Letterheads are a critical element of formal business communication in Australia, often serving as a reflection of a company’s or individual’s professional identity. As a key component of corporate stationery, they incorporate specific design elements that represent the organisation’s ethos and branding.


Here’s an in-depth look at their characteristics and uses:

Design and Layout:

  • Typically, a letterhead features the company’s logo, name, contact information, and occasionally, a corporate slogan or tagline.
  • The design is usually placed at the top but can also be positioned on the sides or bottom, tailored to style preferences.
  • The layout is carefully constructed to maintain professionalism while reflecting the brand identity.

Paper Quality:

  • Letterheads are printed on premium quality paper, reflecting attention to detail and professionalism.
  • The paper is generally thicker and more durable than standard printing paper, with options for matte, textured, or linen finishes.

Colour Scheme and Typography:

  • The colour scheme and typography align with the company’s branding guidelines, ensuring consistency across all branded materials like business cards and marketing collateral.


  • Formal Business Communication: Essential for official correspondence including contracts, proposals, quotes, and invoices.
  • Legal Documents: Adds formality and legitimacy to legal documents, crucial for legal and official communications.
  • Corporate Identity: Reinforces a company’s brand identity, ensuring recognition and professionalism in communications.
  • Marketing and Promotion: While indirect, letterheads contribute to brand promotion through consistent presentation of the company’s image.
  • Internal Documents: Used for internal memos, notices, and reports to uphold a standard, professional format within the organisation.


  • Many organisations use a standard template for their letterheads, but customisation options are available to cater to various purposes or departments within a company.

In Australia, letterheads are vital in establishing credibility and professionalism in business communications. They are more than just a medium for information; they also serve as a crucial aspect of branding and corporate identity, ensuring a consistent and professional image in all business dealings.

The history of letterheads is deeply intertwined with the development of printing and stationery, dating back several centuries. While pinpointing the exact origins of the first letterhead is tricky, key milestones in their evolution highlight the gradual emergence of this concept:

  1. Renaissance Era: During the 14th to 17th centuries, the use of emblems or watermarks on paper began. This practice in the Renaissance period can be seen as an early form of branding, similar to modern letterheads, often featuring symbols or crests of the paper maker or the writer.

  2. 17th and 18th Centuries: The advancement in printing technology, especially with the introduction of the movable type printing press, led to the increased use of personalised stationery among the aristocracy and wealthy merchants. These weren’t letterheads in the modern sense, but they often included family crests or seals, serving a similar purpose.

  3. 19th Century: The Industrial Revolution ushered in significant advancements in printing technology, making it easier and more cost-effective to mass-produce personalised stationery. This era likely saw the emergence of letterheads that more closely resemble those used today, with businesses and organisations starting to include their names, addresses, and logos on their stationery.

  4. Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries: This time marked the real proliferation of letterheads as a business tool, coinciding with the rise of corporate culture and mass marketing. Businesses began to recognise the importance of branding and consistent communication, leading to the widespread adoption of letterheads in professional correspondence.

The evolution of letterheads reflects changes in printing technology, business practices, and communication styles. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, letterheads had become a staple of business and formal communication, a practice that continues into the present day.