Avoid these to save money and get your mail delivered on time.

There are several common pitfalls that mailers make when designing and addressing mail that can not only cost you additional postage but also delay your delivery. Knowing some basic rules and planning ahead will save you time, money, and headache.

6 Most Common Mail Design Mistakes to Avoid:

Mail Design Mistakes
  1. Address formatting – The US Postal Service prefers that addresses be in all CAPS and that the size of your font be anywhere between 8 and 12 points. Format your address from the bottom to the top with the most general information at the bottom, meaning the city, state, or zip code, and the most specific information at the top, all the way up to the recipient’s name.
  2. Maintain a clear zone for your barcode to get automated rates – Unless you’re printing an address block with an intelligent mail barcode on it, you need to ensure that clear space is allowed for the IMb to be sprayed on the envelope. Measuring from the bottom right corner, the clear space needs to be four and three-quarters inches wide and five-eighths of an inch high. This area should contain no print or graphics.
  3. Extraneous print in the address box – There should be no additional information in the address box other than the information necessary to deliver the mail piece. You don’t want to confuse presort equipment with extra information. The address box should only include the recipient’s name, street, city, state, and zip code.
  4. Self-mailer construction – The USPS has many variations for folded self-mailers. It’s important to follow the guidelines for each variation to ensure your piece is meeting tabbing and mailing requirements.  Whenever you’re designing a self-mailer, check the USPS website to ensure that your mail piece is eligible to receive automated rates.
  5. Shifting contents – When you’re using a window envelope and the delivery address is put on a piece that’s inside, make sure that the piece does not shift, obscuring any part of the deliverable address. The mailing address needs to be seen through the window envelope to be read by the OCR scanning equipment. Oftentimes, if your piece is shifting, a slight change in the fold can correct the problem.
  6. Background color contrast – White and pastel colors are best for mailing address area. When using a darker colored stock or heavy ink on a mail piece it’s best to use what’s called a knockout area, this will ensure that the scanning equipment can read your mailing address.

Overall, the easier you can make it for the post office to process your mail and create fewer obstacles to their equipment the quicker and more affordable it will be to reach your audience’s mailbox.

If you have any questions, please make sure you check with your MailSmart logistics team. We are happy to help ensure that you’re designing mail pieces to meet all the USPS regulations to obtain the best, automated rates as well as to ensure timely delivery of your mail.