Mailing Standards

Quality Printing is capable of producing long or short runs of postcards, flyers, brochures, or catalogs; and we can help you to provide that Personal Touch to your direct mail marketing campaign with variable data printing.

Some of the US Postal Service’s basic, general standards for mail pieces are listed below. For a more comprehensive list of USPS standards, please visit the USPS website at the following link.

U.S.P.S. Mailing Standards

US Postal Services General Standards for letters, flats, and postcards.

Postal Addressing Standards:
• Use simple sans serif type with uniform stroke thickness.
• Type or machine-print in dark ink on a light background with a uniform left margin.
• Left-justify every line in the address block.
• Use two-letter state abbreviations.
• Use one space between city and state, two spaces between state and ZIP+4 code.
• Use appropriate ZIP+4 code (if unknown, use 5-digit ZIP Code).
• A minimum of 8-point type, or if the mail piece bears a POSTNET or Intelligent Mail barcode with a delivery point routing code, a minimum of 6-point type is acceptable if printed in all capital letters.

Physical Standards for Letter size:
• Not less than 5 inches long, 3-1/2 inches high, and 0.007-inch thick.
• Not more than 11-1/2 inches long, or more than 6-1/8 inches high, or more than 1/4-inch thick.
• Not more than 3.5 ounces.
• Rectangular, with four square corners and parallel opposite sides. Letter-size, card-type mail pieces made of cardstock may have finished corners that do not exceed a radius of 0.125 inch (1/8 inch).
• Aspect ratio (length divided by height) between 1.3 and 2.5.

Physical Standards for Flat size:
• Not less than 11-1/2 inches long, 6-1/8 inches high, and 0.007 inch thick.
• Not more than 15 inches long, 12 inches high, and 3/4 inch thick.
• Flexible
• Rectangular with four square corners or with finished corners that do not exceed a radius of 0.125 inch (1/8 inch).
• Uniformly thick.
• Unwrapped, sleeved, wrapped, or enveloped.

Physical Standards for Cards Claimed at Card Prices:
Each card (each stamped card or postcard or each half of a double stamped card or postcard) claimed at card pricing must be:
• Rectangular.
• Not less than 3-1/2 inches high, 5 inches long, and 0.007 inch thick.
• Not more than 4-1/4 inches high, or more than 6 inches long, or greater than 0.016 inch thick.

Paper or Card Stock:
A card must be of uniform thickness and made of unfolded and uncreased paper or cardstock of approximately the quality and weight of a stamped card (i.e., a card available from the USPS). A card must be formed either of one piece of paper or cardstock or of two pieces of paper permanently and uniformly bonded together. The stock used for a card may be of any color or surface that permits the legible printing of the address, postmark, and any required markings.

Acceptable Attachments:
• A paper label, such as a wafer seal or decal affixed with permanent adhesive to the back side of the card, or within the message area on the address side, or to the left of the address block.
• A label affixed with permanent adhesive for showing the delivery or return address.
• A small reusable seal or decal prepared with pressure-sensitive and non-removable adhesive that is intended to be removed from the first half of a double card and applied to the reply half.

Tearing Guides:
A card may have perforations or tearing guides if they do not eliminate or interfere with any address element, postage, marking, or endorsement and do not impair the physical integrity of the card.

Address Side of Cards:
The address side of a card is the side bearing the delivery address and postage. The address side may be formatted to contain a message area. Graphics or printing, such as symbols, logos, or characters, that appear on the address side of cards not containing a message area are generally acceptable provided the items are not intended to convey a message.

Double Cards:
A double card (a double stamped card or double postcard) consists of two attached cards, one of which is designed to be detached by the recipient and returned by mail as a single card. Double cards are subject to these standards:
• The reply half of a double card must be used for reply only and may not be used to convey a message to the original addressee or to send statements of account. The reply half may be formatted for response purposes (e.g., contain blocks for completion by the addressee).
• A double card must be folded before mailing and prepared so that the address on the reply half is on the inside when the double card is originally mailed. The address side of the reply half may be prepared as Business Reply Mail, Courtesy Reply Mail, meter reply mail, or as a merchandise return service label.
• Plain stickers, seals, or a single wire stitch (staple) may be used to fasten the open edge at the top or bottom once the card is folded if affixed so that the inner surfaces of the cards can be readily examined. Fasteners must be affixed according to the applicable preparation requirements for the price claimed. Any sealing on the left and right sides of the cards, no matter the sealing process used, is not permitted.

Non-machinable Criteria:
• Has an aspect ratio of less than 1.3 or more than 2.5.
• Is polybagged, polywrapped, enclosed in any plastic material, or has an exterior surface made of a material that is not paper.
• Has clasps, strings, buttons, or similar closure devices.
• Contains items that cause the thickness of the mail piece to be uneven; or objects not affixed to the contents within the mail piece.
• Is too rigid (does not bend easily when subjected to a transport belt tension of 40 pounds around an 11-inch diameter turn).
• For pieces more than 4-1/4 inches high or 6 inches long, the thickness is less than 0.009 inch.
• Has a delivery address parallel to the shorter dimension of the mail piece.

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