Format – Self-Mailer Flyer

The Self-Mailer Flyer

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Self-Mailer FolderA self-mailer flyer is a single sheet of paper (of any size) that is folded one or more times to create a multi-panel flyer.

A typical self-mailer would be a 3 panel mailer measuring 8 x 15 inches which folds twice to a finished size of 8 x 5 inches; or a 4-panel mailer measuring 8 x 20 which folds three times to a finished size of 8 x 5 inches.

The self-mailer flyer may be printed on paper stock or card stock – and is mailed on its own without an envelope.  If one of the panels is a reply card, the self-mailer would need to be printed on card stock.

If your mailer needs to include a built-in reply envelope, you’ll need to consult with a specialized printer that can create combined order form/envelopes.

The size of the self-mailer flyer can be as large or as small as you want with some restrictions from the post office.

The finished (folded) size of your self-mailer will determine your postage rate.  Self-mailers that are no larger than 6-1/8 x 11-1/2 inches qualify for so-called letter rates (the same you would pay for regular mail).  If the finished size is larger, you will pay a surcharge, close to double the postage of regular mail.

You should also check with your printer to find out what limitations you may face with the paper dimensions of the printing press. But other than that, you are free to test your imagination and creativity.

Folding options for self-mailers

Once the piece is printed, you can fold it as many times as you want.  Keep in mind there are several ways you can fold a mailer.

  • You can “barrel-fold” your mailer so that when you open the front panel, it continues to roll out like a barrel.
  • You can “gate-fold” your mailer so that the finished mailer appears to have two gates that can be opened from the left or the right.
  • You can “double-fold” your mail so that you first fold the mailer in half,  then half again.  This is a fairly common folding process that has one important disadvantage.  Every time you fold, your inside spread gets buried deeper – and decreases the chances your reader will see it.

To qualify for automation and presorting postage discounts, the fold of the mailer must be sealed with a wafer seal or glue before mailing- so there are no open flaps.

The power of design

The self-mailer flyer is a favorite format for some because it lends itself to splashier graphic design.  This is best used when photos, illustrations and other graphics can contribute to communicating the message.

But be careful not to let the design take center stage.  Your message is the important element and your design should be used to communicate that message – not replace it.

Advantages of the self-mailer

Price is one of the advantages of the self-mailer flyer.  Because there is just one element to print and no envelope inserting required, this format is usually less expensive to print and mail than envelope formats.  However, you should expect additional design costs with a self-mailer.

A self-mailer is also perceived to be a non-personalized communication, which means it may get noticed (and even read) by individuals other than the addressee.  This gives the format strong “pass-along” potential that could yield an expanded readership.

Final Note

When designing a self-mailer, think ahead of how the piece will folds.  If the reply card is getting “buried” by the folds, this could decrease response.

To learn more …

Please contact Bob McCarthy at508-473-8643 or  Or fill out the form below

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