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University Printing

Layout Tips

The United States Postal Service has developed requirements for mailing. Meeting USPS requirements will help contain postage costs.

For current information about mailpiece design, the U.S. Postal Service offers online help at:

In general, consider these tips:

  1. Fold is on bottom (diagram)The return address must be on the edge opposite the fold. If the piece is a self-mailer, such as a brochure, the mail panel fold should be at the bottom, the address in the upper left corner, and a tab in the center top. (Tip: Test a sample piece by printing and folding it to ensure it is laid out correctly.)
  2. Fold/staples are at the bottom (diagram) If the piece has staples along the spine and is folded to 5½" x 8½", two tabs are required. Most tri-fold brochures or pieces without staples require one tab. Tabs are used for sealing instead of staples, which jam postal sorting equipment.
  3. If the piece is larger than regular letter mail dimensions (a catalog, for example) the address placement is on the top half of the mailpiece. Items such as unfolded newsletters, magazines, and envelopes larger than 11½"x 6⅛" must conform to this rule.
    Note: A newsletter with more than 12 pages cannot be folded to 5½" x 8½" and will be mailed flat.

Catalog layout diagram