size of a #10 Envelope?

A #10 envelope is 9.5” wide X 4.125” tall. Or 12.13cm X 10.47cm. It’s the most common American size envelope you will see circulating in the mail. Most bills, statements, letters are sent out in a #10 envelope.

How should I set up the file if I can’t find a downloadable template?

In case you can’t find a downloadable template, you need to create a new document with the trim size set to the exact size of the envelope (no bleed). For example, if you want to print a 9.5” x 6.5” envelope, your document needs to be exactly 9.5” x 6.5”. The inside margins should be at least 0.5”, which means your design elements should be at least  0.5” away from the edge of the document.

How to set up and order vertical envelopes?

Having a vertical envelope would be possible for envelope sizes that have an “open end” option. You would take a standard horizontal artboard, but your design would be rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise. You would export a PDF with a horizontal layout and attach that PDF to your online order. 

This way when you turn the envelope to the vertical position your design will go from top to bottom.