I send out a lot of direct mail. And one of the things I regularly test is paper and envelope types for mailings.
I know that a DL-sized envelope gets a bigger response than C5 envelope. But what’s really significant is paper colour. A letter sent in a white envelope pulls significantly fewer responses than one sent in vellum wove.
I have kept testing this because I can see that white is more modern – indeed, more what people expect someone in the public relations industry to be using. My industry’s use of papers such as Advocate Xtreme White or Conqueror Diamond White is commonplace.
But every time I run a test, vellum wove brings in more trade.
The result is that vellum wove paper is part of my brand. It works. But why?
Well, it turns out that some people find the contrast between very bright white paper and black print difficult to follow. I don’t know how the research was conducted, but many organisations concerned with disabilities say don’t use white paper.
The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education says: “some people with dyslexic tendencies find the contrast of black print on white paper difficult to cope with. They may find text easier to read if it is presented on cream or off-white paper, or even a pale pastel colour. Glossy paper causes glare.”
Well, vellum is a rich cream, so dyslexia – which affects 10 per cent of the public to some extent, and 4 per cent – might be part of the reason why vellum wove does well.
In addition, I just think white paper – even if it’s thick and watermarked – can look banal and cheap.