Envelopes for direct mail purposes can be an incredibly important asset to your marketing approach, but most important is making sure you’re using an envelope that has a chance of actually being seen and interacted with by a potential customer. A customer is going to decide to either directly open your envelope, leave it out on the side, or (worst case scenario) chuck it straight in the bin. We can make sure the choice is easier for the customer by taking into account a number of factors. With this being the case, we thought it would be a good idea to run through the things you can do to make sure you have a stand-out envelope worthy of your business.

Stand out vs minimalism design

Your design can either incorporate heavily eye-catching material (images, colours, fonts etc.) or a more minimalist approach. Designs that stand out might incorporate graphics emblazoned on the outside and multi-coloured print or imagery, essentially creating an envelope that is easy to identify in the heap full of direct mail that a customer might inevitably receive.

Minimalism, on the other hand, has forced many business owners to realise that there is sometimes great benefit to be found in leaving space between certain design elements and picking out striking yet solid colours to achieve a fantastic impact within print media. This concept implores business owners to only focus on the essentials of the design process. Here it is reiterated that too much disorder or clutter on the envelope design will not make for an attractive marketing device.

It is important, then, to strike a balance here. If you overdo the design in an effort to make the envelope stand out, you may risk producing something that looks overly stuffed and is consequently discarded. Try to achieve a design that incorporates elements of minimalism while standing out to the customer; one way to reinforce good practices here is to look at the next heap of direct mail you get through your door – which envelope stands out to you the most? This can encourage you to strike the correct balance.


Compelling copy is absolutely essential, because once the design has been established (as the first thing that the customer will perceive) it’s then vitally important to draw them in with some fantastic copy. Here you can use the different marketing buzzwords and appeals (security, desire, emotion) and transform them into effectively persuasive words to grab the attention of the reader.

What should also ideally be included is a call to action, where you impel the reader to open the envelope and read on. Inferring a sense of rapid urgency is always worthwhile; for example, ‘read more about these fantastic benefits inside… RIGHT NOW!’. Little marketing tips such as these can make a vast difference.


A personalised envelope that includes the name of a brand or customer will instantly be more enticing than any other direct mail that person is receiving. In this way direct mail marketing can be a powerful and cost-effective way to achieve a sense of familiarity between you and your customer. Personalisation ultimately transfers over into higher conversion and retention rates, so when considering any envelope design, make sure you take into account the benefits of personalisation!

Direct mail

Remember that an envelope effectively acts as the subject line to the direct mail email enclosed (to use online analogies). This is because it is the first thing a customer will inevitably see, and also plays a vital role in catching someone’s attention and forcing them to engage with the content. When considering the design of the envelope, it might be worth remembering the 3:33 rule, taking into account the:

  • 3 seconds you have to catch the attention of the reader
  • 30 seconds you have to maintain the reader’s interest
  • 3 minutes you have for the rest of the direct mail to be read

 Alpha Response are direct marketing specialists offering expert Printing, Mailing, and Integrated services in and around Gloucestershire. If you’d like to know a bit more about how we can help you turn your transactional documentation into highly efficient marketing tools, then take a look at our website www.alpharesponse.ltd or give us a call on 03300 563 980 – we’d be happy to help!