There are many benefits to having an official letterhead.
Building a strong client list is only one of them. A letterhead can capture and deliver your brand story visually with the right design — that helps to connect with the people who have the same values. A well-designed letterhead makes a strong, lasting impression.
Lastly, it saves you time. With a letterhead, you wouldn’t have to type in your company name, tagline, and contact details over and over again everytime you write a letter.
If you select any of the images labeled edit this design in Canva, you can opt to simply open up the same design each time you need to send a message out. Ready to get started?
01. Use Bold Design Elements
Better yet, use bold design elements that relate to your business. In the example above for The Modern Flower Co., A Friend of Mine uses type that resembles growing vines set over a trellis-like grid.
The trellis grid shaped the layout of all other collateral pieces A Friend of Mine designed for the London based high end florists. Worth clicking over to check out.
02. Keep It Simple
Keep your letterhead simple and classic by shaping its layout using only your logo and contact details. Set all your content on the left-hand side, like Communal Creative does for Indigo above, or keep all your details at the top.
Take advantage of our clean and classic templates below and test out a few variations before settling on a design. With Canva’s editor, it’ll only take a few minutes.
03. Use a Border
Lila Theodoros created a series of beautiful floral graphics for the identity of Paperless Events, a digital company changing the way we experience events. The grace many of the faces of different piece of collateral and are used to create the the border of Paperless Events’ letterhead.
If you wish to add a border to your letterhead, You’re not bound to using graphics to create it. You keep things simple by using a solid color border or a very subtle texture on it. Dig a template option displayed below? Click on it to quickly edit it.
04. Try Geometric Shapes
If you’re tired of simple and clean letterheads, use geometric shapes to add visual interest to your design. You can use them to create a lovely composition like Janus Badenhorst does for Yesness or to create an eye-catching geometric pattern.
05. Give it a Modern Twist
06. Try a Pattern
Deck the back of your letterhead with a gorgeous pattern. In the example above, Claire Bruining uses both organic and geometric shapes to create a fun and colorful pattern as part of her letterhead and personal brand.
If you like the idea of a pattern but don’t want to get into designing shapes for it, you can quickly create on using the letters in your brand or personal name. Think letterform confetti and arrange them in a manner that resembles the formation they’d take on when tossed in the air.
07. Be Consistent
Remember, your letterhead should work well with all your other brand identity components and should feel related to them. It isn’t enough to use the same design elements on all of them—you need to be consistent in how you style and utilize them.
Consider the example above for KU Design Week. Note how the letterhead features the same design elements and styling used on other brand identity components.
08. Create Visual Contrast
Keep in mind that you can build visual contrast using any color, not just black and white, and using different design elements. In the example above, alternating between using and not using bars on different portions of the page creates visual contrast.
In the same way, you can play with textured or patterned vs. smooth surfaces. If you’re still sharpening your design skills, click on one of our templates below and edit away.
09. Mix Graphic & Photorealistic Elements
Speaking of visual contrast, you can also create it by combining graphic and photorealistic elements, just like Andrew Littmann does above for Hart Vine.
10. Don’t Neglect the Back
Give some love to the flip side of your company’s letterhead. It will make the experience of opening up a letter from you or your company much more memorable. A beautiful visual is almost always more impactful than a plain white page.
Above, Mike Casebolt decks the back of the IMM’s letterhead with a beautiful pattern which is part of the company’s brand identity.
11. Type as a Design Element
We’ve been talking a whole lot about patterns and shapes as excellent design element options for your letterhead. But good old type is an ace option as well. Use it as a design element, as showcased above.
12. Go Minimal
Not feeling a busy letterhead? Keep things stark and beautiful. Use a grid to create a clean design solution, like Hedeker Wealth Law does above, using only your contact information and logo.
13. Create Movement
Use design elements to create movement within your layout just like Copo Design does for Perro above. If you’re unsure of how to do so, check out the options we provide below.
Remember, these templates are completely editable. Keep what you like and change anything you don’t.
14. Design Around Your Logo
Use your logo as a design element. Blow it up and let it bleed off your layout or keep things tidy, like Voltalab Sound Studios does above.
Don’t have a logo yet? Set your brand name in beautiful type and place it where you’d ideally want your logo to go. If you need a little inspiration for your logo, check this article out.
15. Feature Large Type
Deviate from the norm and set content in your letterhead using type set at a large size, like Printed By Somerset does. You can go down the same path and set your company name in big, bold type or you can choose any other detail you wish to highlight on your letterhead.
As you do so, remember that you’ll be printing or writing in more content later on. Be sure to give yourself enough space to be able to comfortably do so.
16. Use Bold Color
Design your letterhead with bold, beautiful colors just like the Bookstore Foundation does above. The bright red they’ve chosen as part of their brand colors stands out beautifully on the white page, highlighting the company’s name.
Remember that bold doesn’t always mean bright—you can use color in unexpected ways or larger quantities to create a daring letterhead. Take a look at what we offer below. If you like what you see, give it a go.
Keep in mind that you can also use any template as a starting point and refine until it is perfect for you.
17. Keep Your Type Tidy
Keep whatever content you may print on your letterhead in mind as you define its layout. Make sure you’ve set enough space aside to comfortably print any message. Define also how these messages should be styled—will the text be flush left or justified?
Take a look at the Education letterhead above. Notice how the designer has planned out how everything, including content that will be printed on the page later, should look.
18. Use Texture
I probably sound like a broken record because I always mention texture in our articles. However, I do think it is a valuable and simple design element anyone, regardless of their design prowess, can use.
Keep texture in mind as you design not only your letterhead but any other piece. You can easily adapt and use a texture on any piece of collateral and help take it from good to great. Use it on the flip side of your letterhead or as a fill for design elements, as showcased above.
19. Play with Color Fields
Don’t be afraid of using subtle color on your letterhead, even on the areas where you’ll be printing content. Experiment with light color fields. You may end up with a design as beautiful as Tamarindo’s.
If you do go this way, run a test print or two to make sure your content is still legible when printed over color.
20. Use Your Grid
Grids don’t only help you tidy up content—they can help you create beautiful patterns and design elements as well. In the case of Second Choice, the grid itself serves as a pattern used on the reverse side of their letterhead.
Below, we’ve shared a few of our templates that use the grid in the same way. Feel free to use them as inspiration or to edit them directly to turn them into your own piece.
Among the many benefits of having an official letterhead, it’s likely one of them can have a powerful impact on your company, whatever its size.
When you’ve settled on a design, tell us how you think an awesome letterhead can help in your business. Happy designing!