Design with Mail in Mind
Tips to Avoid Inevitable Damage at the Post Office
Printing Industries of America (PIA) recently defined the problem and suggested several design considerations to keep in mind when the piece in question is a postcard or self-mailer.
First, marking and scuffing generally occur more frequently on the "message" side, rather than on address side. The image below illustrates the area of your design where you should be most careful.
PIA went on to rank the seriousness of scuffing, setting four levels of scuffing and one for torn mail. Note that only a tiny percentage of mailed pieces get level four or are torn during processing.
We had a postcard the other day that had the scuffing in the opposite corner, it looks like it was run upside down: It seems the postal equipment is capable of running right side up or upside down.
Coatings like varnish and aqueous can reduce but do not eliminate the scuffing that occurs.
Direct mail can go out in envelopes to offer the most protection, translucent and clear envelopes allow the recipient to see the mail piece design before the envelope is even opened. This adds some cost, consult with us about pricing if this option may fit your project.
PIA makes three design suggestions to minimize the effects of marking and scuffing:
1. Avoid darker colors. Lighter colors will not show the effects of marking as dramatically, since they blend more closely into the white of the paper should the ink be marked.
2. Avoid large solids. Break the design up with smaller design elements.
3. Understand where most marking occurs. Review the illustration above and keep this in mind during your design.
No one likes seeing their mailer compromised by damage from postal automation equipment. Keeping these considerations in mind may improve the chances that your mailers won't fall victim to such an outcome!