The U.S. Postal Service has very specific guidelines and letter formatting requirements for business mailings. Adhering to these requirements can result in faster and less costly mailings.
Guidelines for faster business mailings include:
Be sure to always include a return address. The "Return Address Area" is no more than 33 percent of the height and 50 percent of the length of the letter and is located in the upper left corner.
Always specify a delivery address in the "OCR Read Area." This area is the middle portion of the letter strictly reserved for the addressee name, street address or PO box number, city, state and ZIP code information required for delivery. Standard state abbreviations are very important.
Print addresses in capital letters in 10-or 12-point type (14 is also OK) in sans serif with uniform thickness and no punctuation.
Reserve the lower right portion of the letter as the "Barcode Clear Zone." This area is 4 inches in length by 5/8 inch in height and is where a barcode is placed on letter-size mail by the Postal Service. In some cases, customers apply their own barcode there or in the address block.
Contact the Office of Marketing and Communication at (414) 288-7448 for more precise guidelines or examples. Failure to adhere to these design specifications may result in what the Postal Service refers to as "non-machine readable" mail. This can result is misdirected or returned mail and add significant costs to postage rates.