Reply Envelope Type Printing Knowledge
Reply Envelope Type

Reply Envelope Construction

There are two basic styles of reply envelopes available, top opening and side opening. Each style has different variations. Shown below are the basic styles and some of their variations.

Top Opening Reply Envelopes

Top opening reply envelopes are more like a traditional envelope and are easier for the recipient to insert their remittance. The top opening reply envelope can be an insert in the mailer or it can be constructed so that the last part of the outgoing mailer is used as the back of the reply envelope.

The top opening reply envelope can be collated into the mailer just as an insert is collated. Two parts are glued together along three edges, leaving the top edge unglued as the opening of the envelope. An area between envelopes is die cut out so that the outgoing envelope can be glued together. The reply envelope is also glued into one of the stubs that will be removed by the recipient when opening the mailer. The reply envelope will have two flaps. During the collating process, the seal flap will have a remoistenable adhesive applied. The other flap is a waste flap and will have to be detached by the recipient.

Top Opening - Insert Reply Envelope

The reply envelope can also be constructed, die cut and then inserted as a loose insert into the mailer. It is inserted on top of the last part of the outgoing mailer at the collator and held in place when the preceding part is collated on top of it. This type of inserted envelope helps to reduce the thickness and stiffness of the stub by eliminating two parts and two glue lines in the stub. The reply envelope may or may not have a waste flap, depending on how the envelope is constructed.

Another type of top opening reply envelope is one where one part of it is constructed from the last part of the mailer. The part preceding the last part of the mailer makes up the other part of the reply envelope. It is glued to the last part along three edges, forming a pocket with the top edge lightly spot glued to seal the mailer on all edges. The other parts are spot glued at the top and bottom to the reply envelope so that they can be easily peeled off, leaving the envelope for mailing back the remittance. The spot glue between the two flaps is carefully broken and the back flap is removed. Using the last part of the mailer as the back of the reply envelope reduces the thickness of the mailer by eliminating one part.

Top Opening Envelope - Last Part of Mailer
as the Back of the Reply Envelope

If a top opening envelope has a waste flap, it needs to be detached before the envelope can be sealed. There is a feature available where the waste flap is pulled off when the mailer is opened by the recipient. The waste flap of the envelope is glued to the last part of the mailer or the part preceding the envelope, depending on which flap is the waste flap. As the mailer is peeled apart or a tab opening  is pulled open, the waste flap is detached.

Side Opening Reply Envelopes

The side opening reply envelope is available in basically the same variety of types as the top opening envelopes. They are available as a collated insert envelope, a loose inserted envelope and one that has one part of it constructed from the last part of the outgoing mailer. The side opening envelopes are also glued in pocket form along three edges, leaving one side open. The side opening envelope is less popular with the recipient because it is harder, than the top opening envelope, to insert the remittance to send back.

The adhesive used for the seal flap can be remoistenable glue or pressure sensitive tape. Pressure sensitive tape cannot be used on the top opening envelope because it cannot be applied across the web. On side opening envelopes it is applied parallel to the web at the collator. Whether remoistenable glue or pressure sensitive tape is used for sealing the reply envelope will depend on personal preference and the manufacturers capabilities. Pressure sensitive tape is generally less expensive than remoistenable glue for custom short run mailers due to less make ready time but more expensive on longer runs because of material cost.

The side opening envelope can be constructed from parts of the mailer in the same manner as the top sealing envelope shown above. It can also be an inserted envelope that is manufactured separate from the rest of the mailer and then inserted in the proper location when the mailer is collated. It does not generally have a waste flap. The part of the envelope that does not have the seal flap is ran shorter than the part with the flap, eliminating the waste flap.

Side Opening - Loose Inserted Envelope

An open side reply envelope is available as a reusable mailer envelope. The mailer is sent out with a short part on the face of the mailer that is spot glued along three edges and line glued along the outside edge with a fugitive type glue. The short part is imprinted with the delivery address and when the recipient receives the mailer, they peel off the short part and discard it. The fugitive glue allows the short part to be removed without destroying the envelope in that area. Once the short part is removed, the return address and the flap to the reply envelope are revealed and the insert can be extracted. The remittance is placed back into the mailer envelope and the flap is folded over and sealed. The mailer is then used as the reply envelope.

Open Side - Reusable Mailer Envelope

Another style of a reusable mailer is one that has a perforation running parallel with the left and right sides, forming a stub on the face of the mailer. When the recipient receives the mailer, the stub is detached at the perforation and carefully peeled off. Detaching the stub opens the mailer and reveals the insert. The insert is removed and the remittance is place back in the mailer where the insert was. When the stub was removed from the face of the mailer it also exposed the seal flap of the reply envelope. The flap is wider than a normal flap and when folded over, it covers the outgoing delivery address. The remittance address has been preprinted on the reply envelope for return delivery.

Each of the different types of reply envelopes may have slight variations in them. The differences will depend on the manufacturer's capabilities.



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