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  DMM TOC > 100 Retail Letters, Cards, Flats, and Parcels

102 Elements on the Face of a Mailpiece

1.0 All Mailpieces

1.1 Clear Space

A clear space must be available on all mail for the address, postage (permit imprint, postage stamp, or meter stamp), postmarks, and postal endorsements.

1.2 Delivery and Return Address

The delivery address specifies the location to which the USPS is to deliver a mailpiece. The piece must have the address of the intended recipient, visible and legible, only on the side of the piece bearing postage. (See 2.0 for address placement; see 602 for additional information regarding addressing.)

1.3 Postage Payment

The mailer is responsible for proper payment of postage. Standards for postage payment are specified for each shape and class of mail.

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2.0 Address Placement for Letters

2.1 Delivery Address Placement

On a letter-size piece, the recommended address placement is within the optical character reader (OCR) read area, which is a space on the address side of the mailpiece defined by these boundaries (see Exhibit 2.1, OCR Read Area):

a. Left: 1/2 inch from the left edge of the piece.

b. Right: 1/2 inch from the right edge of the piece.

c. Top: 2-3/4 inches from the bottom edge of the piece.

d. Bottom: 5/8 inch from the bottom edge of the piece.

Exhibit 2.1 OCR Read Area Shows the OCR read area for letter-sized mail. (click for larger image)

2.2 Address Placement Causing Mail to be Nonmailable or Nonmachinable

The location of the delivery address on a letter-size mailpiece determines which dimensions are the length and height of the piece. Consequently, the placement of the address may render a piece nonmailable or nonmachinable.

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3.0 Placement and Content of Mail Markings

3.1 Placement of Priority Mail Marking

The marking "Priority" or "Priority Mail" must be placed prominently on the address side of each piece of Priority Mail. Matter mailed in USPS-provided Priority Mail packaging is subject to Priority Mail rates regardless of how the packaging is reconfigured or how markings may be obliterated. If shipping address labels are used, it is recommended that they contain the Priority Mail service indicator composed of two elements, the service icon and service banner (see Exhibit 3.1, Priority Mail Service Indicator):

a. The service icon should appear in a 1-inch square in the upper left corner of the shipping label. The letter "P" must be printed inside the 1-inch square and must be 0.75 inches (3/4") or greater. A minimum 3/4-point line must border the 1-inch square.

b. The service banner should appear directly below the postage payment area and the service icon, and it should extend across the shipping label. When the service banner is used, the text "USPS PRIORITY MAIL" must be printed in minimum 20-point bold sans serif typeface, uppercase letters, centered within the banner, and bordered above and below by minimum 1-point separator lines. There must be a 1/16-inch clearance above and below the text.

Exhibit 3.1 Priority Mail Service Indicator Shows a sample label with the Priority Mail service indicator. (click for larger image)

3.2 Placement of First-Class Markings

Each single-piece rate First-Class Mail piece must have a delivery address but is not required to bear the rate marking "First-Class" or "First-Class Mail."

3.3 Placement of Parcel Post, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail Markings

The basic required Package Services subclass marking—"Parcel Post" or "PP," "Bound Printed Matter" or "BPM," "Media Mail," or "Library Mail"—must be printed on each piece claimed at the respective rate. The basic required marking must be placed in the postage area (i.e., printed or produced as part of, or directly below or to the left of, the permit imprint indicia or meter stamp or impression). Optionally, the basic required marking may be printed on the shipping address label as service indicators composed of a service icon and service banner (see Exhibit 3.3, Package Services Indicators):

a. The service icon that will identify all Package Services subclasses will be a 1-inch solid black square. If the service icon is used, it must appear in the upper left corner of the shipping label.

b. The service banner must appear directly below the postage payment area and the service icon, and it must extend across the shipping label. If the service banner is used, the appropriate subclass marking (e.g., "PARCEL POST," "BOUND PRINTED MATTER") must be preceded by the text "USPS" and must be printed in minimum 20-point bold sans serif typeface, uppercase letters, centered within the banner, and bordered above and below by minimum 1-point separator lines. There must be a 1/16-inch clearance above and below the text.

Exhibit 3.3 Package Services Indicators Shows two sample labels with Parcel Post and Media Mail service indicators. (click for larger image)

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4.0 Endorsement Placement

4.1 Endorsements for Delivery Instructions and Ancillary Services

The mailer must place the correct endorsement on each mailpiece to provide delivery instructions (retention period under 507.3.4.4, Holding Mail, or carrier release under 508.1.2, Carrier Release for Uninsured Parcels) or to request an ancillary service (forwarding, return, or address correction under 507.1.1 and 507.1.8 in Treatment of Mail), subject to the corresponding standards for use and availability.

4.2 Return Address

When an ancillary service endorsement is used, a domestic return address must be placed in the upper left corner of the address side of the mailpiece or the upper left corner of the addressing area. If the return address is a multiple delivery address, it must show a unit designator (e.g., an apartment number).

4.3 Placement of Endorsement

Placement of the endorsement on the mailpiece is determined as follows:

a. The carrier release endorsement must be placed directly below the return address. If any other endorsement is used, the carrier release endorsement must be separated by the equivalent of one blank line of the type size used.

b. A retention period specified by the mailer must be placed directly above the return address.

c. Any ancillary service endorsement (e.g., Address Service Requested, Forwarding Service Requested, Return Service Requested, Change Service Requested) must be placed in one of these four positions:

1. Directly below the return address.

2. Directly above the delivery address area (which includes the delivery address block and any related nonaddress elements such as a barcode, keyline, or optional endorsement line).

3. Directly to the left of the postage area and below or to the left of any rate marking.

4. Directly below the postage area and below any rate marking.

4.4 Physical Standards for Endorsements

The endorsement or, if combined, endorsements must meet these physical standards:

a. The type size of the endorsement must be at least 8 points.

b. The read direction of the endorsement and return address must be the same as the read direction of the delivery address.

c. The color contrast between the endorsement and the mailpiece background must be kept at a reasonable degree. A brilliant colored background or reverse printing is not permitted.

d. A clear space of at least 1/4 inch around (above, below, and both sides) the total area containing the endorsement(s) is required. This 1/4-inch clear space is not required for an endorsement that is applied with a multiline optical character reader (MLOCR) inkjet and placed in the location directly below the postage area and any rate marking if the endorsement is clear and legible.