Presentation on theme: "This is the mailpiece design tutorial for Automated First Class Folded Mailers. This presentation will aid you in the design and layout of this specific."— Presentation transcript:
This is the mailpiece design tutorial for Automated First Class Folded Mailers. This presentation will aid you in the design and layout of this specific type of mailpiece. For all other mailpieces, please visit the WSU Campus Post Office website at for additional tutorials. If you have downloaded this presentation to keep on your computer, please be sure to contact us at so that if mailing requirements change we can contact you with By using this tutorial to design your mailpiece, you agree to use all information here completely and correctly. Failing to do so may cause your mailing to be unusable.
First, we will look at the initial design and layout of an automation- compatible folded mailer. After we have finished, we will then look at some other options you have in your design. To begin, a folded mailer is defined as a single piece of paper or several pieces of paper that have been folded together, bound or not, to be sent without an outer covering or envelope to contain it. Even if the design of your folded mailer allows it to fit the size or shape of another mailpiece, like a post card, after the piece is folded it is considered a folded mailer. In folding your mailer, there are different designs which are compatible with machine processing and U.S. Post Office requirements. Folding your mailer correctly will greatly improve the processing and delivery service for your mailing. In deciding how to fold your mailer the two important distinction to make is first between open edges and folded edges and second between leading edges and trailing edges. As a rule, mailers should be folded so the leading edge is also a folded edge, and the trailing edge should be the open edge. Open edges and folded edges are easy to see; simply the open edges and the folded edge(s)of the final shape of the mailer. The leading and trailing edges are also easy to understand. Leading edges are the first to go through a processing or sorting machine, while the trailing edge is the last.
Here is an illustration to help show the leading and trailing edges: So, the leading edges should be folded edges and the trailing edges should be open edges:
But what if your mailer has more than one folded edge? Let’s look at what is commonly known as a tri-folded mailer. A sheet of normal office or copy paper, folded into thirds as if it were a letter to be placed in an envelope, has two folds and one opening. In this case, the mailer should open at the top rather than the bottom, as shown below, with the addressing and postage pictured to show how the mailer is oriented.
Another example illustrates which edge should have the final fold if the mailer has more than one folded edge. Take another piece of regular copy or office paper lay it on its long edge. Fold it first across its width- Then fold it in half again.
The final fold is along the bottom edge of the mailer. The right edge of the mailer is also a folded edge, but the bottom edge would be the final fold. While neither of the open edges would be thought of as “final,” these examples help illustrate how any mailer should be folded in order to have folded edges and the final folded edge in the correct place. A final word about folding your mailer-hand folded mailers rarely give the needed precision for processing mail. WSU Printing Service is able to use a machine to fold your mailers which will allow us to use them. This picture shows how you would properly orient the addressing and postage for a folded mailer like this (known as a quad fold).
Now we will look at the final size of the mailer after it has been completely folded. In order to automate the mailing, the ratio of its length divided by its height must fall into a certain range, between 1.3 and 2.5. For example, look at this first sample: The length of this mailer divided by its height (9.5 inches divided by 4.5 inches) is Therefore, it can be used for an automated mailing. This is referred to as its Aspect Ratio.
Now, look at this next sample: The Aspect Ratio here is one (4.5 inches divided by 4.5 inches). Because this is not between 1.3 and 2.5, this illustrates why you could not use a design where the final folded shape had the wrong Aspect Ratio for an automated mailing. However, folded mailers that do not have the correct Aspect Ratio for automated mail may be sent using other types of bulk mail. If the shape of your mailer when it is completely folded is odd-sized, please refer to our tutorial on oversized mailpieces for manual bulk mail.
In order to help give a better idea of compatible Aspect Ratio for automated mail, a visual template is available. The template is shown below, but while the scale is visible, for a completely accurate copy please contact the Campus Post Office. The templates are available free of charge but may be subject to occasional shortages in supply. The template is correctly used by aligning your mailer’s lower left corner at the point indicated on the template here: Then, ensuring that the left and bottom edge are also aligned along the left and bottom lines on the template, if the upper right corner of your mailer (where the postage would be placed) falls in the shaded gray area, then it meets standard-sizing requirements. If not, the mailer is not standard-sized, and likely will not qualify for automated mail.
Now that we understand how the final shape of your folded mailer affects automation compatibility, we can look at the various types of folded mailers. Different designs will have different requirements in order to be mailable through the U.S. Post Office, depending on how they are folded and what kind of paper is used. Here are some common examples:
As you can see, while every type of mailer is different, each does have some of the same requirements. For example, each style of Folded Mailer must have the open edge secured in order to be mailable. The best way to do this is by using self-adhesive white tabs folded around the final opening. For example, if you were to use a folded mailer that required two tabs along the top of the mailer, the tabs would be placed as shown below. In this example, the top edge of the mailer is open and the tabs (which are circular when laid flat) have been folded around the open edge, half on the front and half on the back. This secures the opening and allows for machine processing. While tabs may be applied by hand, the precision needed and the number of pieces in your mailing may make that impractical. The Campus Post Office is able to machine tab your mailings for you at a cost of one cent per piece, saving you both time and money. If you decide to tab the mailing yourself, please contact the Campus Post Office regarding which U.S. Post Office approved tabs you should use.
In order to use an automation-compatible layout, we must have specific areas on the front of the mailer available for printing specific information. Below, we have added a space along the bottom edge: Next, we will look at the layout of your mailer. Here is the front of the final folded shape of a sample standard-sized mailer:
This field is referred to as the Barcode Clear Zone (BCZ). When we automate your mailing, this is where we will print a Delivery Point Barcode on the mailer. Here is a larger view of the BCZ, with the required measurements: In the picture you can see the lower right corner of your mailer with the dimensions of the BCZ shown. Looking at your mailer, measure 5/8 of an inch up along the right edge from the lower right corner, and 4 3/4 inches back along the bottom edge from the same corner. Using right angles to create a rectangle using these measurements, you have defined the BCZ on your mailer. You do not need to show the BCZ on your finished mailer, but when you design your mailer, the BCZ must be clear of any printing or graphics. Nothing may appear in this space or the mailing will not qualify for automation.
Next, we will designate a location for the destination address. The address must be in a specific place so that the OCRs (Optical Code Readers) used by the U.S. Post Office can locate it successfully. Below, our sample mailer has a field added showing where the OCR read area is located.
The OCR Read Area, unlike the BCZ, is not defined by a standard size but by the size of the mailer itself. By measuring in a minimum of one half inch from each edge and a minimum of two and three fourths inches up from the bottom of the mailer, using right angles a space is defined which sits on top of the BCZ. If the final folded shape of the mailer were of different dimensions (keep in mind that the Aspect Ratio must still be acceptable for automated mail, of course) then the OCR Read Area would also have different dimensions. Besides the destination address, other design elements may be placed in the OCR Read Area. However, the entire destination address must be contained in the OCR Read Area. The Campus Post Office is also able to print extra graphics, text, or design elements inside the OCR Read Area at the same time we address your mailing. For more information concerning this service, including additional costs, please contact us. Next, we will place a field on the mailer for a return address. Return addresses are required in sending mail from WSU. We are also able to print return addresses on your mailer if your mailer does not already have the correct return address pre-printed. The next screen shows the return address field added to our sample mailer.
As you can see, like the OCR Read Area, the size of the Return Address Area shown above depends on the final folded size of the mailer. Larger or smaller mailers would have differently sized Return Address Areas. None of the fields shown on the sample mailer above require you to show anything on the mailers you give to us. In fact, it is much simpler to automate your mailing when these fields are clear of any printing.
In addition to the fields we have added to our mailer, you may also add an Ancillary Service Endorsement. This refers to instructions for the U.S. Post Office on the front of the mailer in case it is not able to be delivered as addressed. You may have seen phrases on other mailpieces such as “Address Service Requested” or “Return Service Requested.” The four locations where Ancillary Service Endorsements may be printed on our sample mailer are shown below. In any position, a minimum of 1/8 of an inch must separate the endorsement from any other printing on the front of the mailer. If your mailer does not come with an endorsement pre-printed, the Campus Post Office is able to print the endorsement of your choice when we automate your mailing. There is no additional cost for printing Ancillary Service Endorsements, and for First-Class mail there is no additional charge for using these services.
For First-Class mail, the Ancillary Service Endorsements are as follows: Address Service Requested –for Forwarding and Return of Mail Months 1 – 12: mailpiece forwarded Months 12 – 18: mailpiece returned with new address attached After 18 months or if undeliverable: mailpiece returned with reason for nondelivery attached Forwarded at no charge. Returned at no charge. Return Service Requested-for Return of Mail only, No Forwarding At any time: mailpiece returned with new address or reason for nondelivery attached No charge. Change Service Requested-No Forwarding or Return, but new address provided Separate notice of new address or reason for nondelivery provided, mailpiece disposed of by USPS No charge. Forwarding Service Requested-For Forwarding or Return. New address provided only with Return Service Months 1 – 12: mailpiece forwarded Months : mailpiece returned with new address attached After 18 months or if undeliverable: mailpiece returned with reason for nondelivery attached Forwarded at no charge. Returned at no charge. Temp-Return Service Requested-For Return Mailpiece returned with reason for nondelivery attached (unless temporary change of address, then mailpiece forwarded with no notice to mailer) No charge.
When designing the layout and folding for your mailer, choice in paper is of great importance. First, the paper must be of a certain thickness (weight) in order to meet U.S. Post Office guidelines for mailability. Because the “weight” of paper (20 pound paper, for example) is based on the actual weight of 500 sheets of a given color, dimensions,and thickness, and because the actual thickness of a paper can vary depending on a variety of factors, not all paper of a given weight will necessarily have the same actual thickness despite being of the same weight. Therefore we cannot say that a certain “weight” of paper will always have a specific thickness for the purpose of mailability through the U.S. Post Office. We are attempting to maintain a list of approved paper weights and colors for the purpose of printing mailers. This list can be found on the left navigation of the Mass Mailing section of our website. For a folded mailer meeting the standard-sizing requirements, the minimum folded thickness is no less than inches thick. This is the thickness of the mailer after it has been folded. For example, normal 20 pound copy paper is acceptable for producing tri-folded mailers (discussed earlier in the section on folding your mailer) because there are two folds which produce three thicknesses of paper. With only a single fold (and only two thicknesses of paper) using 20 pound paper is not thick enough to be mailable. If the source of your paper is not able to accurately provide you with the actual thickness of the paper stock you wish to print your cards on, the Campus Post Office has calibration equipment which will establish firmly whether your paper has the required thickness.
Also, for automated mail, the paper you use for printing your mailer must meet other requirements. The first of these is the color of the paper. Certain colors simply will not be automation compatible due to contrast issues in these colors. In these cases, the sorting machines used by the U.S. Post Office will not be able to distinguish the address or other printing on the card from the background color of the paper. This consideration is reflected in the list of approved papers on our website. Certain papers also have a “fiber” appearance which will prevent automation compatibility. These papers are normally easy to identify by the appearance of spots, flecks, or speckled designs. While visually pleasing, backgrounds which do not have a consistent color will also interfere with the optical sorting machines. The sorters will “see” the pattern of the paper as part of the printing on the card instead of the background and attempt to “read” it as part of the address. Both of the problems listed here can be illustrated by a test on a black-and- white copier. By photocopying a sheet of paper which is too dark in certain colors, the black-and-white image produced by the copier shows color which is too dark to adequately “see” the printing on the paper. Likewise, by photocopying a speckled or spotted paper, the background pattern becomes a black-and-white field which will be indistinguishable from the color of the printing on the paper. Because the sorting machines in use by the U.S. Post Office “see” only in black and white, this illustrates why certain appearances of paper make automation mail impossible.
Finally, in order for us to automate your mailing, we must be able to clearly and cleanly print on the mailer you have provided us. As with all other aspects of automated mail, the U.S. Post Office has minimum standards for the clarity of the printing on each piece of the mailing. The paper you use to produce your cards must allow us to clearly print without smearing or smudging. Papers which have a slick or glossy finish will often cause the printing to be unclear. The Delivery Point Barcode printed in the BCZ will especially need to be as clear as possible because an automated mailing is initially sorted by using this barcode. If for any reason the printing on the front of the mailer is not clear, the mailing may fail inspection by the U.S. Post Office and additional postage (often greater in price than the savings produced by automating your mailing) will be charged in order to process and deliver manually. Using paper which allows the ink to be readily absorbed and quickly and cleanly dry will help to prevent this problem. Mailers produced using colors, patterns, or finishes which may make them non-automation compatible may be eligible to send using normal First- Class mail or through manual bulk mail. Please see our tutorial for manual bulk mail folded mailers or contact the Campus Post Office for more information.
This concludes our tutorial for First-Class Automated Folded Mailers. Please remember to use all the information contained here correctly. If you have mailings which cannot be sent using the qualifications shown here, please browse our other tutorials or consult our staff to see if there is another class of mailing that better suits your needs. Also, please remember to schedule your automated mailings in advance using our website and to provide us with your mailing list in one of the compatible file formats listed in the left navigation of our Mass Mailings Section of our website. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us. Our campus phone is , our address is and we are located on the first floor of Morrison Hall on WSU’s main campus. Our office hours are 7:30am through 4:30pm Monday through Friday except for all holidays observed by the University.