Booklet Ideas for Your Next Direct Mail Project

Meet the writer: Karen Pieper

Hi, I'm Karen! I've been in the industry for 21 years and can't wait to share my perspective on all things direct mail. I'm currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Letter Jacket Envelopes and deal with tasks from managing the website, facilitating conversations with customers, and much more!

Designing a booklet? You need ideas. Annual reports, magazines, lookbooks, catalogs, newsletters, and program highlights all need more time and space—and, therefore, more spot-on design and copy—to get the message across. You also need your booklet to not just rock the content, but hang together as a whole and create a unified experience. Here are our 4 best booklet ideas for your inspiration.

4 Best Booklet Ideas for Your Next Direct Mail Project

Maybe you are raring to go. Maybe you are daunted. Either way, most people planning a booklet need a little help.

When you need an envelope for your booklets, Letter Jacket Envelopes has a great selection of sizes and can customize to match any design. (Seriously, our envelopes are great.)

In the meantime, what are some booklet ideas to knock the socks off your audience?

Don’t jump ahead.

Booklets provide an easy, visual way to organize information. They show you are knowledgeable, organized, and credible and that your organization has a lot of interesting stuff on its plate. They also look great at front desks and on coffee tables.

In short, booklets are awesome. But you have to start with a clear purpose and answer all of your important questions ahead of time. This includes:

Who’s going to read it?

Identify your audiences, because the whole booklet will be designed to speak to them, from size and first impressions to content and mailing date. When planning any campaign, always start with two things in sight: your budget on the one hand, and your target audience on the other.

When will it be sent?

Are you sending out near a holiday, for example? Is it hitting mailboxes right before school starts? Determining send date(s) will determine whether you need to add any festive “extras,” coordinate with a season, or take special design measures to make sure you are noticed.

Will the medium match the message?

If you are a small church looking to raise funds, and you send a simple, elegant booklet with very few bells and whistles, your humble approach is jiving with a humble yet eloquent request. On the other hand, if you are a rainforest preservation foundation printing bulky magazines on non-recycled paper with synthetic inks, you are sending a bit of a mixed signal. Medium and message have to match.

Judge a booklet by its cover.

Apart from the envelope, your booklet cover is the first thing your audience will see. Make it memorable.

Size and shape

Size and shape say something. They communicate a vibe to your audience and imply how you want them to view and use your booklet. Pocket-sized is cute, handy, and says “Take me with you.” A square booklet is hip, modern unconventional, and made to be displayed. Unconventional sizes and shapes can make a big impact, but they also make a big promise. So choose wisely. Always consider your purpose, goal, audience, and mailing budget first.

Cover type

Covers generally come in two types: self-cover and plus-cover. Self-cover means that your cover paper is the same as the rest of your paper. Plus-cover is exactly what it sounds like—more like cardstock. Paper types also weigh in here. When it comes to covers, texture makes an impression, and thicker textures can give booklets a longer shelf life.

Get your font right.

Great content almost goes without saying. But don’t make your audience work hard for it.


In the whole booklet, stick to 2-3 typefaces, and don’t cram a whole bunch of text together. Font needs to communicate, not distract. Your number one goal is readability. Your number two goal is to make it pretty. This rule also applies to size and colors: engage without overdoing it. It’s easy to trip up the eye, but a great booklet leads from one block of text to the next in a steady flow and makes important information easy to find.

Serif vs. sans-serif

Ah, the age old question! The general rule to remember is serif for body, sans-serif for headers and call outs. While sans-serif catches quick attention and has great flow, serif distinguishes each letter more, making longer blocks of text easier to navigate.

Work that image.  

There are certain times when you want to encourage a little vanity. Booklet design is one of those. If you don’t love what you see, keep working on it. You are both communicating a large amount of information, and making an impression across several to several dozen pages. Here are a few tips:

White space

Give readers’ eyes time to rest, and make the most of blank space. Blank space can also be used to lead a reader’s eye from one place to another. White space undergirds your whole design structure. It’s where you start. We recommend working with a graphic designer to work from the white space, rather than just trying to fill it.

Alternate copy and images

Divide copy into two or three columns, or simple blocks on each page or spread, and alternate with your images and other design elements. Too many words and you’ve lost some readers. Explore different kinds of alternatives as well, employing strategies like crossover graphics.

Clear clutter

Have you ever overheard this conversation?

“Do you really need all that?”

“No, but—” Fill in the blank. “It looks cool.” “It’s colorful.” “My grandma gave it to me.”

From cleaning out the garage to designing a booklet, clutter is not welcome. If you need to keep information or images that are taking up too much room, add a few pages rather than cramming to keep it easy to read and navigate.

We hope these tips will help you get started. When your booklet starts to come together, give us a buzz at Letter Jacket Envelopes. We’ve got plenty of booklet size envelopes to choose from, and we can help you coordinate perfectly with your new campaign.

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