Monthly Archives: December 2010

Zippity do dah Zip codes

Those five little digits plus four. If you’re mailing something to a client or customer or sending your graphic designer a check for a job well done, those digits are very important. They can tell the post office down to the block where your item is destined (if you use +four). Today you’ll learn two things at two web sites. The first is more interesting than helpful, but oh so cool. The second is very helpful, a look-up for the plus 4 digits for any address. Do not underestimate the power of plus four. I live on an avenue, in Pittsburgh PA there is a road by the same name here as well. We share the same house number with a house on the road though our zip codes differ. Mail gets crossed all the time. Fortunately, as far as we know nothing important has gone astray and I’ve only resent one or two things that looked personal or important. I don’t blame the post office, I love the post office, when one considers the volume of mail they move and yes, for less than a dollar it’s an incredible feat. And this is from a person who had the post office lose 6,000 invitations once, but I digress. Where was I? Right, web site number one, interesting, by Ben Fry. It’s a map, click on it begin to enter your zip and the map lights up by region, then area and finally by post office. Cool.
This one is more helpful, from the US Postal Service I bring you, zip+4 look-up:
I will get more into zip codes and large mailings but today–we’ll take it easy.

Another instance where size matters

Mail. I’m talking about mail, mail. Size of mail pieces. Envelopes, postcards, parcels and the like. What makes a letter a letter and a postcard a postcard? Size.


Postcard: minimum size:             3.5 x 5
maximum size:            4.25 x 6
minimum thickness: .007  (70/80 lbs for postcards)

Self mailer or any letter size envelope (including greeting cards):
minimum size            3.5 x 5
maximum size:          6.125 x 11.5 (6 1/8 x 11.5)
minimum thickness: .009
maximum thickness: .25

Flat size mail (unfolded letter size, lightly padded envelopes):
minimum size            6.125 x 11.5
maximum size:            12 x 15
maximum thickness: .75

Parcels: Irregular shapes, rolls, tubes
maximum length plus width or girth has to be under 108 inches


Paper Weight, not Paperweight

Fear not, I will explain how paper weights work and tell you what you need for what. Paper weight is based on the weight of 500 sheets of paper. What you may not know that the weight is based on the sheets of paper being 17 X 22 inches. Ah ha, see? You thought it was based on an 8.5 X 11 inch ream of paper. It gets a bit more complicated when it is a larger sheet used for offset printing but while absolutely fascinating (it is to me) that’s not how we roll here at this blog. Here’s what you want to know:
Bond or office paper is commonly 20lb bond (By the way it’s called bond because government bonds were once printed on this light weight paper). It’s what goes in the copier or printer.
Writing paper–letterhead, resumes, stationery, etc. 24lb writing (range of 20lb to 28lb)
Text paper–brochures, inside report pages 60lb to 100lb. It folds easily and is good for brochure and flyers. 70lb is a very nice envelope weight.
Cover paper–Covers, business cards, greeting cards, invitations all do well as 80lb. Postcards are usually 80lb–90lb.