5 Design Tips to Get Your Envelope Noticed
You can increase the response rate of your fundraising direct mail campaigns by designing your envelope to stand out. These five ideas will instantly help your donor want to open your mail piece and review your carefully-crafted message inside.
Mailboxes are full of #10 standard-sized envelopes, so recipients always notice the oversized envelopes in the mailbox. Remember, increasing the size may not always increase your postage. Check with your printer on current postage and mailing regulations.
Even if you don’t go big, breaking from the usual size will help it stand out from your previous mailings, for example going from 4x6" to 6x9" or a 9x12".
Instead of printing on an existing white envelope, if your mailing is large enough, you can consider printing on flat paper and converting it into an envelope to use every inch of space. Print one color up to four colors, outside of a return address. Consider what a full-cover photograph could look like. Depending on quantity and printing, converting envelopes may even be more cost efficient. But converted envelopes have a longer production cycle, so plan far in advance if this is something you'd like to do.
Your designer will want to request the dieline template of the envelope prior to starting your design. When designing the back of the envelope, it is recommended to not crossover art from flap to the back panel as it can be hard to align. Request a folding proof before going to print to ensure folding and graphics appear the way you would like them to look.
Another way to incorporate color into your envelope is by using colored paper. Colored envelopes usually cost more than white envelopes, but then you can save on the cost of printing color on them.
Another way to tease to the inside content in an envelope without a window is by printing a teaser message on the envelope like "Your Gift Inside" or "Urgent Reminder!" Match the look to the content inside to tease what they will see.
Personalizing the message on your envelope can make the recipient feel special. For example, if you’re trying to get a donation from someone who has donated multiple years in a row, customize a message to say "XX consecutive year donor," calling attention to the fact that they may not want to break their donation streak!
Even a "Thank you for your past donation" or calling out where they attended school with a "Message for XX School, Year XX of Alumni" can surprise and delight your recipient. To do this, you will need to check what data elements you have to use and design with the longest character count for all variables to ensure there is enough space.
Did you know you can choose what font is used for the mailing address? There are many fonts available, just ask your printer. Match your overall campaign design by providing them with font name, size and letter case (all caps, mixed case, etc.) The USPS prefers all caps and no punctuation in recipient addresses.
Remember your mailing area does not always have to be on the right or left side, unless the envelope is larger than 11x6.125". There is a lot of play area. Keep in mind if you are accompanying your mailing with Informed Delivery, you will want your personalized message on the same side as the recipient address, so it shows up in their email scan.
Another factor in art placement is if you are mailing your direct mail piece with an indicia or stamp, the choice determines how much space is needed and the placement of your art. Stamps make mail look more personal and must be placed in the upper right-hand corner of the mail panel. A rule of thumb for a mailing panel is 4x2" for recipient address information. Download a mailing template here (pdf) for design safe area. If you feature an indicia, play with the shape and look of the design, but always make sure you get approval from a mail piece design analyst prior to finalizing the design. It is recommended to go no smaller than 0.75" as long as it is legible.