Writing letters is still a main part of business communication. A well designed letterhead can make your brand come across professionally and give the best first impression possible. You can of course also make one for privat use. It doesn’t have to be all that complicated to create one yourself. With a a little creative skill you can make your own letterhead that incorporates your brand and uses the fonts and colours you like. This way you can add your personal touch that will give your reciever that great first impression.
In April we told you about standards for business correspondence in our blog post and today our tutorial shows you how to create a letterhead in 9 easy steps in InDesign according to the standards in an appealing but professional look. Find out how to design a correct letterhead layout.
Open InDesign and click File> New> Document, to create a new file. In the window that opens you can change the default settings and dimensions. You want to choose “Page Size” A4, which is standard for letters. The other important settings are the “Margins” and the “Bleed”. To be able to set different values for different margins, you have to click the little chain icon next to it. Now enter 105mm for the top margin and 20mm for the other 3 margins. The bleed should be set to 3mm for all of them, so there is no need to click the chain icon here.
In order to see the address field through the window in a window envelope, it has to be placed carefully. To place it correctly you need to create guides. You do this by dragging down/out a guide from the rulers. To place it in exactly the right position, select it and add the correct value in the X or Y field in the application frame in the top of your window. Make 4 guides, one 20mm and one 100mm from the left side, plus one 51mm and one 81mm from the top.
Now draw a text box with the “Type Tool” within the guides. Add the address details. Use the font and sizes that works with your brand. To make sure the address is placed in the middle of the envelopes window, select the text, right click and choose “Text Frame Options”. Choose “Align Centre” in the “Vertical Justification” area.
In order to fold the letter correctly, you can add fold marks. This also helps to make sure you don’t put anything important where the letter will be folded. Make 2 new guides at 103mm and 200mm from the top. Now make two new text boxes and add a full stop in each of them. Place them on the two guides, 3mm from the left side. You can choose to make a line or a different symbol instead of the full stop. However, a full stop is nice as it doesn’t take much attention, but helps you to fold the letter correctly.
The text area where the main content will go should be placed inside the margins that you set when creating the document. Draw a new text box along the margins and add the content. Add subject, salutation, content, closing and attachments. Choose the font and sizes that works with your brand.
You now got all the important information placed on your letterhead. What is missing is a bit of colour and design. In other words, it is missing a header and footer. Add your logo in the top left corner by clicking File> Place. Add a design on the left hand side that you like. Keep in mind that the design should not go into the address field. You can also add a border in the top of the page by drawing a rectangle with the “Rectangle Tool” and choose a colour that matches your logo. Make sure that you place it all the way to the red bleed border so that it turns out well in print.
In the same way, create another rectangle in the bottom of the page and add your company details on top of it. Make sure the text is not too close to the edge, as it can then get lost in print. When adding text on top of a coloured area it is important that the colour of the text and the background is not too similar, as that would make it hard to read. It is also a good idea to use a bold font if you are using white text on a dark background when the font is small like in our example. That way you make sure the white text is eligible in print.
To give the letterhead an extra touch you can add a design in the background. Choose part of your logo, or something that is connected to your business and place it on the page. Make sure it is in the background by selecting it, then right click and choose Arrange> Send to back. To make it transparent, select it, right click and choose Effects> Transparency. Choose 10%, or the percentage that makes your design visible, but doesn’t take too much attention from the letter itself.
Create a new page by clicking “Create new page” in the “Pages” menu in the right hand column. Add a gradient colour by drawing a rectangle outside the red bleed mark by using the “Rectangle tool”. Open the “Gradient” menu if it is not already open by Window> Colour> Gradient. Open the “Swatches” menu and drag two different swatches on top of the two squares on the gradient bar. If there are other colours on the bar that you don’t want, remove them by dragging them down off the bar. To make the page a little more interesting, add the same background design as on the front page, but change the colour. Copy the design, and on the back page, right click and choose “Paste in place”. Change the colour and you have a nice backside to your letterhead!