How to Format a Letterhead

A businessman is typing a letter.
... John Rowley/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Back in the day, if you wanted personalized letterhead, you had to order it from a printer and wait several days for it to be produced. Now virtually anyone with a word processing program can create a quality letterhead in a relatively short amount of time. It shouldn't take days, but you should take the time to experiment with fonts that reflect your style and personality. Business letterhead serves as an extension of a brand, and, in a way, you're a brand, too, with an image to convey. Keep your letterhead simple and uncluttered, with only your vital contact information at the top of the page.

1 Have Fun With Fonts

Select a font not only by scanning the choices in your word processing program but by actually writing your name in several fonts to see how they look on the page. Fonts such as Times New Roman and Georgia include serifs, or the little “hooks” at the end of letters such as “d” and “l.” These fonts look more formal than sans-serif fonts such as Arial and Verdana. Keep in mind that, in general, serifs are generally easier to read on pages that are printed; sans-serif fonts are easier on the eyes on electronic communications, such as e-mails.

Decide whether you wish to use two different fonts on your letterhead, one for your name and another for your contact information below it. There is no “right” way to create a letterhead, but one with two different fonts will generally make your name stand out, especially if you increase the font size. Make it as memorable as you wish to be.

2 Keep It Simple

Center your name on the page, as well as all the information below it. On separate lines, type your pertinent contact information, including your street address; city, state and zip code; phone number; and e-mail address. Take a step back from your letterhead or, better yet, put it aside for a while and return to it with a fresh pair of eyes. Collectively, if the letterhead looks too crowded, add a line of space between your name and contact information.

3 Easy Does It

Formatting a letterhead can be fun – and empowering. But try to harness the temptation to “clutter up” your letterhead with squiggly lines, boxes and especially graphics. A simple, horizontal line that stretches across the top of the page and separates your name from your contact information might provide a pleasing aesthetic touch, but add it only after discerning whether it adds appeal or an element of distraction to your letterhead.

With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.