Often overlooked, envelopes offer a surprising array of options. We are all familiar with the envelopes we see in our mailboxes: commercial envelopes, announcement-style envelopes, and booklet envelopes. But add to that the dozens of sizes, flap styles, seam styles, window styles, and the broad range of papers available—color, finish/texture, fiber content and recycled content—and the choices become mind boggling. And, because Mohawk makes the paper and converts it into envelopes they offer an additional range of custom solutions.
Mohawk came to me to demonstrate some of these choices in a package to hand out at trade shows. The final Envelope Sampler features an array of thirteen colorful, textured and varied envelopes, and a jazzy Mohawk BriteHue insert, all pulled together in a custom window envelope. Jane Monast, Director of Communications at Mohawk says "The envelope sampler gives designers a change to get excited about envelopes by delivering a handful of interesting, colorful envelopes with options they might otherwise overlook. The brightly patterned outer envelope catches their attention and then delivers a fun element of surprise."
After choosing the envelopes to sample, the majority of the time on this project went into creating the outer envelope. The general concept came together quickly in a multi-layered Adobe Illustrator file that allowed us to experiment with patterns and colors, plot the exact window shape and show the insert through the window. After selecting a paper stock for the outer envelope Mohawk supplied me with an envelope dieline made to the exact sheet size. Using that dieline file I built the artwork—fleshing out the pattern wrap and alignment.
While a dieline is precise, and the pattern we selected relies upon a lot of math, the manufacturing process that converts paper to envelopes is just that—manufacturing. The shift tolerances of the machines had to be accounted for. Through trial and error we found that by allowing generous margins around the window and extending the patterns a bit, the sheet could shift up to an eighth of an inch in conversion and still look great. With that knowledge we printed the flat sheets at a local printer where the outer envelope was printed four-color process plus a match gray and dull aqueous coating for rub protection.
The flat sheets were then shipped to Mohawk for converting. On the plant floor they were die cut, folded and glued. (You can see a short video about how envelopes are converted here.)
And finally, all of the envelopes, the insert and the mailing envelope were collated and assembled at a local mailing house. The completed pieces debuted in May at the National Stationery Show where designers and stationers were thrilled to get their hands on them.
While you may not be printing patterned envelopes regularly, with a little forethought envelopes can make a huge impact on your business mailings. Studies show that a colored envelope can increase the odds of getting a mailing read. Can you imagine what happens when you use a textured paper or a window with a special reveal? These days when clients come to me for a stationery package I'm recommending that they pass on printed stationery and put that money toward dynamic envelopes—a place where print and paper really make an impact.
If you would like to see the sampler in person you can get your own directly from Mohawk.
And if you would like to create a dynamic envelope, give me a call. I would love to hear from you.