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Envelopes – A Comprehensive Guide

A comprehensive guide to envelopes

Having recently produced some overprinted C6 envelopes for local client The Dragon Café, we thought we’d put together a useful ready-reference guide to envelopes. We’ve included information on available shapes, sizes, formats, sealing mechanisms, styles, materials and more. There is also a note about overprinting options for those who need their own, unique envelope, perhaps showing their branding or allowing the envelope to serve a specific purpose, for example for collecting donations (see The Dragon Café’s fundraising example, shown below right). Take a look below and bookmark this page if you think it might be useful for future reference — we hope so!

Overprinted fundraising envelopes for Mental Fight Club, SE1Envelope Sizes

The three most popular size conventions for envelopes are ‘ISO C’ (‘C’ for short), ‘DL’ and square envelopes and we’ll explain how they work in a moment. There is also a fourth range, being the ‘ISO D’ sizes (used to suit ‘ISO B’ paper sizes) but they’re rarely used in the UK, so we’ll not go into detail about those here.

‘ISO C’ Sized Envelopes

You will be almost certainly be familiar with A4, A3 and A2 sized papers. These come from the ‘ISO A’ series of paper sizes. ‘ISO C’ sizes are a complementary range of sizes that are widely used with envelopes to house ‘A’ sized papers. So, for example, an unfolded A4 letter would fit neatly inside a C4 envelope (with a little breathing space). Meanwhile, if you fold an A4 letter in half (so it’s now A5), it would fit perfectly into a C5 envelope. If folded again into A6, it would fit nicely in a C6 envelope, and so on. Here are the most popular ISO C envelope sizes:

  • C3 envelopes are 458mm x 324mm
  • C4 envelopes are 324mm x 229mm
  • C5 envelopes are 229mm x 162mm
  • C6 envelopes are 162mm x 114mm

Now we’ll come onto what happens if you fold that A4 letter into three rather than two …

ISO ‘DL’ and ‘DLE’ Envelope Sizes

The envelope size 220mm x 110mm is commonly referred to by stationers and printers as ‘DL’ (short for DIN Lang, meaning DIN ‘Long’). It’s a perfect size to suit A4 letters folded into three. However, strictly speaking, true ‘DL’ is actually exactly one-third A4 i.e. 210mm x 99mm but true DL is seldom, if ever, used in the UK. So when we refer to ‘DL envelopes’ when speaking with stationers or printers in the UK, it’s understood that we’re really talking about ‘DLE’ size (the true name for 220mm x 110mm). It’s one of life’s little quirks!

Square Envelopes

The UK enjoys a huge range of different square envelope sizes. They are too numerous to list in full but the most popular among them include:

  • 80mm square
  • 100mm square
  • 105mm square
  • 110mm square
  • 116mm square
  • 120mm square
  • 126mm square
  • 130mm square
  • 140mm square
  • 155mm square
  • 160mm square
  • 164mm square
  • 220mm square
  • 240mm square
  • 254mm square
  • 317mm square

Envelope Opening Formats

When ordering envelopes from your printer or stationer, they may ask you whether you require ‘wallet’ or ‘pocket’ format. But what does that mean? ‘Wallet’ format simply means Read more

Say it loud with a Banner

Printed banners

Printing and production of banners is another natural application of our large format printing service so, for our next post we thought we’d show you a couple of different banners that we recently produced for local client The Dragon Café, in Borough High Street, London SE1 and The Green Street Green Society, which is over in Orpington, Kent.

Roller banner for Green StreetRoller Banners

Roller banners are a great way to present your brand, service, product or message in a near instant. What’s more, they ‘say it loud’ due to their large scale — options start from 850mm wide by approximately 2m high. Roller banners take literally seconds to erect and, after use, seconds to dismantle again, with the display graphics rolling down into a compact cassette that’s easy to transport and store in the supplied storage case, ready to be re-used at any time.

Southside Print London Bridge‘s roller banners are suitable for indoor use and are ideal for use in situations like office presentations, receptions, showrooms, trade fairs, events and shopping malls, to name just a few. Whether you’re using one or several, they’re an excellent way to make a splash with the minimum of time and effort. Many models are even robust enough to be used semi-permanently if required. All our roller banners use robust 400gsm ‘SoFlat’ material, for true lay-flat properties. They also have a matte finish to the front and a grey backing coat to the reverse. This combination helps to present the printed graphics in the best possible way, without any show-through from behind even when backlit. The surface is scuff and scratch resistant and is printed in fade-proof UV-based inks.

We offer various sizes and various different models, from economy grade right through to luxury. We can usually even replace the graphics in the future, should you need such a change. For more details, quotations and artwork specifications, contact us and we’d be delighted to help. We can even provide the design and artwork if you like.

Hanging Banners

Hanging banner for The Dragon Café, London SE1Hanging banners are great when you need to catch the eye of the public and let them know your message, or draw attention to an event, all in an instant. The best thing is that they can be used just about anywhere and are available in just about any size you can think of.

Our outdoor banners are printed on a flame-resistant, light-fast PVC, most commonly using a 440gsm weight/thickness although lots of other options are also available. These include Read more

Printing for The Dragon Café, Borough

Dragon-Cafe-Masthead2-1038x512One of Southside Print London Bridge’s most regular clients for printing is The Dragon Café. Recently the work we’ve produced for them has included posters, flyers, leaflets, postcards, a thank you card and various pieces of signage. As Declan McGill, Communications Manager for the café says, “as far as local businesses go it couldn’t be much closer” as it’s literally only around the corner, being located in the Crypt of St George the Martyr Church, Borough High Street, SE1 1JA, just opposite Borough tube station.

The Dragon CaféThe Dragon Café is the UK’s first mental health café and creative space. It is the flagship project of Mental Fight Club, which explores all aspects of mental health through the use of creativity and public events. It is open every Monday, from midday to 8.30pm, and provides free, open-to-all, creative and well-being activities helped along with a simple, healthy and affordable food menu.

Having just celebrated its 100th Monday, the café is currently running the ‘DRAGONCAFE100’ campaign whereby it aims to raise £100,000 in order to continue running its excellent service well into the future. (Interested parties can donate online here). As part of the campaign, the café will host a fundraising gig on 27 March 2015, 7 to 9pm. The event will feature ‘Maiuko’, the voice of Mozambique (Nu-soul and Afro-jazz), plus guests including Read more