Samco Printers

Everything you need to know about envelopes

Everything you need to know about envelopes

We use envelopes to enclose anything from invitations, greeting cards, letters and brochures to payroll cheques, catalogues and even pre-approved credit card offers. Envelopes come in different sizes, folding styles, colours, stocks, with windows and security tints. We’ll look at all these and more.

Styles and Sizes

Envelopes are available in many styles and sizes. If your project includes an envelope, it is advisable to design and size the insert to fit into an existing envelope and not to make a custom-size envelope so your insert will fit in it.


Commercial Envelopes

Commercial envelopes or business envelopes are used for many business and personal correspondence purposes. They normally come with diagonal seams and a standard commercial flap but are also offered with a pointed or square flap. Commercials are available with or without windows, and can be manufactured with remoistenable seal gum or latex self-sealing closures. The No. 10 envelope is by far the most popular size in this grouping and is perfect for inserting a normally folded 8-1/2″ x 11″ letterhead.

ItemSize (inches)
Open Side (see Orientation below)
No. 83 5/8" x 6 1/2"
No. 8 Window3 5/8" x 6 1/2"
No. 94" x 9
No. 9 Window4" x 9"
No. 9 US New3 7/8" x 8 7/8"
No. 104 1/8" x 9 1/2"
No. 10 Window4 1/8" x 9 1/2"
No. 114 1/2" x 9 5/8"
No. 11 Window4 1/2" x 9 5/8"
Cheque Window3 5/8" x 8 5/8"
Lg Cheque Window3 3/4" x 8 3/4"
No. 1 MICR Cheque3 5/8" x 7 7/8"
No. 2 MICR Cheque3 5/8" x 8 5/8"
Open End (see Orientation below)
No. 104 1/8" x 9 1/2"
No. 114 1/2" x 9 5/8"
No. 145" x 11 1/2"


A-Style Invitation Envelopes

A-Style envelopes are used for sending announcements, small booklets, brochures, greeting cards,invitations, and more recently for distinctive business stationery. A-sizes have side seam construction, with large, attractive square flaps.

Baronial Invitation Envelopes

Baronial envelopes have a pointed flap and diagonal seams. They are used primarily for invitations and greetings.

Square Invitation Envelopes

Square envelopes are used for advertising pieces, invitations, and other unique communications. Squares have side seam construction with square flaps.

ItemSize (inches)
Open Side (see Orientation below)
Large Octavo4 1/4″ x 5 1/4″
Extra Large Octavo4 1/2″ x 5 7/8″
No. 0 Invitation2 3/4″ x 4″
No. 1 Invitation3 5/8″ x 5 1/2″
No. 2 Invitation4 1/8″ x 6 1/8″
No. 3 Invitation4 1/2″ x 6 5/8″
No. 4 Invitation5″ x 6 1/2″
No. 5 Invitation6″ x 7 1/2″
A2 Invitation4 3/8″ x 5 3/4″
A6 Invitation4 3/4″ x 6 1/2″
A7 Invitation5 1/4″ x 7 1/4″
A8 Invitation5 1/2″ x 8 1/8″
5 Square5″ x 5″
5.5 Square5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″
6 Square6″ x 6″
6.5 Square6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″
9 Square9″ x 9″

Booklet and Catalogue

Booklet Envelopes

Booklet envelopes are used for a variety of mailing and shipping functions. They have side seam construction with a wallet flap on the longer of the two dimensions, which is also called “open side”.

Catalogue Envelopes

Catalogue envelopes are used for heavy-duty mailing and shipping requirements. They have a centre seam construction with a wallet flap on the shorter of the two dimensions, which is also called “open end”.

ItemSize (inches)
Open Side (see Orientation below)
No. 1 Booklet5 1/2" x 7 1/2"
No. 2 Booklet5 7/8" x 9"
No. 2.5 / 4 Booklet5 3/4" x 9 1/2"
No. 3 Booklet6 1/2" x 9 1/2"
No. 7 Booklet9" x 12"
No. 8 Booklet10" x 13"
Open End (see Orientation below)
No. 0 Catalogue4 5/8" x 6 3/4"
No. 1 Catalogue5 1/2" x 7 1/2"
No. 2 Catalogue5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
No. 2.5 / 4 Catalogue5 3/4" x 9 1/2"
No. 3 Catalogue6 1/2" x 9 1/2"
No. 5 Catalogue7 1/2" x 10 1/2"
No. 7 Catalogue9" x 12"
No. 8 Catalogue10" x13"
No. 9 Catalogue11 1/2" x 14 1/2"
No. 10 Catalogue9 1/2" x 14 3/4"
No. 12 Catalogue12" x 16"
No. 15 Catalogue15" x 18"


Envelopes come with different flaps for different uses. For regular No. 10 envelopes, Commercial and Square flaps are available. Invitation envelopes usually are Pointed (also called Baronial or V-Flap) or Square flaps (also called A-Style). Flaps are usually gummed but they can also come in Press Seal or Peel & Seal versions.
Envelope Flap Styles


If the flap is positioned on the long side of the envelope, it’s called Open Side. If the flap is on the short end of the envelope, it’s called Open End.
Envelope Flap Orientation


Side Seam

Side Seam Envelopes

Running close to the outer edge of the envelope, square or rectangular flaps form side seams. Side seams provide a larger printing area.

Cross Back

Cross Back Seam Envelopes

Envelopes with pointed or triangular flaps create diagonal seams across the back of the envelope.

Centre Seam

Centre Seam Envelopes

Found on Catalogue style envelopes, large square or rectangular side flaps meet and overlap in the centre of the envelope. Smaller square or wallet top and bottom flaps fold over the top and bottom edges of the side flaps.

Specialty Envelopes

Window envelopes are available in many sizes and are most commonly made from the same papers used for commercial envelopes. These envelopes are popular for statements and invoices as the window allows the content of the insert, such as a mailing address, to be seen from outside the envelope.

Security envelopes are printed with an obscuring pattern on the inside of the envelope so that the contents of the envelope cannot be seen when held up in the light.

Self Sealing Flaps
Some envelopes are available with Press & Seal flaps or Peel & Seal flaps. This eliminates having to moisten the gummed flap to seal the envelope.

Converting Envelopes

If the ready-made envelopes are not to your liking, or if you need to have custom printed envelopes in different sizes,on specialty paper or with fancy flaps, you might want to consider printing the envelopes in flat sheets, which are then die-cut, gummed and folded. You can also print on the inside of the envelopes for dramatic effect and provide security through added opacity. Printing on a flat sheet also allows you to foil-stamp and emboss a design without leaving a debossed image on the opposite/back side of the envelope.

Because of the variability in die-cutting and folding, avoid designs that require exact registration across an envelope’s seam. Your customized envelopes can be any style you want but will have to meet Canada Post’s guidelines if you plan to mail them. Printing and converting envelopes is more expensive than printing on ready-made envelopes.

Envelope Printing after Converting

We can print converted/ready-made envelopes with bleeds on three sides, leaving one of the short dimension edges for the gripper of the press. Non-bleed images and a return address may be printed on the back flap. Screens or printed text may sometimes appear heavier on the seams, where the double or even triple thickness of the paper and glue create a raised area. Depending on your design, it may be best to choose a side-seam or diagonal-seam envelope.

Mailing through Canada Post

Canada Post mailing services has certain guidelines which you will need to comply with regarding size, weight and address positioning to prevent from having to pay extra postage. Please visit their website for more information:

Imprinting addresses, stuffing and mailing

We can imprint variable mailing addresses through a laser printer or inkjet printer. We can also provide full letter-shopping services including folding, stuffing, sorting and mailing.

Common Questions on Envelope Printing

Q: Can I print bleeds on a ready-made envelope?
A: Yes, we can print bleeds on the face/front of the envelope, leaving space on one of the short edges of the envelope for the gripper of the press.

Q: Can l print on the flap of the envelope?
A: Yes, we can print images and text but if they bleed, it’s advisable to convert the envelopes.

Samco Printers is a full service commercial printer providing exceptional offset, digital and large format printing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada using the latest pre-press, printing and finishing technologies. We also have a fully equipped art department to handle your graphic and web design needs.

Need help? Let us help you get started or put the finishing touches on your printed materials. Our Art Director will be happy to spend some time with you. Give us a call at 604.683.6991 or contact our technical support.

Don’t need help with design? Talk to us anyway to ensure that the files you’ll be supplying meet our specifications.

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