Earlier this month, the United States Postal Service’s new regulations for folded self-mailers (FSM) went into effect. The regulations include updated criteria for mailers’ size, shape, tabbing and closure methods.
You probably get one of these handy little pieces in your mailbox just about every day. So what is a folded self-mailer, anyway? The postal service defines an FSM as an un-enveloped mail piece made up of one or more sheets of paper, folded and held together by adhesives. Folds divide paper into “panels,” which can be horizontal or vertical and are roughly equal in size.
FSMs can be customized with internal attachments and enclosures, such as coupons or return envelopes. And they stay sealed with the help of glue or sticky tabs—but they’re never stitched, stapled, or otherwise bound. (If they are, the USPS calls them “booklets.”) Still confused? Newsletters, promotional mailers, event brochures, and Netflix discs are common examples of FSMs.
One subset of changes covers how mailers can be designed. Here are the basics:
For the full details on all of the new regulations, check out this PDF released by the USPS. Of course, you don’t have to commit the FSM decision tree to memory or lose sleep over whether you placed your wafer-seal tabs far enough away from the mailer’s trailing edge. That’s our job.
If you have any questions about these new guidelines—and what they mean for your direct mail—don’t hesitate to get in touch.