Types of Business Letterhead

By on February 5, 2019

Letterhead is used by businesses and other organizations for day-to-day correspondences as well as for strengthening their unique brand identities. They are normally designed in a way so as to help people immediately identify who the message is from, even before they actually get to read it.

When executed well, a letterhead can serve to inspire confidence, create a positive impression, and increase the perceived value of the message. They can also be used to highlight the values and objectives of the business, through the use of mottos or universally-understood imagery. Lastly, business letterhead can be used to help the recipients reply immediately by having the contact details right within their direct line of sight.

Businesses may also use multiple letterheads, each suited for a different purpose. These different letterheads allow recipients to immediately understand the purpose of the message as well as the status or authority of the sender. Here are some of the more common types of business letterhead.

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Standard Letterhead

This type of letterhead is used by the entire organization, generally for standard day-to-day correspondence. Notices, letters, invoices, and so on may be written or printed on this type of letterhead. They typically do not include the name of any specific person related to the company and tend to only have the company name and logo. Sometimes, a watermark or some other type of security protection may be included to prevent fraud.

This type of letterhead is often the most commonly used for standardized forms for both internal and external use. It’s usually made with more economical paper and print processes.

Executive/C-suite/Manager’s Letterhead

In contrast with standard letterhead, this type of letterhead has the name and title of a person in charge attached to it, typically at the department level or higher. This type of letterhead is meant to emphasize the authority of the person issuing the message. A typical use of executive letterhead includes major announcements, termination notices, and similar correspondences where the sender wants to make clear are of particular importance.

While not always the case, this type of letterhead is formatted in a way similar to standard letterhead, following the brand image of the organization. The main difference would be an emphasis on the name and title of the sender. This allows the sender to emphasize their role as a representative of the organization. Special paper and printing may be used to set it apart from standard letterhead to further drive home the importance of the message.

Department Letterhead

This type of letterhead is mean to represent a specific branch or department within an organization. It’s used much like standard letterhead, with the main difference being that it is meant to emphasize that the message is coming from only one part of the company. For example, in a company, there may be separate departments for finance, payroll, sales, marketing, and so on, each with their own special letterhead.

This arrangement makes it possible for recipient interested in just one area of a business to contact just a specific relevant department. For instance, software vendors may refer to previous communications with a business to contact just their IT department.

In most cases, department letterhead is a variation of the standard letterhead, with slightly different logos and text.  There is usually some emphasis on the text showing which department the letterhead is from to make it clear where the message came from.

Custom/Special Letterhead

This type of letterhead is meant for very specific cases, such as letters of condolence, congratulations, very formal communications, and other situations where the standard letterhead may not suffice. It may contain a specific person’s name, but this is not necessarily true. It may be printed on higher quality paper and may also have special printing, such as embossing or engraving.

Depending on the structure of your organization, you may have more or fewer types of letterhead, some with overlapping functions. As a business grows, it often becomes necessary to have different kinds of letterhead in stock to account for new situations that a business may need to face. Regardless of the type of letterhead you order, be sure to balance the design and the specifications with the specific needs of your business.


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Types of Business Letterhead