How New Shape-Cut Envelopes Redefine Direct Mail

A new strategy for direct mail takes your envelopes outside the box, literally. The design is no longer constrained to the borders of a standard envelope. With new shape-cut envelopes, the graphic design trails off the edge to create a unique visual impression with its recipients. They’re also USPS-approved and qualify for standard postage rates.

NextPage CEO Gina Danner says, “The first thing for any successful direct mail campaign is to engage the recipient. So if you can break through the clutter of what they see [in the mail] all the time, aka a white rectangular envelope, by a dynamically printed full-color shape-cut envelope, your recipients will be more interested and you have a better chance to engage them.”

Shape-cut envelopes are not sold in stores. They are custom made specifically for your direct mail campaign and each shape has to be tested and approved by the USPS. As long as the envelopes can process through automated machines without causing jams or stacking issues, then you’re golden. NextPage has a set of pre-approved shapes that are ready for customized use and can also design new ones to test at the Post Office.

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Production of shape-cut envelopes began in 2016 and is done through a specially designed manufacturing process. NextPage is one of few printing companies in America with this equipment and one of even fewer that prints and converts their own envelopes in-house.

“Not every printer manufactures their own envelopes and not every envelope manufacturer is able to produce these shape-cut envelopes,” Danner said. “So it’s a point where we can produce them for not an exceptional amount of more money for our clients and allow them to get ahead of the competition.”

There are certain criteria a proper shape-cut envelope must follow, including:

  • The envelope is still rectangular with four 90-degree corners and straight edges.
  • The shape is on the left of the address window.
  • The shape does not exceed the top or bottom of the envelope.
  • There is at least 1/8 inch between the shape and corners.
  • All postal regulations are obeyed, including window positions.

Learn more about creating great direct mail envelopes by downloading our free ebook, An Insider’s Guide to Direct Mail Envelope Design.