How to Center Your Calligraphy on Envelopes
A question I get all of the time is - how in the world do you center addresses so nicely on envelopes?! Besides a lot of practice and knowing my own style very well, there is one very easy way I’ve found that helps ensure nearly perfect centering on the first try. Enter: Microsoft Office. I absolutely love a technology solution, and this one is super simple. While the old fashioned way is somethings more satisfying, in this case it would be WAY more time consuming. And time = money.
First things first I always ask my envelope calligraphy clients to send me their address list in Excel or Google Sheets (if they have it). I have a pre-made template that I send to each and every client with instructions to save myself a little time (hellooo workflow! remember when I said time = money?) I also collect in advance how they want their addresses justified (center, left, right or diagonal) and if they want their zip code in line with the city & state or dropped to a new line and spread out.
Once I have all of these things, I open trusty Microsoft Word and follow these simple steps:
1. Open a Word document and select “Mailings”
2. Along the top and then click “Start a Mail Merge”
3. Select “Directory”
4. Click “Select Recipients” and then “Use an Existing List”. Find your Excel list and click “ok”
5. Click “Insert Merge Field” and select each part of the address individually. Press enter between each line and format it the way you want to address your envelope. Make sure to add a comma after “city”! If you are centering your addresses, make sure to format them center on the page. You can also use a “calligraphy” font if that helps you with spacing.
When you’ve selected each part of the addresses, it should look like this:
6. Select “Finish & Merge” and “Edit Individual Documents”. This will open up a new word document with your addresses listed!
Before printing, I scroll through the whole document to make sure nothing weird happened and that there aren’t funny spaces anywhere. If you find that you have an extra space in all of the addresses, it’s because it was there in step 5. All you have to do is go back and fix it and remerge. Easy peasy! If there are any super long names that I know won’t fit on one line, I fix it in the Word doc before printing so that I don’t have to take a stab in the dark when I get to that envelope (or type it up and print it).
I do this exact same process for left or right justified envelopes. Left justified are the simplest, but it is nice to see the relationship of the letters (where you may have some intersection of descenders and ascenders) and how long the names are in case I need to modify where I start the address in relation to the edge of the envelope.
Finally, this process just reminds me when I’m working of exactly what the client ordered. When you are churning out a lot of envelopes it is easy to get mixed up about who wants what - so this is just an extra layer of insurance!
An additional step you can take is to put the addresses all in a calligraphy style font or in an italic to get a better sense of how much room they take up. I usually stick to a basic serif font because it’s easier to read.
Was this helpful at all in learning how to center your addresses? Do you have any tricks you’d like to share? I would love to hear your tricks for getting it right on the first try!