Everyone has had issues with mailing certain items through the USPS. Maybe the design just doesn’t meet the standards of the USPS or the design did leave enough room for the barcode. We have all been there and it can be very frustrating to have this problem come up.
In the below article Summer Gould outlines some common errors when mailing postcards. I would highly recommend that if you’re in sales you should forward this article on to clients. Check it out and as always give us some feedback on issues you run into daily.
- Postcard size is 3.5 x 5 to 4.25 x 6, anything larger is considered to be in the letter category.
Go figure! The post office saying that a 6 x9 postcard is not really a postcard, but a letter? Who thinks of these rules?
- Paper stock must be a minimum of .007 thick, anything less is not mailable unless you put it in an envelope.
In this case, the rule makes sense. When the paper is too thin, the postal machines rip them up. Better to go with a thicker stock that won’t look like someone took a bite out of it before delivery.
- Keep your aspect ratio between 1.3 and 2.5. In order to calculate the aspect ratio, you start by looking at the mail panel, then take the length of the postcard and divide it by the height.
We are told that the reason for this rule is machine compatibility, when the postcard is short and long, it does not run through the equipment correctly, causing jams and again torn postcards. We don’t want that!
- There are two options for addressing a postcard:
- Barcode in the address block—4×2 clear area, no varnish, UV coating, text, or images for the address block. The block needs to be a minimum .5 inches from the right edge and .625 inches from bottom edge. The block can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly, the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches.
- Barcode clear zone addressing—the barcode clear zone is the bottom 5/8 of the postcard and must be free of all color, text and images. Next the address block must be a minimum 0.5 inches from the right edge and minimum of 0.625 inches from bottom edge. The block can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches.
These requirements are meant to keep the address in the OCR (Optical Character Reader) read area of the postal equipment. Honestly, the current equipment has more read area than this, but getting the post office to change rules in our favor does not happen!
Source: Target Marketing