Mailing and Postal

Many marketers find mailing to be intimidating with all the rules and regulations that are constantly changing. That is what we are here for. We help you navigate all the rules and send out great direct mail. There are many tips and tricks here for you, but if you have a specific question please call us 619-448-6111 or email info@eyecomm.org we are here to help you.

 As a general rule the post office raises postage rates once per year in January, so be on the lookout for notices about rate changes usually in November.

 Here are some other things to consider when planning a direct mail campaign.

 Almost every day we get this question from a client. Since the post office has made mailing very complicated, there are many times that a design element causes a mailing to go at a higher rate of postage. This can be frustrating as well as expensive. In order to help you stay away from potential issues here are some things to keep in mind as you are preparing a direct mail campaign.

Postal Requirements by mail category:

  • Postcards: 3.5 x 5 – 4.25 x 6 in size
  1. a) Paper stock must be a minimum of .007 thick
  2. b) Keep your aspect ratio between 1.3 – 2.5 (length divided by height)
  3. c) Addressing area: There are two options for addressing a postcard. Barcode in the address block:  4 x 2 clear area, no varnish, UV coating, text, or images for the address block. The block needs to be a minimum .5 inches from the right edge and .625 inches from bottom edge. The block can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches. Barcode clear zone addressing: The barcode clear zone is the bottom 5/8 of the postcard and must be free of all color, text and images. Next the address block must be a minimum .5 inches from the right edge and minimum of .625 inches from bottom edge. The block can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches.
  • Self-Mailers: 3.5 x 5 – 6 x 10.5 in size
  1. a) Paper stock must be a minimum of: under an ounce you need to use 70lb or greater stock and over 1 ounce will need 80lb or greater stock.
  2. b) Keep your aspect ratio between 1.3 – 2.5 (length divided by height)
  3. c) Addressing area: There are two options for addressing a postcard. Barcode in the address block:  4 x 2 clear area, no varnish, UV coating, text, or images for the address block. The block needs to be a minimum .5 inches from the right edge and .625 inches from bottom edge. The block can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches. Barcode clear zone addressing: The barcode clear zone is the bottom 5/8 of the postcard and must be free of all color, text and images. Next the address block must be a minimum .5 inches from the right edge and minimum of .625 inches from bottom edge. The block can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches.
  4. d) Folding requirements are very strict. There are two kinds of folds horizontal and vertical. For horizontal folds: the final fold is below the mail panel. This can be an 8.5 x 11 half folded, an 11 x 17 half folded and half folded again and so on. If you use the 11 x 17 keep in mind that the first half fold needs to be to the right of the mail panel, the second below it. For vertical folds: the final fold is to the right of the mail panel.
  5. e) Tabbing or fugitive glue closures are required. If tabbing: up to 1 ounce mailer needs two 1” tabs, mailers over 1 ounce needs two 1.5” tabs and If you are using perforations or inserts it needs two 2” tabs. If fugitive gluing: use a continuous glue line of 1/8 inch wide or glue spots of 3/8 inch diameter, 3 to 4 spots or elongated glue lines 1/8 inch wide, 3 to 4 lines. On a horizontal fold you will have two tabs above the mail panel or two to the right and one to the left. On a vertical fold you will have one tab above mail panel and one to the left or two to the left.
  6. f) Poly bag/envelope: If you use a poly bag or envelope your mail will have to go at flat postage rates. You cannot use them with letter size mail.
  • Booklets:  3.5 x 5 – 6 x 10.5 in size, a booklet consists of multiple sheets or pages that are bound by saddle‐stitching, perfect binding, pressed glue or other binding method that creates a nearly uniformly thick mail piece.
  1. a) Paper stock Minimum weight for the cover is 40# to 80# book depending on the design.
  2. b) Keep your aspect ratio between 1.3 – 2.5 (length divided by height)
  3. c) Addressing area: There are two options for addressing a postcard. Barcode in the address block:  4 x 2 clear area, no varnish, UV coating, text, or images for the address block. The block needs to be a minimum .5 inches from the right edge and .625 inches from bottom edge. The block can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches. Barcode clear zone addressing: The barcode clear zone is the bottom 5/8 of the postcard and must be free of all color, text and images. Next the address block must be a minimum .5 inches from the right edge and minimum of .625 inches from bottom edge. The block can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches.
  4. d) Binding requirements allow for two locations on the binding. You may either bind to the right of the mail panel or to the left of the mail panel.
  5. e) Tabbing: 3 tabs are required with a minimum 1 ½ inch diameter and they may not be perforated. If binding is below mail panel, then two tabs are required to the right of the mail panel and 1 tab to the left. If the binding is to the right of the mail panel, then two tabs are required above the mail panel and one tab to the left.
  6. f) Poly bag/envelope: If you use a poly bag or envelope your mail will have to go at flat postage rates. You cannot use them with letter size mail.
  • Flats: 6.126 x 11.51 – 12 x 15
  1. a) For flats the minimum paper stock thickness is .009.
  2. b) Addressing area: Flats are required to have address blocks in the upper half of the short edge. For instance, with an 8.5 x 11 mailer you would need to address from the top of the piece down only to 5.5, do not address below the 5.5. There is no barcode clear zone for flats. You will need to use an address block that includes the barcode, a 4 x 2 clear area, no varnish, UV coating, text, or images. You must also make sure that you have at least a .125 clearance for the address block from the edge of the piece and any text or graphics.
  3. c) Folding or binding: The fold or binding must be to the right of the mail panel. This is for self-mailers, if you are using a poly bag or envelope this is not necessary.
  4. d) Poly bagging: If you use a poly bag the maximum extra space you can have inside the bag from the edge of the piece to the edge of the bag is .5.

Your best bet is to design your mailer and then send a pdf to us in order to find any problems with the design. We can help to make sure you are automation compliant and save on postage. As you are going through the process, do not let it stop your creativity. It is the unique and creative pieces that get the recipients attention and increase your ROI.