Tag Archives: Tyvek

5 Tips: What Designers Know About Designing Mailers

Too often considerable resources are spent on the marketing literature, and yet the decision as to how it will be presented to your target market is made by the mailroom.    It is the mailer, and not the literature inside, that is on the front line speaking volumes about the quality of your firm.  Here are five great design tips that will enable your mailer to work as hard as your marketing materials:

1.  Paperboard mailers are exceptionally print friendly (unlike bubble mailers, boxes, and Tyvek envelopes).  So get bold about using that space to your company’s advantage.  Put your logo, your branding statement or icon, and even “Follow us on Twitter!”.   A generic approach is best if you anticipate that the mailer will have multiple uses.

2.  Alternatively, design your mailer specifically to create excitement about what’s inside.  For example:  “Your samples are here!” or “Valuable conference materials for Expo 2011!” .  This ensures your package gets opened first, rather than the recipient discovering it on their own only once they’ve opened it.

3.  Put business on the back, branding on the front.  In other words, put your mailing label on the back side of the mailer where the flap closes so that you have a full canvas on the front side to let your branding and marketing message shine.

4.   Putting your mailer in the mail will put your beautifully printed mailer through its paces, so avoid printing it in a dark color end to end (a.k.a. “full bleed).  If the mailer’s corners get bruised in any way, the white fibers in the paperboard will appear and distract the eye from the overall look of the package.

5.  QR Codes are all the range on billboards these days, so why not think of your mailer as a giant billboard for your company that just happens to be delivered to your client’s mailbox? Add a QR code to your mailer to tie your offline marketing efforts to your online ones.  You could feature a video of your CEO thanking your customer for their business!

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

Recyclable Tyvek® Mailers? Not Really.

Is it legitimate to say that a product is 100% recyclable when, in reality, the majority of municipalities won’t accept that product for collection?

This contradiction has always left me scratching my head.  Why? Technically DuPont™ Tyvek® high density polyethylene (HDPE) material can be safely incinerated BUT only if the product gets sorted and collected.  Tyvek has a collection problem and they know it: they’ve put well-intended but impractical programs in place to address the issue.

I did a little detective work, and here’s what I learned:

1.  Most municipalities won’t collect Tyvek envelopes.  Waste Management, with over 25% market share in the solid waste services industry, states: “there’s no single answer to what is acceptable for recycling, since municipal programs vary.”  So digging deeper at the municipality level, I found that many municipalities collect HDPE but only if they are in the form of containers:

#2 HDPE : Examples: Milk jugs. Juice bottles. Bottles for bleach, laundry detergent, some household cleansers.  Motor oil bottles.  Butter, oleomargarine, and yogurt tubs.

2.  In response, DuPont has created a recycling program in partnership with Waste Management but get this — it requires you to pay them $15 to get the kit!  Then the burden is on you to mail your recyclable Tyvek to them.  If you are a household or a small to medium business – or if you are a large corporation sending packages to these kinds of recipients – how likely do you think Tyvek recipients are going to buy a kit, separate out all the Tyvek, and mail it back?  Not very likely.

So think hard before you use Tyvek – because you are putting a product into circulation that most likely will not be recycled.  There are other protective mailers out there that do the job and are authentically 100% recyclable through your local municipality.

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

The Conformer Mailer: How It Works

Ever since Canvas Magazine mailed its August issue in a Conformer mailer, the phones have been ringing off the hook.  Obviously, Canvas publisher Mark Potter did a good job calling attention to the unmet need in the marketplace for smart packaging solutions.

This week, the question we kept fielding was “How does it work?”  At Conformer, we are probably guilty of overlooking this reasonable question.  How does the construction work? In other words, why believe the Conformer construction is superior just because we say so? We owe you this answer.

At a glance, a Conformer product looks like a bunch of score lines since that’s probably its most noticeable feature.  But if you take a close look at a Conformer mailer, you’ll notice three key features:

  1. Score lines on all four sides, on both the front and back face.
  2. Inset vertical seams that are glued almost, but not quite, to the bottom of the mailer.
  3. Overlapping, unglued flaps at the corners
These three features create uniformity throughout the mailer so that its corners have just as much capacity as its center.   Traditional mailers and envelopes do not have uniform capacity – the corners are always a serious limiting factor, which is why we have to make do with an oversized envelope or bubble mailer.  The bottom corners are dead space.

The Conformer construction has corners that are free of glue, plus the score lines triangulate at the corners to create a nice open space (sort of like the corner of a box).  This is what enables Conformer mailers to boast a maximum capacity that outrivals the marketplace, without having to rely on the convoluted folds of a gusseted mailer (no uniform capacity there either… just a lot of oversized, excess material.)

[FYI, when I say the word “oversized,” read “expensive”.  Using an oversized package has a lot of hidden costs, especially at the post office, your fulfillment center, in storage, in freight, in damages, and the environment.]

In addition, the score lines enable the mailer to conform uniformly around your material inside so that the Conformer mailer snugly holds a little or a lot.  This gives you a lot of flexibility in one mailer, doesn’t it?   And, that snug fit is pretty important in protecting your contents.  You don’t want shift inside your package.  You want a snug fit, and the Conformer mailer, well, “conforms”!

There are other hidden bonuses to the Conformer construction.

  • We’ve moved the vertical glue lines towards the strongest part of a mailer, its center.
  • The score lines, when they conform to your stuff and triangulate at the corners, create a nice 360° perimeter of protection around your contents.

  • The perimeter is exactly where documents in particular need protection, not the top and bottom face of a package, which is what you get from a bubble mailer.
  • Those overlapping flaps at the corners?  Think of them like air vents.  They release the air trapped inside a paper envelope when you seal it tight, eliminating the #1 stress point inside an envelope.  (This dynamic, along with Conformer’s uniform capacity, makes our envelopes a particularly smart choice for a high-speed insertion environment, but that’s for another time…)

These features make the Conformer construction strong, which then begs the question… “So why am I paying a premium for a Tyvek(R) envelope?”

And finally, the fourth unsung hero of a Conformer mailer is paperboard.  It prints exceptionally well, enabling our clients to present their brand and their marketing message as it should be – beautifully and immediately – without forcing you to dig through an ugly bubble mailer, or cut open a small corrugated box full of fill to get to the good stuff inside.  And the paperboard is sustainably harvested, recycled, recyclable, and the smallest footprint possible.

And that, my friends, is how the Conformer construction works.  Let me know how it works for you.

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

USPS Investment Puts Money in Your Pocket

About a year ago, the U.S. Postal Service put out a detailed report on exactly how its investment in technology has “revolutionized the way the USPS processes flat mail.” It was such an important operational shift that the USPS moved to shape-based postal rates two years ago to help influence the packaging choices made by its customers.

This article spotlights the Flats Sequencing System (FSS), which sorts flat mail “in the precise order that postal mail carriers walk their route.” It’s a massive improvement in postal efficiency – each machine can process about 280,500 pieces per day – because it eliminates manual handling. And the money for this equipment is already spent. So each parcel that can be converted into a flat and run on the FSS is greater profit for the USPS.

The USPS has lost $7.9 billion in the past two years, and serious cuts are being considered. We have a huge opportunity to lower our own postage costs AND help the U.S. Postal Service stay afloat at the same time. How? By converting to Conformer mailers and envelopes, which work beautifully on the FSS equipment and lower the USPS’s processing costs. Do something for the greater good – abandon manually processed bubble mailers, small boxes, Tyvek and gusseted envelopes – and you’ll be putting money back into your own pocket.

–Sari McConnell smcconnell@conformerinc.com