Personal stationery can say a lot about you, advertising your attention to detail and love of the finer things in life. It will endow your communications with gravitas, and ensure that they are given the recipient’s full attention.
If bespoke stationery is not possible, eschew cheap, low-quality stock. Well-chosen writing paper, envelopes and correspondence cards will show that you have taken some trouble.
For a comprehensive guide to addressing people with titles, as well as other correct forms of address, please click here.
Personal letters should be handwritten on white, ivory or cream paper, with a minimum weight of 100 gsm to avoid show through. The standard size is either W6¼ x H8 inches (16 x 20 cm) or W5½ x H7 inches (14 x 18 cm).
More contemporary styles may be in more adventurous colours, with matching or contrasting envelopes.
Watermarked paper is usually a sign of good quality.
Use a lined undersheet to keep text straight, and use black or blue ink.
A personal letterhead should include postal address and telephone number.
Do not include your name or email address in a letterhead used for purely social personal correspondence.
If budget allows, have letterheads engraved.
Envelopes for private correspondence should be of a suitable size, allowing for the writing paper to only be folded once or twice. They should have gummed diamond flaps.
Traditionally the colour should match the writing paper.
More expensive envelopes can be tissue lined, again either in a matching or contrasting colour – a sign of quality and individuality.
Correspondence cards should be postcard-sized [W6 x H4½ inches (15 x 11 cm)], and a printed on card of a minimum of 300 gsm.
They include the name, address, telephone number and, more frequently now, the e-mail address.
When a postal address is not permanent, the cards can be printed with just a name, mobile telephone number and email address.
Correspondence cards are always sent in an envelope.
A rarer, yet useful, addition is a folded card, known as an ‘informal’, sized W4 x H3 inches (10 x 7.5 cm) with the name printed on the front without any prefixes, for example, ‘Charlotte Debrett’. An informal can be used like a personal compliments slip.