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Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

The page design makes it clear to the recipient which way is up.

A couple of years ago, the United States Postal Service made changes to Standard Mail mailing panel design rules that frustrate designers and print managers no end. Just trying to parse out what the postal service rules are can be a challenge.

One of the main changes is that the mailing block now has to be in the upper half of the page of a flat. From a design perspective, that’s some awfully choice real estate to give up!

The cover sheet of this Print magazine direct mail piece follows the letter of the law, while masterfully playing with the question, “What is top?” It’s also a great example of aligning content to context.

Read more about mailing panels

mailingsidewllI just hate receiving mail with those ugly little white stickers plastered onto it, don’t you? My mailing house contact calls them lim-lim stickers.

The USPO applies them because something printed at the bottom of the postcard is interfering with the clear zone, a  4-3/4″ wide by 5/8″area at the bottom right of the mailing panel/side.

See the offending text close to the bottom on the piece below?


Barcodes speed mail delivery

Automation-compatible mail gets the most efficient handling—and often, postage discounts.

The postnet barcode that represents the zip code is one key to that automation, which is the key to speedier mail delivery. This is true for both First-Class Mail and Standard Mail Letters.

If an envelope doesn’t already have a barcode, the OCR (optical character recognition) reader reads the zip code numbers in the address and ink jets a postnet barcode onto it. But if  the reader encounters other text where it plans to print that barcode—especially characters that could be interpreted as numbers—it applies the dreaded lim-lim sticker before printing the barcode. Not only that, sometimes it sticks a lim-lim on both sides of the piece!

Read more about designing mail to pass postal muster… →

First class stampA non-profit organization planned to design and send about 1,000 event invitations. To put it mildly, pre-planning was not their strong suit, so by the time they got their invites printed and addressed, they had to mail them First Class.

Oops, there went $300 down the drain! Granted, that’s not an earth-shattering expense, but for budget-strapped organizations, any cost savings are welcome. Get Disaster Avoidance Tips →

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