Skip to Content

Can you print designs on envelopes?

Envelopes are a key part of sending mail and packages. While plain white envelopes are common, adding custom designs and graphics can make your envelopes stand out. Printed envelopes allow you to showcase your brand, advertise services, and make a great first impression.

In this article, we’ll look at the different options for printing on envelopes. We’ll cover the types of envelopes you can print on, the printing techniques available, and how to design custom graphics for envelopes. We’ll also provide tips for getting the best results when having envelopes printed.

Types of envelopes you can print on

Most envelopes are printable as long as they are made from paper. The most common types are:

Plain white envelopes

Plain envelopes without any coatings provide the ideal surface for accepting ink and toner. Common sizes like #10 or DL envelopes work well for printing.

Kraft envelopes

Kraft envelopes have an uncoated, textured surface that prints nicely. The earthy, craft paper look pairs well with custom designs.

Colored envelopes

Envelopes are available in myriad colors and can be printed in black & white or color. Pastel shades work best for displaying designs.

Window envelopes

Window envelopes have a plastic panel that reveals the delivery address. Surrounding areas can be customized with prints.

Catalog envelopes

Catalog envelopes have an elongated booklet style. The extra surface area provides more room for customized graphics.

Security tint envelopes

These have a solid color tint that obscures contents. Custom designs can be applied over the tint.

Printing techniques for envelopes

There are several ways to apply a printed design onto envelopes:

Digital printing

Many online printing services use top-of-the-line digital presses. These print designs directly onto envelopes using toner or inkjet technology to reproduce high-resolution graphics and photos. Short run envelope printing is ideal with digital.

Offset printing

Offset lithography can print full color designs onto envelopes. The offset process involves transferring inked images from a plate to a rubber blanket and then onto the paper. Offset printing works well for large quantities.

Flexographic printing

Flexographic printing uses raised plates and fast-drying inks. Most postage stamps are printed this way. It allows for vibrant colors at high speeds.

Letterpress printing

A classic technique, letterpress printing stamps inked metal type onto envelopes to create an embossed texture. It excels at typographic designs.

Screen printing

With screen printing, ink is forced through a fine mesh screen onto envelopes. It’s great for bold graphics and high opacity colors like white.

Foil stamping/embossing

Foil stamping presses metallic foil onto envelopes to create glossy, reflective designs. Embossing raises the surface to produce 3D texture.

How to design custom envelopes

Once you’ve decided on printing technique, it’s time for the fun part – designing! Here are some tips for eye-catching printed envelopes:

Highlight your logo

Feature your company logo prominently on the envelope. Place it on the front in a large size or repeat it as a pattern.

Use your brand colors

Incorporate your brand’s official colors into the design. Bolder hues tend to stand out best on envelopes.

Add decorative elements

Elements like lines, shapes, borders, ribbons and more can liven up envelopes. Gold foil embellishments also look chic.

Print all-over patterns

Custom prints like florals, paisleys and geometric shapes displayed across the entire envelope make a visual impact.

Incorporate photos

Product photos, lifestyle imagery and pictures of your team give a personal touch. Just be sure resolution is high.

Feature seasonal themes

Envelopes with seasonal motifs like holidays, time of year or themes like “save the date” grab attention.

Use envelope windows creatively

If you have window envelopes, extend your design around the edges of the window for a cohesive look.

Keep important elements clear

Make sure key components like addresses, stamps and barcodes aren’t obscured by your graphics.

Preparing files for printing

To turn your design into a printable reality, you’ll need high quality files:

Work in CMYK color mode

Most envelope printing uses CMYK process colors. Design in RGB mode can cause unexpected color shifts.

Use 300dpi resolution for images

Resolution lower than 300dpi produces pixelated images. Boost low resolution photos in image editing software.

Save/export files as PDFs

PDFs keep layers intact and prevent data loss. Most online printers accept PDF, JPEG, PNG file types.

Outline fonts

If using special fonts, convert text to outlines/paths to prevent font issues.

Allow 0.125 inch bleed

bleed extends artwork past the trim lines to avoid white edges after cutting.

Include crop marks

Crop marks serve as guides for the printer to show where cuts should be made.

Tips for the best printed envelope results

Follow these tips to ensure your envelopes come out looking their best:

Proof carefully

Once you send files for printing, double check for any errors. It’s easy to overlook small mistakes.

Print color test samples

To get color accuracy, ask your printer for hard copy proofs before the full print run.

Check envelope construction

Glued flap or peel-and-seal? Be sure the printing method suits the envelope style.

Use recommended paper types

Your printer can suggest ideal envelope paper stocks for the printing process.

Consider envelope windows

Address windows streamline mailing. Coordinate your design with window placement.

Get recommendations on finishes

Glossy or matte? Satin, UV and other finishes protect designs.

Store envelopes properly

Keep envelopes flat, cool and dry to prevent damage before usage.


Custom printed envelopes are a simple way to spruce up your mailings and make your business look professional. From offset printing to digital, there are many options for applying creative designs. With some graphic design know-how and preparation, you can print stunning envelopes that showcase your brand and stand out. Just remember to leave room for addresses, postage and other mail components to shine through. With a thoughtful design and high quality printing, your envelopes are sure to impress.

Envelope Type Ideal Printing Method
Plain white envelopes Digital printing, screen printing
Kraft envelopes Offset printing, letterpress
Colored envelopes Flexographic, foil stamping
Window envelopes Digital printing, embossing
Catalog envelopes Offset printing, screen printing
Security tint envelopes Digital printing, foil stamping