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Postcards & self-mailers

Overview

A self-mailer is a type of direct mail that is used for promotional marketing purposes and mailed without an envelope. A self-mailer can be a simple postcard, a catalog, or a brochure that is folded any number of ways and sealed at the edge(s).
Lob supports simple postcard and folded self-mailer form factors, both of which can be sent programmatically through our API and dashboard.

Postcards

Let's get started! First, be sure to check out the following resources:

Dimensions & specs

Layout dimensions

The front side of the postcard is fully available for customization.
For the backside of the postcard, follow the guidance provided in the templates below to leave enough room for the address and postage area:
Ink-free red zone includes address and postage indicia. Size of ink-free zone differs with postcard size.

Paper specs

We use a few pre-approved papers across our commercial printer network. In ensuring uniform quality and consistency across all of our mail pieces; each paper source specification must fall within a small range. The specification/value range pairs are listed below:
  • Basis Weight: 100# - 120# Cover
  • GSM: 255 - 325
  • Full Bleed 1 Side UV Gloss

Ink-free zone dimensions

4x6" Postcards:
  • W x H: 3.2835 x 2.375"
  • 0.275" from the right edge (including bleed)
  • 0.25" from the bottom edge (including bleed)
All other postcard sizes:
  • W x H: 4 x 2.375"
  • 0.275" from the right edge (including bleed)
  • 0.25" from the bottom edge (including bleed)
For all postcards and self-mailers printed by Lob, a Carbon Neutral Mail certification will automatically be included within the official use address block on the backside. Read more about how you can send mail in a more environmentally responsible way with Lob in our Carbon Neutral Mail section.

Postcard best practices

Ensure your postcards get to their final destination by following these guidelines:
  • The from field is not required for US postcards, but is required for international destinations
  • Only 4x6" postcards can be sent to international destinations
  • Postcards cannot include any PII outside of the no-ink zone
  • Avoid any prohibited artwork to ensure your mail does not get rejected by USPS
  • 4x6" postcards can only be sent via First Class Mail; others can be sent as Marketing Mail (Standard Class Mail)

Self-mailers

Self-mailers are exclusive to Enterprise edition customers. Upgrade your Print & Mail edition to gain access to this mail format, or reach out to our sales team to learn more.
Let’s get started! First, be sure to check out the following resources:

Dimensions & specs

Layout dimensions

Lob currently supports the following self-mailers:
  • 6x18” bifold template: measures 6x9” when folded in half, no offset of panels, and unfolds horizontally
  • 12x9” bifold template: measures 6x9” when folded in half, no offset of panels, and unfolds vertically
  • 11x9" bifold template: measures 6x9" when folded in half, has a 1" offset between the top and bottom panels when folded, and only unfolds vertically
Follow our design templates carefully to ensure you place your design elements for each permutation, including the location of the adhesive, in the appropriate location. There are four panels available to customize for all bifolds, wherein one of the outside panels must have an ink-free zone for the address and postage area.

Paper specs

We use a few pre-approved papers across our commercial printer network. In ensuring uniform quality and consistency across all of our mail pieces, each paper source specification must fall within a small range. The specification/value range pairs are listed below:
  • Basis Weight: 80# Cover with Gloss
  • GSM: 218
  • Full Bleed
  • 1 Side UV Gloss

Ink-free zone dimensions

  • 6x18" bifold self-mailer
    • W x H: 4 x 2.375"
    • 0.15" from the center fold line
    • 0.25" from the bottom edge (including bleed)
    • Placement: Left panel outside
  • 12x9" bifold self-mailer
    • W x H: 4 x 2.375"
    • 0.15" from the center fold line
    • 0.25" from the right edge (including bleed)
    • Placement: Top panel outside
  • 11x9" bifold self-mailer
    • W x H: 4 x 2.375"
    • 0.15" from the center fold line
    • 0.25" from the right edge (including bleed)
    • Placement: Top panel outside
For all postcards and self-mailers printed by Lob, a Carbon Neutral Mail certification will automatically be included within the official use address block on the backside. Read more about how you can send mail in a more environmentally responsible way with Lob in our Carbon Neutral Mail section.

Self-mailer adhesives

Stain-resistant, low tack, clear fugitive glue is used for adhesives on the folded self-mailers.
Glue is positioned within 0.25" of the opening edges and placed opposite the final fold. Glue is applied by one of the following methods:
  • Continuous glue line at least 0.125" wide
  • Three or four glue spots at least 0.375" in diameter
  • Three or four elongated glue lines

Design best practices

In general, any artwork should be 0.125" away from the final trim line due to movement at press. Bleeds should extend 0.125" past the trim line. No critical design elements or text should be printed outside of the safe zone.
The preferred image submission format is a PDF file (.pdf), and all images should be 300 dpi or higher. Refer to our creative format guides‍ or API documentation for more details on image prepping, or browse our Template Gallery for pre-designed creatives to leverage as inspiration.
Make sure all artwork submissions are facing upright for both inside and outside panels. Our printers will invert the inside panel of submitted customer artwork during the production phase.

Self-mailer best practices

Ensure your self-mailers get to their final destination by following these guidelines:
  • The from field is required for all self-mailers, regardless of the destination
  • Self-mailers should not contain any PII outside of the no-ink zone
  • Avoid any prohibited artwork to ensure your mail does not get rejected by USPS
  • HIPAA-compliant self-mailers are not offered at this time, as self-mailers are not placed in envelopes
  • Mailing Class options may differ based on its destination and use type (e.g. promotional vs non-promotional)