I was recently asked to design a thank you letter.

The question I have is how to layout the text if there's not enough to fill the A4 paper? Are there some general principles that are good to follow? The text I have looks more or less like:

[Company logo]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Etiam semper nulla vitae ornare feugiat. Integer aliquet diam ex, nec mollis mauris consectetur vel.

Your sincerely

[company name]

How should this look like on the page? How much spacing should there be between the text and "yours sincerely"?

The client does not like the idea of leaving the bottom half of the letter empty.


This is a good question, and the answer is not so easy :)

The less content the more design effort must be done. (less is more) and don’t worry about white spaces because spaces is quite nice when you design it in a good manner.

My answer will be base over three main axes

First the content, second the layout design, third the way you will fold the letter.

I will start with the third point.

The way you will fold your letter will determine on which folded side will be your content. The folded lines is somehow will be a part of your design and it could enrich the content you are presenting by categorizing the content in each folded area.

Most probably you will have two choice folding your letter, the first one is the tri fold letter or the Z fold letter …your choice will be the basement of your letter layout design.

enter image description here

Why we consider the fold? Because your letter will be read first when it is folded the time it will be pulled out from its envelop. Oh by the way the envelop is another factor but we will not go through it.

Let’s say you will fold it Z fold letter, that’s mean you have three main areas must be considered to distribute your content. The cover, the inside middle page and the inside lower page.

ps. some Z fold make the cover inside, personally I dont like it.

enter image description here

The cover page should contain the company logo and the company name it may contain the name of The recipient the inside pages may contain the letter text and the lower folded page may contain the sender information and the signature, and if there is a footer it may be appear in that part. Modern letters layout have no footer.

The Second point is the design content issue, where to put what we decided to put in the first point?

Following the folding areas there is another proportion lines we have to consider when deciding where to put your content.

  1. The paper folded area (it will follow the rule of third) (green lines)
  2. The Golden section proportion which is the exact A4 proportion (red Lines)
  3. The paper margin (blue Lines), top and bottom margins may differ according to the ratio determine by the diagonal dotted line as shown hereunder image
  4. A grid of 4*4 in the working area (orange lines) to distribute the elements vertically
  5. The diagonal line from the top left to the lower right

enter image description hereenter image description here

From all the above proportions guides I may select the best part to represent my content and not be afraid about any huge white spaces. Respecting propotion may lead to the human eye comfort. The Intersected area is the shaded one which will contain the letter content.

Now comes to the content

Most probably you may need more text to put without touching the main “Thank you wording” the official business letters must have some elements and @JoostS listed some of it, and I will put my two penny, Vertical lines and the watermarks could be an added value in the design and may break the white spaces a little.

enter image description here

The final notes, you may choose between good papers material color and texture will enrich your letter so much, don't use a plain white papers. and of course sing the letter by a ink pen.

the example below is a sample of a letter following all the above rules.

enter image description here enter image description here


Don't be afraid of white space. It doesn't burn the reader's eyes, I promise. Bring in your margins a little, and if the client doesn't like it, ask him to write more copy. But honestly, a letter is a letter, and even ones which get framed have a certain amount of blank space. Your client is overthinking it.


Add elements that take up lots of space, like:

  • a seperate subject line
  • a big company logo
  • an address block
  • a reference or client number
  • the companies contact information
  • client contact details
  • a disclaimer
  • a message urging the receiver to recycle the paper
  • a message telling the receiver where to find extra information online
  • the slogan of the company in the footer in a big font
  • the words 'thank you', really big somewhere on the paper
  • etcetera...

And, yes, use LOTS of white space.

An additional idea [edit]: Are you going to send it in an A4 envelope? If not, use more expensive thicker paper and print it on envelope sized paper (do not fold it).

  • 1
    If OP wants to accommodate his clients requests then yes, but anecdotally, it very much annoys me receiving letters like this.
    – Cai
    Dec 24 '16 at 19:49

Make it DL sized and drop it in a DL card. DL is 1/3 high as a portrait-oriented A4, so instead of having a folded A4, have it in DL. Which makes it easier to work with your short text.

FYI DL is 99x210 cm.

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