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Yeah Right.

Then again, I do love me some Futura Bold.

I came across this piece by Smithsonian Magazine about how illegible mail actually gets where it’s supposed to go. The WSJ wrote about the Remote Encoding Center in Salt Lake City a few years ago and I commented that my main concern was that USPS cutbacks might shutter the program and make ornate addressing of invitations too risky a business.

My hopes may actually be panning out – postal OCR is only improving! But that’s only part of the equation.

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More Good Information

Now, truth be told, I’m no fan of the wedding ‘boards. There tends to be a lot of misinformation and general anonymous internet tomfoolery on them. But in some recent research, I came across this post by a USPS employee working in a Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC). The advice here is solid! But it’s not conclusive.

All this considered, there are a few takeaways worth noting:

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  • Unreadable addresses don’t have to physically go to SLC to be read, but a misread of an address may cause your mail to wind up someplace completely unintended. The goal is to avoid completely unreadable addresses.
  • There are two main reasons you’d want to avoid having your invitations processed by machine: to avoid damage and to avoid that pesky barcode sprayed on your invitation.
  • Paying the non-machinable/hand-processed surcharge is no guarantee your invitations will be processed by hand. Sending truly non-machinable invitations is.
  • Always check the cost of postage at the post office you’ll be sending your invitations from.
  • The things most blogs tell you not to do to ensure your mail is legible (black/dark or metallic envelopes, things affixed to the outside, too ornate an address…)? Those are the things that might cause your invitation to be processed by hand and arrive in the best shape.
  • If nothing else, make sure your return address is legible. It would be better for the invitation to return to you than to end up sold or recycled.

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So tell me, what’s the worst damage you’ve ever seen happen to a piece of mail?

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