Postal-Friendly Envelope Design

By T.J. Tedesco

Direct mail projects won’t be successful unless they’re well planned. This includes paying attention to every detail, right down to individual mail components such as envelope design.

Below are some tips to be sure your envelope designs support your direct mail project goals:

• Make sure your envelope manufacturer packs its products tightly. If letter shops are forced to use sagging, bowing, or otherwise imperfect envelopes, turnaround times, production costs, and spoilage rates will be disappointing.

• To qualify for maximum postal discounts, envelopes must comply with USPS and CPC aspect ratio standards. Although most standard envelope sizes comply, it’s still best to reference the DMM before beginning unusual sized projects.

• If you want “flat” (8½×11-in. or similar) mailings to be automatically inserted, choose oversized envelopes with flaps running lengthwise.

Image: Direct Mail Pal, 2014 edition, Publisher: PIAPress

• Envelope coatings can cause adhesion problems. Adhesive technology is part art and part science. The only way to be certain that glue and inkjet ink will properly adhere to coated surfaces is to run tests before beginning production. In fact, a good deal of inkjet imaging uses water-based inks, and varnished surfaces will not hold the image, thus causing smearing. When the knockout is performed for the address block, be sure to have the varnish knocked out as well.

For more information on direct mail best practices, please send me an email at or give me a call at 724-746-8900.

Some of the content for this post was originally published in the newly released Direct Mail Pal 2014, authored by T.J. Tedesco and Charley Howard (publisher: Printing Industries Press).