Postal Regulations

January 2013 will be bringing lots of changes to direct mailers. In an effort to streamline the United States Postal Service for the most efficient processing, a lot of the changes are focused on the folded self-mailers (FSM).

A folded self-mailer is formed of panels created when one or more unbound sheets of paper are folded together and sealed to make a letter-size piece. A FSM is not stitched, as pieces that are stitched are considered to be booklets. There are no new regulations on booklets at this time.

Some of the new regulations for the folded self-mailers are:

    • The final fold must be on the bottom  of the piece. For oblong pieces, the final fold must be on the leading edge.
    • The maximum size for a folded self-mailer will be 6″ x 10.5″.
    • When using tabs as the sealing method, a minimum of two 1″ tabs are required for pieces under one ounce. Tabs may be made of paper, translucent paper, vinyl or plastic and perforated tabs will no longer be permitted.  A third tab is required on pieces weighing more than one ounce, and those are required to be 1.5″ tabs.
  • Glue is still acceptable as a sealing method, but you must use three glue dots across the top, or 3 dots on the leading edge with 3 dots on the trailing edge, when the fold is at the bottom. Another alternative is a solid glue line on the leading and trailing edge, positioned no more than 1/4″ from the edge.
  • If your folded self-mailer contains folded flaps, these flaps will need to fold over to the non-addressed side of the mail piece. For horizontal folds, they must be 1.5″ minimum from the top edge and no closer than 1″ from the bottom. For vertical folds, they must be 5″ minimum from the leading edge and no closer than 1″ from the trailing edge.

The USPS notes that folded self-mailers not meeting the new requirements will be assessed postage at non-machinable rates after January 5th. More detailed information can be found here.

In addition, there are other postal regulations that may affect the design of your mail pieces. In an effort to keep your costs down and ensure that you are receiving the maximum postal discounts, allow Multi-Craft to help put your direct mail piece ideas in motion.

About Debbie Simpson

President of Multi-Craft in Newport, Kentucky.
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