So, what’s a letterhead, you ask? Well, a letterhead is a heading at the top of a sheet of letter paper that typically includes a company’s logo, name, address, and contact information. It’s a way for businesses to brand their correspondence and make a professional impression on clients and customers. A well-designed letterhead can help to establish credibility and create a sense of trust. Whether it’s for formal letters, invoices, or other official documents, a letterhead is an important part of a company’s branding and identity.

Printulu assists thousands of successful businesses every year. Company letterheads are one of the most common and well-known pieces of stationery that business owners order with us, and when the design needs to be done, the order comes through to me. 

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I am the senior graphic designer at Printulu and hundreds of the clients we print for come to me for design assistance. So it’s fair to say that I have loads of print design experience. But one thing that always takes a toll on my day is seeing the number of companies that do not adhere to South African law with their designs. 

This is most prevalent in letterhead designs. Believe it or not, if you don’t include these 5 things in your letterhead design, you could be landing yourself – and your business – in very, VERY big trouble.

Most people assume that a letterhead is just a fancy bit of printing on their business stationery. It definitely adds authority and a sense of legitimacy to your business meetings, yes. But its intended purpose is much more important.


Avoid a brush with the law: 5 things your letterhead design SHOULD 

When creating business letterheads, there are three main categories to take into account: companies, partnerships, and sole proprietors.

For companies, including private, personal liability, and public companies, the following information must be included on the letterhead: the company’s full name, place of registration, registration number, registered office address, and principal place of business address (if different from the registered address). While it’s not mandatory to list the names of directors on company letterhead, if you choose to do so, all directors must be named.

For partnerships, the letterhead must feature the names of all partners and the address of the principal place of business. If there are too many partners to include on the letterhead, a comprehensive list of partners can be provided on another platform such as a website.

Sole proprietors must include their name and the address of their principal place of business on their letterhead. If a business trades under a different name, the actual name of the business must also be included on the letterhead.

It is not mandatory to include contact details such as telephone numbers, email addresses, or websites on the letterhead, but it is recommended. The same information should also be present on invoices, receipts, and order forms. It is not necessary for this information to be in the header of the page but it must be somewhere on the page.

An example of a company letterhead

Let’s move on to designing the letterhead…

Brand Identity was the most important lesson I learned during my Honours degree. While some aspects are legally required, others are just good business sense. Here’s what you need to include to make your letterhead stand out:

A South African telephone number and email address, so that people can easily reach you.
A strong and memorable slogan that sums up what your business is all about.
A visually appealing logo, as well as any other visual elements that are crucial to your company’s brand guidelines.
Although the use of traditional mail is decreasing, a letterhead remains a crucial part of your company’s overall brand identity.

It should be used for formal communications such as notices to the public or certain individuals and groups, invoices and letters to customers, and job letters to potential employees. Additionally, letterheads are also used for internal documents such as cover letters for proposals and presentations, minutes of meetings, and communication between departments.
Remember that your letterhead should align with your company’s brand guidelines for consistency and recognition. Ultimately, it should represent the image that your company wants to convey and be consistent with other branding and design elements.

Affordable Letterhead Printing Example

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I know everyone doesn’t have access to high-level design software like Adobe Illustrator, because they can be expensive and have a bit of a learning curve. That’s why I’ve included some handy tips on designing your printed letterheads with Canva, a free online design tool. Canva online is a tool that provides thousands of free templates along with extraordinary features to design all these brand kits. 

Let’s go through the step-by-step process.


1. Log in or Sign up with Canva

Go to Canva or launch the app then log in or sign up for a new account using your email, Google or Facebook profile. Search for “Letterheads” to start designing.

2. Select a template

Browse professionally-designed letterhead templates for artists, businesses, law firms, churches, charities and more. Click on your preferred layout and start customizing. Remember: Canva is based on US Sizes. BE sure to double-check that your artwork size is the same as your ordered size.

3. Create a personalized design

Customize your letterheads to truly suit your business or brand. Swap out fonts and colours, add your own logo or image and edit the text. It takes just a few clicks to get the exact letterhead you need.

4. Get creative with more design features

Tweak your designs further using the drag-and-drop design tools. Plus, search through millions of images, icons, stickers and illustrations, and font combinations to add to your design.

5. Order your prints

Save your design as a Print PDF file. Remember to select bleed and crop marks before you download. Remember you can always edit your design at any time. Place your order with Printulu and you’re ready to go!

Where to upload your artwork:

1: Log into your profile

2: Click on “My Orders” (On the left side panel)

3: Select “Order Details” on the right of the relevant order

4: Click on “Upload your Artwork”


The last couple of pro tips:

Don’t go crazy.

It’s easy to get carried away when designing a letterhead. Just remember that the purpose is a meaningful platform for sending written communication. This means you need to leave room for the content, and the visual design of the letterhead should not distract the recipient from the content. Keep it simple and keep it usable.

Colour or no colour?

Colour is usually good — it says, “I cared enough about my image to show I didn’t just print this on my office laser printer.” Just don’t go overboard; your logo and one or two other places are probably all the colours you need.

Fancy add-ons.

There was a time when raised lettering, cutouts, expensive linen paper, and custom watermarks were essential, but considering the limited applications for which you will use your letterhead, these are probably no longer worth the extra money. Stick to the basics – a great paper stock and classy design.


Need help with your letterhead design?

We can help with that. Printulu has a highly qualified graphic design team that can design your products for you in no time!

Check out our letterhead product here, and remember to select the design service you require before placing your order. Our designer will get back to you within two business days with your design revision after you’ve submitted your brief.

Have any questions for us? Drop them in the comment section below or send an email to [email protected]. Our friendly customer care agents will get back to you as soon as possible.

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P.S. Printing your letterheads? Get the full package. Check out our business cards, flyers and presentation folders too.

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