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What are standard formats for direct mail?

Before you design your next direct mail piece, consider the standard formats that are available and what would work best for your campaign. Here are the most popular formats for direct mail:

-Full dress package: Usually a letter-sized envelope with up to six inserts: outer envelope, letter, brochure, lift letter, reply card and reply envelope. Advantages: all inclusive and allows the end user to respond.

-Folded self-mailer: Must include a mail panel and is normally a single sheet of paper folded to fit USPS machine processing standards. Advantages: Easy to print and mail; inexpensive compared to other options; can have lots of space for your messaging.



-Catalogs: USPS flat, multi-page bound material. Advantage: lots of space for information and photos.

-Cards/Postcards:  Must follow USPS guidelines for size and thickness.  Advantage: Fast and easy to produce; most economical option.

-Envelope mailer:  May be standard or custom sizes.  Advantages: versatility; can include response mechanism; confidentiality.

-Booklets: USPS letter-sized bound materials. Advantages: letter rates; lots of space to include information.

-Transpromo: Transactional mail with some promotional material in the unused white space. Advantages: using unused space on a mailing.


-Marriage Mailer: An envelope with single sheet inserts (buckslips). Advantages: Shared cost among many companies.

-Snap Pack: All-in-one piece with tear-off edges. Advantages: confidentiality; entices opening.


For more mailing information, check out our Roadmap to Direct Mail:

Call us today to get started on your direct mail!


  1. wrote on November 20th, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Catherine Marshall

    This is great to know for the next time I do a direct mail marketing campaign. Personally I prefer postcards because all around they’re inexpensive and effective. Thanks for sharing!

  2. wrote on November 29th, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Jimmy John

    Thank you for the post! I like all the different options but I feel giving the consumer a way to respond is critical so I’m leaning towards the first option. If you can’t give them a method, at least tell them about the different methods be they via an online website or social media.

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