Is there a template for a letter that allows for the letterhead to have some of its elements on the side (in the left/right margin) in a vertical column or sidebar including a business logo?

Somewhat like

or

If there is no such template, what would be the best way to create one (for someone who has not created a LaTeX template before)?

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Hi certainly, Welcome to TeX.SE! You'll find this is a friendly group :) Perhaps to get you started, you might look at either the article document class with a suitably customized page dimensions using the geometry package, or perhaps the letter document class –  cmhughes May 15 '12 at 14:45

I once created a scrlttr2 template with the contact information on the right and custom TikZ drawings on the top. It should be adoptable fairly easily. One can find the TeX code here: TeX code

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Wow - thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for. (BTW, I am a regular reader of your blog, too.) No I only have to find my way around the *.lco-file and everything will be perfect. –  certainly May 16 '12 at 4:55
@Uwe Ziegenhagen Hi! I like very much the letter template that you created, but when I open the "Tex Code", I found only the codes of a standard letter...Can you help me? –  Ford Prefect Jul 31 '13 at 22:35
Sure I can: The logic to draw the rounded boxes is provided in the lco file (also in the zip from the link). This way scrlttr2 separates the content (of the letter) from the actual layout (in the lco) –  Uwe Ziegenhagen Aug 1 '13 at 3:45

My university has a letterhead like this, and I created a package using the textpos package. Here's very simplified version of a letter using the basic mechanisms I use in that package. The package itself is more complicated than this, since it allows for multiple graphical element options, and different coloured logos etc. But this should be enough to get you going:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{geometry}
\usepackage[absolute]{textpos}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\usepackage[svgnames]{xcolor}

% replace these with your \includegraphics commands to insert the graphical components
\newcommand*\graphicOne{{\color{red!80}\rule{2.5in}{.5in}}}
\newcommand*\graphicTwo{{\color{green!80}\rule{1in}{1.5in}}}
\newcommand*\graphicThree{{\color{blue!80}\rule{1in}{.5in}}}
\newcommand*\graphicFour{{\color{red!80}\rule{1in}{.1in}}}

\geometry{paper=letterpaper,lmargin=1.83in, rmargin=1in,tmargin=.83in,bmargin=.75in}
\setlength{\TPHorizModule}{1in}
\setlength{\TPVertModule}{1in}
\setlength{\marginparwidth}{1.5in}
\setlength{\marginparsep}{0pt}
\begin{document}
%
\reversemarginpar
\pagestyle{empty}
{\marginpar{\begin{textblock}{2.4}(1.65,.83)
\graphicOne
\end{textblock}}
\marginpar{\begin{textblock}{1.5}(.25,5.42)
\centering\graphicTwo\par\vspace{.25in}\graphicThree
\end{textblock}}
\marginpar{\begin{textblock}{1.5}(.5,10.5)
\graphicFour
\end{textblock}}%
\vspace{.5in}
}
\today

To whom it may concern:
\end{document}


Some comments on how to do this. In my letterhead, I place the text of the letterhead also as a graphical element rather than typeset it directly. This allows (i) for absolute placement of the text relative to the other graphical elements and (ii) the letterhead text to contain proprietary fonts that otherwise would need to be installed on users' machines. So in my actual letterhead, the elements corresponding the \graphicOne and \graphicThree are actual graphics, while \graphicTwo and \graphicFour are in fact text. I also have PDF and EPS versions of all so that the package can be used with any TeX engine. But these are details that may not concern you.

One downside of this sort of letterhead is that you are faced with two options with respect to margins: make the left margin wide for the whole document or adjust the second page using \newgeometry. This of course will force a new page, and it's not automatic.

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Thank you very much for your detailed explanation! I am going to use your example together with the scrlttr2-class as suggested by @schmendrich. –  certainly May 16 '12 at 4:43

http://www.komascript.de/files/KOMA-Script-3-Buch-Beispielcode.zip

This file contains some examples from the Komascript book. In "Anhang E" are some good letter examples. Two of them have the letterhead on the right side. It is a good base to work from. Would like to see your results.

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The scrlttr2-class looks like it comes pretty close to what I was looking for. I have to admit that I still like the g-brief2-class best for all the options it provides for a business letter template. Unfortunately, the only area where it does not provide enough control is with the letterhead. So I am going to use scrlttr2 as my starting point and use elements of the examle @Alan Munn provided. If my results are going to look like they could be of interest, I will post a follow-up here. –  certainly May 16 '12 at 4:47