We’ve discussed many times the importance of your address list – quality, completeness, Move Update compliant and list hygiene. Now that you know what you need for your address list, where oh where to put the address on your mailpiece!
The delivery address instructs the USPS where to deliver the mailpiece. You want to make sure you are giving all the necessary information as well as placing it on the mailpiece that makes it most efficient for the USPS.
Outgoing Address must include:
- Recipients name or other designation
- Street number and name (including any pre-or post-directional), or PO Box number, rural or highway route or box number, and secondary description such as a suite or apartment number.
- City and state
- ZIP Code or ZIP+4
Alternative Addressing Formats:
- Simplified addressing is used for general distribution to all residences/businesses on a rural route, highway contract route or all boxholders at a Post Office. In this case “Postal Customer” is used in place of a person’s name.
- “Occupant” can be used instead of a recipients name on a mailpiece with a complete delivery address.
- “Or Current Resident” can be used in addition to a recipient name. This indicates that the mailpiece should be delivered to the specific address even if the person named has moved.
- A return address tells the USPS where the sender wants the mail returned if it is undeliverable. A return address is required on certain types of mail. The USPS preferred placement of the return address is the upper left portion of the mailpiece on the side bearing the postage.
- Include all the necessary information as for the outgoing address
- The USPS prefers a simple sans serif typeface (some examples are Helvetica or Arial).
- Use a minimum of 8 point type unless the address bears an Intelligent Mail Barcode, in which case you can go to 6 point in all caps.
- Type or machine print in dark ink on a light background. Reflectivity between the ink color and the paper stock color may effect whether your mailpiece will qualify for automation rate discounts.
- Left justify every line.
- Use two letter state abbreviations.
- There should be one space between city and state, two spaces between state and ZIP Code.
Now that you have all the address components down, where should you place the address on the mailpiece?
The address must always appear on the side of the mailpiece bearing postage. In order to claim automation postage rates, it must be parallel to the top edge.
The USPS will want to place a barcode on your mailpiece. The barcode acts as a driver for the mailpiece. USPS sorting equipment reads the address and sprays a corresponding barcode onto the mailpiece. For this reason you need to keep a clear space (Barcode Clear Zone in USPS speak) 5/8” from the bottom edge and extending 4 ¾” from the right edge. If you plan to seek automation discount postage rates, keep this area free from any logos, artwork or messages.
The outgoing address block needs to appear in an area that begins 2 ¾” from the bottom edge, and leaves a ½” space on the left and right edges.
Dark shaded area indicates “free space” for nonaddress printing.
Light shaded area indicates preferred clear zone to enhance readability.
If using a window envelope, make sure your address shows completely within the window and leaves at least an 1/8” clearance between the address and/or barcode and the edges of the window. Tap the envelope on a solid surface to make sure address doesn’t shift outside of window – perform this tap test on all four sides of the mailpiece.
Address placement for flat size mail differs slightly. As in letter size mailpieces, the address must appear on the same side as the postage. It should placed in the upper portion of the flat (top half) and should be parallel to the top edge although it may be placed perpendicular to the top, near or at the open or bound edge.
Now that your mailpiece is designed to meet postal requirements, you’ve included a great offer or call to action, you’ve compiled a clean, targeted mail list and perfect address placement you are ready to mail away! Happy mailing and good luck!