The United States Postal Service has announced new rules for folded self-mailers (FSMs) which will take effect January 5, 2013. The rules are designed to reduce damage and delays on postal equipment. If you are working ahead on mailings for 2013, be sure to keep these specifications in mind as you design your piece.
Here is a summary of the requirements for basic bi-fold and tri-fold pieces:
- Length: The piece can be a minimum of 5″ and a maximum of 10.5″.
- Height: The piece can be a minimum of 3.5″ and a maximum of 6″.
- Thickness: Needs to be at least .009″ if the height exceeds 4.5″ or if the length exceeds 6″. A minimum thickness of .007″ is required for 4.25″ x 6″ pieces or smaller. The maximum thickness for all pieces is .25″.
- Minimum Paper Weight: 70# offset or text for pieces weighing up to 1 oz; 80# for pieces weighing more than 1 oz.
- Maximum Weight: The maximum weight to qualify as a folded self mailer is 3 oz.
- Shape: the piece must be rectangular with four square corners and parallel opposite sides. An aspect ratio (length divided by height) must be within 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive.
- Maximum Number of Panels of Non-Newsprint Paper: 12
- Closure Method: Non-perforated tabs or glue. tabs, pieces up to 1 oz must be closed with two 1″ tabs placed on top within 1″ of lead/trail edge or on the lead/trail edge within 1″ of the top edge. For pieces over 1 oz., 1.5″ tabs must be used. For glue, a continuous glue line (1/8″ wide), glue spots (1/8″), or elongated glue line (1/8″ wide x 1/2″ long) may be used. Three glue spots or elongated glue lines are required for up to 1 oz; four are required for over 1 oz.
- Fold: The final fold must be on the bottom, parallel to the address. On oblong pieces, the final fold is on the lead edge, to the right of the address.
Regulations for variations of FSMs with additional folds, diecuts, perforations, inserts, etc., can be found at http://ribbs.usps.gov/fsm.