Branding 101: Using Physical Elements of Envelopes to Relay Brand Messages

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!

As part of our branding basics series, this post will address how the physical elements of envelopes can be a powerful branding ally.

While we know that direct mail marketing is still effective, we also recognize that people have been spending their entire lives receiving and opening physical pieces of mail. Unlike newer forms of communication such as the “Tweet,” the “Vine” or the “Snap,” there is no inherent novelty in receiving a piece of direct mail. Consequently, brands must come up with creative ways to clinch the impact their direct mail has.

What are the Physical Elements of Envelopes

Luckily for them, physical pieces [Author’s note: link to physical piece post when URL is live] have a power and mystique all to their own in this oversaturated digital age. The nuance, glamour and tactility of a physical mail piece can make a striking impression on recipients. Adding even more physical qualities like textured envelopes will enable it to stand out not only above other mail, but also above digital communications that will feel flat by comparison.

To help stoke the imagination of these brands, here are some ideas that will bring forth branding values or promotional excitement using the physical elements of envelopes alone:

Going Beyond Branding Basics with Texture

The easiest method to make your mail piece stand out is to give the envelope some texture. Envelopes that feel “quilted” with stamped patterns create quite a different sensation when touched compared to others. Likewise, stamped patterns that resemble diamond plate, herringbone, scallops, rustic bricks or other common textures can intrigue the mind as the hand runs across it.

A great example would be an auto dealer who is trying to promote an upcoming truck sales event. They can send out mailers with a bold black, grey and red color scheme envelope stamped with a diamond plate pattern. This pattern would be familiar to truck owners, who would identify it with a rugged lifestyle, triggering them fantasizing about owning a burly new truck.

Non-profits often use more subtle textures like ripples, burlap or just a coarser grade of paper in order to generate an emotional response, signifying that the mail received has a higher level of care and thought put into it.

Physical Graphics

Embossing, stamping, foil printing and other similar effects have the appearance of regular graphics, but with enhanced qualities that add dimension and figuratively “jump” off the page. Foil color printing reflects light and lends an air of quality to an envelope, dressing up logos or making envelope calls-to-action more noticeable. Embossing and design stamping similarly draw the eye by lifting the envelope surface and creating lasting, memorable images at the same time.

Custom window envelopes can also be used to create fun effects, such as having a pair of eyes peering out from within the envelope through the window.

Size and Shape

Unusual physical elements of envelopes like size and shape are also ideal for establishing branding values. A brand that wants to seem prestigious can utilize a smaller 6 3/4 envelope with rich custom printing to make a mailer seem like an invitation to something great. Others can use a booklet envelope to include gifts or informative brochures that attract attention and imply that the brand always has something to offer.

Custom-shaped envelopes that resemble a watermelon slice, a first aid kit or something similar are an excellent way to go above and beyond creatively, communicating that your brand has a different approach that goes against convention.

All of these ideas are great outside-the-box strategies for adding nuance and complexity to envelopes while relaying brand values. Go beyond branding basics to reach your audience in distinctive ways. Get in touch with us to discuss your unique branding or campaign needs, and we can suggest solutions that literally add new dimensions to your direct mail efforts with different physical elements of envelopes.


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