Last fall I print-produced a designer’s really cool holiday card. The problem was that it didn’t fit a standard size envelope and weighed more than the planned 1 oz. mailing weight. By the time I got the project, the complex card design was too far along to be revised.

To solve the problem, I switched papers to get the weight down and had the printer use an adjustable envelope die to create an envelope that fit the card.

But I want lime green envelopes!

Unless you’re buying a full case of envelopes, you can rarely get envelopes in all of the cool colors you’re drooling over in the paper swatch books. If you need a small quantity of colored envelopes, try an online supplier such as Action Envelope: Otherwise, you can get any envelope you want, as long as it’s white.

Envelope dies: cookie cutters for paper

If you will be printing 2,000 envelopes or more, it’s cost effective to print on flat stock and “convert” it into envelopes via die-cut and glue. McCallum Print Group has a great website where you can download standard-size envelope die-lines to include in your design files:

Disaster avoidance tip

The lesson here is that envelope size, stock availability, and mailing weight must be part of the design considerations from the beginning of even the simplest card + envelope project.

Work back from the envelope size to determine the card size. Ask your printer or paper merchant to recommend available papers and provide a card + envelope paper dummy for you to weigh and approve.