Beware of Cheap Letterhead

I urge readers to beware of printers offering letterhead at $199.00/500 sheets or less, you could end up with burnt Chips Ahoy and a big mess.

All “letterhead” is not created equal.  I have used quotations around the word letterhead because what some printers are calling letterhead is not letterhead at all: they are flyers!

So what is the difference between letterhead and flyers?

In a word – usage.  What happens to a flyer?  Well, for the most part flyers are distributed somehow and read by customers and discarded, pretty simple, eh?  This lifecycle is usually pretty short, a month at most.  On the other hand the way we use letterhead is completely different; for the most part we print letters using our in-house laser printer, onto the letterhead.  We also keep the letterhead around for a longer time, about a year on average.  So why does this make a difference…

Chocolate chip vs. Biscotti…


For those of you who bake, you know that biscotti are a “twice baked” cookie.   You form the dough into a log and bake it.  Then cool the log and cut it into the familiar biscotti shape and put it back into the oven and bake again.  The result is a hard cookie.  Why in the name of all that is good and pure would you do this!  Well the answer can only be experienced by dipping the biscotti into cappuccino before eating.  Leave it to the Italians to invent a complex, multi faceted culinary delight.

Now quickly imagine opening a package of “Chips Ahoy” and baking the cookies for twenty minutes…melted chocolate chips, burned onto the cookie-sheet and toasted dark brown cookies – not very appetizing.

Letterhead is like biscotti – flyers are burnt Chips Ahoy!

Letterhead is created during a process of printing using liquid ink and water where the ink is absorbed into the paper and in essence the colour is contained below the surface of the paper.  Flyers are printed using a cheaper digital toner process where the toner is fused, i.e.  baked, onto the surface of the paper.

So what happens when you print a letter onto your letterhead – well, nothing goes awry, the letterhead is created to be used in this way.  Conversely, when you try to print your letter onto your flyer, the twice-backing action of using your laser printer causes the toner on the flyer to crinkle, become hard and brittle.  If you are printing a number of letters onto flyers the buildup of heat in your laser printer can cause the toner from the flyer to transfer back to the drum or rollers of the laser printer, rendering the printer in need of repair.

In closing I urge readers to beware of printers offering “letterhead” at $199.00/500 sheets or less, you could end up with burnt Chips Ahoy and a big mess.

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