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Avoid the USPS’s Top Mailing Mistake

In the world of direct mail, creativity is everything. You want to design pieces that stand out and catch the customer’s eye. But be careful! Sometimes this leads to designing mail pieces in nonstandard sizes that, in some cases, can make the mailpiece undeliverable. Failure to meet minimum mailing dimensions is the number one mailing mistake cited by the United States Postal Service.


The USPS minimum dimensional standards for mail pieces are as follows:


· Minimum height: 3.5”

· Minimum length: 5”

· Minimum thickness: .007”


It’s critical to keep these minimums in mind when creating your designs. Even if you know the dimensional standards, making assumptions about meeting them is easy, which can have very bad outcomes.


Real Life “Oops!”

For example, when one postal customer wanted to create a unique piece, it designed a 4” x 4” card that it intended to send using Marketing Mail (Presorted Standard) non-automation letter pricing. The customer expected to pay more because the design did not meet the required aspect ratio but did not realize that the piece fell below the minimum sizing and could not be mailed.


In another example, a customer used lightweight paper to create a letter-size, bi-fold self-mailer to obtain commercial letter pricing. The customer figured the mail would be considered nonmachinable because of the thickness of the paper. Still, they thought minimum thickness would be fine with the folded design. In reality, the thickness did fail to meet the USPS minimum mailing standards, and, again, the piece could not be mailed.


Ask Before You Mail

Any time you create a new mail piece design, run it by our experts before you mail it. Unique, creative pieces grab attention and can get terrific results, but they must arrive in the customer’s mailbox first!

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