Letterheads are a staple of business literature. We all need them, we all use them. It doesn’t mean they have to be boring. Like a business card, a letterhead can often be a first impression of your business so you should make it a good one.
Print has changed so much over the last 5 years that the old 80gsm flimsy paper with single colour print is luckily well behind us. There is now a good selection of papers and full colour is the thing. It means you can make an impact even on a budget.
Good letterhead design should be practical, readable but interesting. It sounds obvious, but it should be clear who you are. Your logo should be nice and prominent but not take up too much space and your contact details should be easy to find, large enough to read and in a suitable font so numbers can be deciphered.
A nice watermark, or background graphic is a good element to include but it should not overpower the text you are going to put on there and should leave a good usable space.
You might not be aware of it but there are also legal requirements for details on letterheads. It varies depending on your business type there are things that should be included even on digital letterheads like word or pdf.
For Sole Traders you can trade as yourself or a trading name but you should make sure both are on your letterhead. You should also include your business address and contact details.
For Partnerships, you need the company name, address of the main trading office, contact details and a list of all the partners. If you have the space you can state where the partners are based but that’s not a requirement.
Limited Companies must show the full company registered name, registration number and place of registration. You must include the trading address if its different from the registered address and it must be clear which is which. You don’t need to state Directors names but if you choose to, you must include them all.
Depending on your business you must also show a VAT number if you are VAT registered and any professional memberships and registrations. Charities, if it’s not obvious by the name should make it clear that they are a charity somewhere on the document. Financial organisations and individuals will need to show compliance or disclosure wording on all stationery.
This can all add up to a lot of space being filled before you have had chance to write anything, which is why good, clever design is the key to a successful piece of stationery.