Successful Addressing

Outgoing Mail from WWU

It is extremely important to address your outgoing mail properly for delivery.

Address Placement:

Outgoing addresses should be located within an imaginary rectangle that extends 5/8” to 2-3/4” from the bottom of the mail piece, with 1/2” margins on each side.

Address Information:
  • Type or machine-print. Print must be sharp and clear with no smudges, or faded or broken characters.
  • Use a non-proportional font (ex. Courier or Courier New); avoid bold, condensed, italic, artistic, or script-like fonts.
  • Use 10- or 12- point type. The USPS prefers the address to be in capital letters, with no punctuation, using black ink on a white background.
  • Ensure characters or numbers, words and address lines do not touch or overlap.
  • Maintain a uniform left margin.
  • Maintain the address parallel to the bottom edge of the mail piece, not slanted.
  • When using a window envelope, ensure 1/8" minimum clear space around the complete address even if the insert shifts. No extraneous (non-address) printing should appear in the window area. The bottom of the address window should be at least 1/2" from the bottom of the mail piece.
  • Keep address lines in this sequence (from top to bottom):
    1. Non-address Data (Optional)
    2. Information/Attention (Optional)
    3. Name of Recipient
    4. Title (Optional)
    5. Business Name (Optional)
    6. Delivery Address, including apartment or suite number
    7. City, 2-letter State, and ZIP+4 Code
  • Include complete delivery designations such as ST (Street), AVE (Avenue), etc.; directionals such as N (North), S (South), etc.; and multi-unit indicators such as STE 208 (Suite 208), APT 33 (Apartment 33), etc., when applicable.
  • Put the city, two-letter state abbreviation, and ZIP+4 Code on the bottom line of the address. If it is too long, place the ZIP+4 Code on the line below the city and state, aligned with the left edge of the address block.
  • Foreign addresses require the name of the country spelled out in all caps on the bottom - no abbreviations! When using foreign postal codes, place them on the line above the country of destination.

Return Address Placement:

From top to bottom:

  1. Western Washington University
  2. Sender's Name
  3. Sender's Department, Mailstop
  4. 516 High St
  5. Bellingham, WA 98225

Other Important Information

No portion of the return address should appear in the OCR read area (#3 above). The space below and on either side of the delivery address line should be clear of all extraneous (non-address) printing, such as attention lines, logos, borders, etc.

Delivery Point Barcode Clear Zone (#4 above)
Maintain a space up to 5/8" from the bottom edge and 4 3/4 from the right edge of the mail piece. This area will be used by Mailing Services and the USPS for the printing and reading of the delivery point barcode. This area must be kept clear of other printing, markings, colored borders, etc.

Use light colored, non glossy or uncoated paper. Avoid material that is transparent, fluorescent, heavily textured, or that contains dark fibers or background patterns. Do not use red or black paper or envelopes. Poly wrappers or shrink wrappers are not acceptable. Use low reflective glassine for window envelopes.

Use a sealable envelope or tabs, wafer seals, tape strips, or spot glue to close mail pieces. Standard/bulk mailings not in envelopes require tabbing. The number and location of tabs, wafer seals, tape strips, or spot glue varies with the fold of the mail piece and the paper used. See mail piece design for illustrations.

If staples are used to attach multiple sheets, the mail piece must be folded so no staples appear on the outside.

Incoming Mail to WWU

For accurate mail delivery, the address must be complete, legible and formatted correctly.

To avoid any unnecessary delays all mail addressed to WWU should use the following format:

Faculty/Staff/Departmental Addresses

Click here to see all campus mail stops.

Campus Residence Addresses

Mail for all residence halls should be addressed as follows:

Buchanan Towers

Mail going to Buchanan Towers can also be addressed as:

Birnam Woods

Page Updated 09.27.2012