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The language of envelopes

The language of paper

The paper forms part of the message.

Laid, coated, cartridge, recycled...

Laid or coated papers do not have the same look as cartridge or recycled papers. Each paper has its own message and each message in an envelope should use in its own paper, it has to be printed, folded, sealed, brought and taken…

Specific characteristics

Envelopes need the right type of paper, with precise characteristics of resistance, machineability, opacity, printability, porosity and whiteness depending on their use or destination. This is a technical language which refers to their composition, their properties, their types, weight and size.

Paper for envelopes

Envelope paper, like almost all paper, is made of vegetal cellulose pulp obtained through mechanical or chemical processes. Most envelopes are made using paper which meet the criteria of printability (advertising envelopes) resistance (pockets and packaging envelopes), cost effectiveness and image (recycled), depending on their use or destination.

Weights and measurements of paper

The German Walter Porstmann proposed a standard norm for paper formats which was adopted in Germany in 1922 as DIN formats (Deutsche Industrie Norme) and which today is the standard international measurement (ISO 218). Based on the metric system, he started from one square metre of paper, so that the successive divisions maintained the same proportion between the sides of the rectangle. Only one formula presents this relationship:

He thus obtained the starting formula A0 = 1m² = 841x 1189mm

Paper suitable for the production of envelopes

They are many types of paper for printing and making envelopes with very different requirements and characteristics.

The classification criteria can vary: the denominations sometimes respond only to commercial brands. The manufacturers use criterias such as the appearance, the composition of the fibres, the use…

Different appearance and composition

In regards to its appearance, we speak of laid, embossed, smooth, satin, glossy, matt, glassine paper...

With regard to the composition of fibres, mixture of pulps or source of fibres, we talk of mechanical pulp, of natural or bleached chemical pulp. Coniferous pulp or deciduous pulp …

Printing requirements

For its printing characteristics and use, paper is called: press, offset, cartographic, writing, etc.

Various sizes

The sizes help us to identify a piece of paper. Generally, the size is related to products or formats for machines. Thus, we talk of 100 x 140, 70x 100 paper (size in centimetres), web etc. The grammage (grams per square metre of paper) is a decisive feature when identifying a piece of paper: 70 g/m2, 80 g/m2, etc.

More information about: The language of paper

More information about: Envelopes communicate

Index of: Envelopes


National and international associations, through their organizations, publications and congresses, are witnesses to the reality, to the evolution of the world of the envelope and its manufacturers.


The language of envelopes

Envelopes communicate

The main aim of a designer or marketing professional is to make sure that the reply envelope relates two key messages "open me!" and "respond."