Envelopes are used frequently everyday and are still the leading source of packaging information and papers to be sent out to others. A bit of background on envelopes are that the very first iterations of envelopes were developed all the way back to 3500 B.C where molded clay was used to cover over coins during business transactions. The paper envelopes that we know today however started in 2nd century B.C in China used to enclose monetary gifts. Even dating as far back as they have, envelopes have still retained the same purpose of enclosing gifts, information, currency, etc for delivering. Envelopes were handmade until 1840, when Englishman George Wilson invented a process in which envelope patterns were tiled over long sheets of paper. This made it easier for users to cut and assemble their own envelopes with more precision and less paper waste.Today however, envelopes are created out of pieces of paper cut into one of three shapes, being a rhombus, a short-armed cross, and a kite shape. Although envelopes come in all sizes and thicknesses, there are only 13 standard standard envelope sizes in the United States.
These sizes are the following:
6 1/4 Comm 6 1/4 Remit: inches: 3.5 x 6 (mm: 88.9 x 152.4)
No. 6 3/4: inches: 3.625 x 6.5 (mm: 92.075 x 165.1)
8 5/8: inches: 3.625 x 8.625 (mm: 92.075 x 219.075)
7: inches: 3.75 x 6.75 (mm: 95.25 x 171.45)
Monarch (7 3/4): inches: 3.875 x 7.5 (mm: 98.425 x 190.5)
No. 9: inches: 3.875 x 8.875 (mm: 98.425 x 225.425)
9 (policy): inches: 4 x 9 (mm: 101.6 x 228.6)
No. 10: inches: 4.125 x 9.5 (mm: 104.775 x 241.3)
DL: inches: 4.313 x 8.625 (mm: 109.5502 x 219.075)
11: inches: 4.5 x 10.375 (mm: 114.3 x 262.525)
12: inches: 4.75 x 11 (mm: 120.65 x 279.4)
14: inches: 5 x 11.5 (mm: 127 x 292.1)
16: inches: 6 x 12 (mm: 152.4 x 304.8)
Out of all of these different standard sizes of envelopes, the most commonly used and most popular size of envelop is the No. 10 envelope. Just like paper itself, and printing processes, the choice of envelope can make a dramatic difference in the over all aesthetic and impression that the piece gives off. For example, using a standard No.10 envelope is great for sending taxes, bills, and informative documents, even money, but this type of envelope would not be good for something like a formal wedding invitation in which you would want something more beautiful, more elegant. For invitations an A7 envelope is most likely the better choice because an A7 measures at 5 (1/4) x 7 (1/4) which will fit a standard 5×7 card very nicely and professionally.
All in all, choosing the right envelope is a combination of finding the right style, paper, size and message. Depending on what is being sent can make a big difference in choice of envelope. When it comes to bills the windowed envelope is the most commonly used choice as it provides a visible area of the bill on the envelope. However, this type of envelope would not be good for per say, a birthday invitation or event invitation because windowed envelopes do not communicate the message of invitation. A better choice for this would be a Baronial style envelope which is smaller in size, more compact, more elegant in appearance / aesthetic, which communicates that this is most likely an invitation of some sort.
Different types of envelopes include:
More formal and traditional than the A-style envelopes, baronials are deeper and have a large pointed flap. They are popular for invitations, greeting cards, announcements.
Most commonly used for announcements, invitations, cards, brochures or promotional pieces, these envelopes typically have square flaps and come in a variety of sizes.
Square envelopes are often used for announcements, advertising, specialty greeting cards and invitations.
The most popular envelopes for business correspondence, commercial envelopes come with a variety of flap styles including commercial, square and policy.
Typically larger than the announcement envelopes, booklet envelopes are most often used catalogs, folders and brochures.
Well-suited for face-to-face sales presentations, leave-behind presentations and mailing multiple documents.