Business Services

Designing a Mail Piece


An effective mailing starts with a properly designed mail piece. Our services are designed to take advantage of postal savings by ensuring a mailing is “automation compatible” for the US Postal Service. This status reduces processing time for the postal service and results in lower mailing rates.

Proper Proportion - Length divided by height must be between 1.3" and 2.5".

address proportions

Machinability Dimensions

Design Dimensions

Letter Size Standard Dimensions

Meaurement Letters Postcards
Minimum Size 3 ½" x 5" 3 ½" x 5"
Maximum Size 6 ⅛" x 10 ½" 4 ¼" x 6"
Minimum Thickness 0.007" 0.009"
Maximum Thickness ¼" 0.0095"

Note: Post cards over either the length or height maximum dimensions, require .009 thickness.

Envelope Addressing Layout

clear zone on address on envelope

Setting Up a Self-Mailer

Self Mailers are often used for standard bulk mail or first class mailings, eliminating the need for an outside envelope.

Please observe the USPS standards listed below for self mailers paper weight and folds.

Folded Self-Mailers

A folded self-mailer must be prepared with the folded edge parallel to the longest dimension AND the address of the mail piece. The mailing panel must consist of only the address, return address and the indicia (permit). Avoid lines and artwork that may interfere with the USPS automated mailing machines.

*See barcode clear space zone above in Layout.

Note that mailers held closed with staples will DOUBLE the postage on any mailing. Mail Services now has a tabber that will close mailers with adhesive tabs. Tabs prevent an open edge from jamming high-speed equipment; folded self-mailers must be secured (tabbed) for automation rates.

8.5" x 11"
8.5" x 14"
Half Fold
28# / 70# Paper

half-fold envelope

8.5" x 11"
Letter Fold

24# / 60# Paper
Multiple Sheets

32# / 70# Paper
Single Sheets

letter fold envelope

8.5" x 14"
Double Parallel Fold
32# / 70# Paper

double parallel fold envelope

11" x 17"
Double Fold
24# / 60# Paper

double fold envelope

Business Reply Mail

Please let Mail Services help you in designing Business Reply postcards to meet Post Office requirements. Because of the numerous technical requirements we do not recommend you create your own Business Reply pieces.

business reply envelope

Barcoded Mailing

Bar-coding is available on a variety of mail pieces including envelopes, postcards, and newsletters.

bar coded envelope


Flat-size mail generally consists of catalogs, large envelopes, large cards, newsletters, magazines and newspapers that exceed one or more of the dimensions for letter-size mail.

Flat Standard Dimensions

One dimension must meet dimension requirements.

Length: 11-1/2 to 15 inches
Height: 6-1/8 to 12 inches
Thickness: .009 to 3/4 inches
Weight: less than 16 ounces

flats envelope

Setting Up a Flat Mail Piece

Mailers must place the delivery address in the “top half” of the mailpiece. The top is the upper edge when the bound edge (or the final fold) is vertical and on the right side of the piece.

Once the top edge is chosen, measure halfway down the piece, and that is the top half. Your address must be entirely within the top half. The address mail may be placed on the front or the back of the mailpiece. The address may be parallel or perpendicular to the top edge, but not upside-down as read in relation to the top edge. A perpendicular address can face to the left or the right. Mailers should place the address as close to the top edge as possible (while still maintaining a 1/8 inch clearance from the edge).

The postage must appear to right or upper right, and the return address must appear to the upper left of the delivery address.