Mail Piece Design Reminder: New Rules for Folded Self-Mailers Effective Soon

Kim Mauch
Posted by Kim Mauch Sr. Product Manager Friday, November 30, 2012 - 17:59

Kim Mauch has over a decade of experience absorbing the ins-and-outs of effective mailing preparation and submission processes with a heavy emphasis on new USPS technologies including Intelligent Mail and electronic documentation.

In her current role as postal products specialist for Quadient, Kim educates customers on how to efficiently meet the latest USPS regulations.

She has presented at MailCom, National Postal Forum and numerous educational forums, including full-day channel training sessions, online webinars and high-profile customer training programs.

Customer Experience Update
Mail Piece Design Reminder: New Rules for Folded Self-Mailers Effective Soon

Starting January 6, 2013, mailers of Folded Self-Mailers (FSMs) will be required to meet new design requirements. These updated specifications were designed to ensure FSMs are processed cleanly through automation equipment at USPS. Pieces that don’t use these new specifications will not be eligible for automation discounts starting January 6.

So what is a Folded Self-Mailer? FSMs are letter-sized mail pieces that are not enclosed in  envelopes. FSMs consist of one or more sheets of paper, folded together and sealed using tabs or glue, not bound. FSMs always have at least two “panels”. The folded sections of the FSM are either panels or flaps. Panels are generally the full size of the mail piece. For example, if a single sheet of paper is folded in half, that sheet has two panels. Shorter sections are called flaps.

So what are the changes?

  • Piece size has shrunk. The final, folded FSM must be 3.5-6” tall, 5-10.5” wide, and can weigh up to 3 ounces.
  • Heavier paper stock is now required. The outside panels of FSMs must now use at least 70lb paper if the piece is under an ounce, or at least 80lb paper if the piece is over an ounce. However, 55lb newsprint can be used on quarter-fold designs common for newspapers.
  • The fold that creates the final panel on the mail piece must be on the bottom or leading (right) edge of the mail piece when looking at the upright mailing address.
  • FSMs must have 2-12 panels, except for quarter-fold pieces, which must have 8-24 panels.
  • A flap must be at least 1.5” long from the top fold, or at least 5” long from the lead edge. Flaps must not cover 1” from the opposite side of the mail piece. Flaps must always be on the unaddressed side of the piece, and be secured with glue.
  • All FSMs must be secured using glue dots or lines, or with 2-3 tabs, depending on the size of the mail piece. Tabs cannot be perforated.

 A full description of the new FSM requirements is available on RIBBS, including a great reference guide with useful illustrations.