AVOIDING COMMON MISTAKES IN MAIL PIECE DESIGN By Rob Hanks
The fonts, colors, and envelopes you use can have a major impact, for better or worse, on your direct mail campaign. Here’s how to ensure the choices you make are the right ones.
our choices of fonts, envelopes, and color used in your direct mail campaigns can not only impact your customer response rate and overall delivery of your mail piece, but they can also cause postage costs to increase — which is never something a mailer wants to see. So, let’s explore some of the most common mistakes that can have a big impact on your campaign if not rectified. FONTS The USPS prefers that a sans-serif font be used when addressing mail pieces. The font size needs to be eight-point or higher, and all capital letters is preferred. The difference between serif fonts and sans-serif fonts is that sans-serif fonts do not contain the little feet on the bottom on the letters. This helps USPS equipment better read the address block of the mail piece. Sans-serif fonts are broken up into four families: Grotesque, Neo-Grotesque, Humanist, and Geometric. Grotesque fonts are the oldest of the sans-serif fonts and included New Gothic and Franklin Gothic. The Neo-Grotesque family is more modern and includes Helvetica and Arial, which the
JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2019 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com
USPS prefers. Humanist includes Gill Sans and is even more modern than the previous two families. Finally, Geometric is (not surprisingly) based on geometric shapes. Futura is an excellent example of a Geometric font. The important thing to remember with fonts is choosing a font that will work with your audience. If your offer is going to an older audience, you will want use a font that is clean and easy to read; Arial is an excellent choice here. On the other hand, if you are mailing to millennials, you may want to use a humanist font such as Gill Sans; the more modern look piques the interest of a younger generation and can increase your response rate. ENVELOPES Envelopes and self-mailers can have a huge impact, both positive and negative, on a direct mail campaign. Choosing the wrong size, color, or paper stock can add additional postage or even disallow your mailing altogether. On the flip side, a well-designed mailer using the right color, size, and paper can increase your open rate while also providing you with additional areas for messaging or a call to action.
When picking out an envelope size or designing a self-mailer, you will need to determine if you are mailing at letter rates or flat rates of postage. If you are planning on mailing out your piece at letter rates, the maximum size the envelope or oversized card can be is 6.125” x 11.5”.The maximum size of a folded self-mailer or booklet is a little smaller, at 6” x 10.5”. If your mail piece is larger, you will be mailing out at the flat rate of postage, and the placement of the address block differs from a letter-size mail piece. The difference in postage for a Marketing Mail Letter vs. a Marketing Mail Flat can be as high as 30.1 cents per piece, based on the mixed automated area distribution center (AADC) rate. The most common sizes used for direct mail are a #10 envelope, a 6”x9” envelope, and a 9”x12” envelope. The #10 and 6”x9” envelopes both mail out at a letter rate, provided you meet all the other mailing criteria. The 9”x12” envelope mails out at a flat rate of postage. Since these are standard sizes of envelopes, they are easy to obtain and cost-effective to purchase. The downside is without using color or a catchy teaser line, they get lost in the
Mailing Systems Technology Jan/Feb 2019