The USPS is hoping to boost visual impact and increase open rates of mailpieces by introducing the Picture Permit Indicia program. It’s a great idea, incorporating a logo, brand or trademark within a mail permit or indicia. The regulations for indicia elements (verbiage, location and placement) are the same, however, there are so many additional stipulations that the “great idea” is buried in a mountain of red tape.
- The service is available for mailing of First-Class or Standard letters and postcards using Full-Service IMb.
- Graphics must be in color because black and white images did not perform to satisfaction in operational tests.
- Registration to use the service is required.
- A separate application must be completed and approved.
- Upon approval from the PMO (Program Management Office), a sample PDF copy of the addressed piece must be submitted for approval showing envelope/card dimensions, IMb, clear zone and proposed PPI design.
- Upon approval, an additional 500 hard copies of live mail samples must be submitted for USPS Engineering, Operations and Acceptance to test and testing takes approximately 30-45 days.
- After passing the operations test, you will need to submit your mailing schedule including dates and volumes.
There’s also an additional charge connected to service as well. First-Class Mail cost is one additional cent per piece and Standard Mail costs two cents a piece. The idea of using an indicia branded with a corporate image is exciting and let’s hope that in the future the USPS eases up on the rules and the cost to allow their client base to incorporate this new marketing tool in their mail programs.