Types of Mailers Printing Knowledge
Types of Mailers

Promotional Mailers | Self Mailers | Continuous Multiple Part Mailers | Advantages and Disadvantages

There are many different types of mailers and each type of mailer is available in a variety styles. Different types of mailers are used for different purposes, are manufactured by different types of printing processes and are processed in different ways. Shown below are some of the basic types of mailers available, each having many variations possible. 

Promotional Mailers

Promotional mailers are used for advertising and promotional purposes. They generally have more of a creative design to attract the customer's attention to the product or services being advertised. The purpose of the mailer may be to advertise special offers or discounts on products or services, inform customers about new products and services, distribute company information or advertise industry conferences and training seminars. The type of mailer used can vary from a single postcard to a folded multiple page mailer.

Single Postcard - A single postcard style mailer does not have any folds and will generally be printed on both sides. One side is used for the mailing address and other postal information. The reverse side can be used for product promotions, discount offers or any type of information that a company may want to distribute about its products and services.


Single Fold Mailer

A single fold mailer provides four pages to print information about a company's products and services. It consists of two panels which can be printed on both sides each. One of the outside panels is used for the mailing address and other postal information. The open edge is generally sealed with a tab seal, line gluing, spot gluing or tacky glue spots. See Mailer - Construction - Closure Types. Perforations can be added to allow a portion of the mailer to be detached and used as a reply mail card, a coupon or a discount card.


Multiple Fold Mailer

The multiple fold mailer is basically the same as the single fold mailer except that it provides additional pages to the mailer. For each additional page that the additional folds provide, the mailer has two additional panels. When the mailer is its finished folded size, one of the outside panels consists of the mailing information. The finished open edge is generally sealed by the same methods as the single folded mailer, tab seal, line gluing, spot gluing or tacky glue spots. There are many different types of folds that can be used for your mailer. See Finishing - Folding for more details on the different types of folds that are available.

Self Mailers

Self mailers are generally used for business applications such as statements, checks, order forms, billing notices, credit memos, past due notices, proxy notices, licensing, correspondence and many others. The mailer may be a one way mailer that contains information sent to the recipient without a response request or it may be a business reply piece only, such as a credit application or an order form from a catalog. The mailer could also be a two way mailer that sends information to the recipient and also contains a response mail piece requesting a response from the recipient. Self mailers save time and handling costs by eliminating the need for a mailing envelope, which improves the efficiency of the mailing process. The self mailer can contain a reply envelope which promotes a quicker response time from the customer.

The self mailer generally consists of a one part form that has a V-fold, C-fold or a Z-fold. It can contain inserts if the processing equipment has the capability of inserting. The mailer can contain a reply envelope that is constructed from the mailer itself or it can be constructed by adding a patch to the mailer to form the envelope. The self mailer can also have windows die cut out of them to allow an address to show through when folded. The different types of sealing processes that are available are remoistenable glue, pressure seal, pressure sensitive tape, line gluing and spot gluing. The level of security that is required for the mailing piece will be a factor in what type of sealing process should be used. For more details on the construction of self mailers, see Mailers - Construction. The self mailer can be basically one of two types, continuous or cut sheet. See descriptions below.

Continuous Self Mailers

Continuous self mailers are manufactured as a continuous form and must follow the same guidelines. See Continuous Forms for more details. The pinfeed holes are trimmed during the finishing process, before the mailer is burst, folded and sealed. Shown below are two different types of continuous self mailers.


Continuous Self Mailer with C-Fold - Two Way Mailer
Reply Envelope Constructed from the Mailer Itself
Window Die Cut to Expose Delivery Address


Continuous Self Mailer with C-Fold - One Way Mailer
No Reply Envelope - Check Folded into Mailer - Blockout Added for Security


Note: The two way and one way mailer shown above both show a C-fold. Continuous self mailers can also be V-folded and Z-folded. The perf locations and the style of fold used will depend on where the copy needs to be located when the final fold is made. Also, a patch can be added to form a reply envelope rather than the envelope being part of the mailer itself.

Cut Sheet Self Mailers

Cut sheet mailers are manufactured as a single sheet or laser sheet product. They must follow the same guidelines as the corresponding products must follow. See Single Sheets and Laser Sheets for more details. Shown below are some samples of cut sheet self mailers.


Cut Sheet Self Mailer with C-Fold - Two Way Mailer
Reply Envelope Constructed from a Separate Panel Added to the Mailer
Window Die Cut to Expose Delivery Address



Cut Sheet Self Mailer with Z-Fold - One Way Mailer
No Reply Envelope - Blockout Added for Security



Cut Sheet Self Mailer with V-Fold - One Way Mailer
Reply Envelope Constructed from the Mailer Itself


Cut Sheet Self Mailer with C-Fold - One Way Mailer
Business Reply Mailer - No Envelope Required


Note: Self mailers are also available on rolls. Consult your manufacturer for availablity.


Continuous Multiple Part Mailers

Continuous multiple part mailers are generally used for the same type of applications as the self mailers. They consist of two or more parts and use cross web gluing to seal edges to form the mailing piece. They eliminate the need for an envelope to mail the document in, as does the self mailer, but continuous multiple part mailers are generally more expensive to manufacture than self mailers. Even though they are more expensive, the overall cost may be less if you have to invest in the processing equipment necessary to fold and seal some of the self mailers. The volume of usage you have for your mailers will determine which type will be most cost efficient for you. The continuous multiple part mailer will have to follow the same guides as all continuous forms. See Continuous Forms for more details. There are two basic types of continuous multiple part mailers, the peel apart mailer and the insert mailer. Different variations of each mailer are available. Some of the basic variations are shown below.

Two Part Peel Apart Mailer

Two part peel apart mailer is a two part continuous form that is glued at the left and right edges and cross web glued at the top and bottom so that all edges are sealed. Information is imprinted on the face of the first part and is imaged through to the bottom part. Copy that is confidential can have a blockout printed in that area to hide the information. The two part peel apart mailer is generally used as a one way mailer that does not require a response from the recipient and a fly sheet is not needed for a file copy. A 3rd part could be added as a fly sheet if a file copy was required or to image the mailer without the use of a blockout on the face of the outgoing mailer envelope.


Insert Mailer with Fly Sheet

An insert mailer is a mailer that has at least one part inserted and sealed between the front and back of the outgoing envelope. A reply envelope can also be inserted to be used by the recipient to send back a remittance. A fly sheet is usually used when the sender needs to retain a copy of the information being sent in the mailer. At times it only serves as a means to imprint the inside information while only imprinting the outside of the mailer with the delivery address and return address. See Mailers - Construction for more details. The fly sheet is the first part of the mailer and retained by the sender or discarded. The balance of the mailer is sent to the recipient. The balance of the mailer can consist of two or more parts and have several different construction features.


Insert Mailer with Reusable Envelope

A mailer with a reusable envelope uses the same envelope for the reply envelope as was used to send the mailer to the recipient. The mailer's content is removed by the recipient and then the envelope is reused to send back a remittance.


Insert Peel Apart Mailer

A peel apart mailer is constructed so that the stubs are removed in a specific sequence to reveal the contents of the mailer. You may also be instructed to peel back one or several parts to expose its contents. Peel apart mailers can also have a fly sheet as the first part of the mailer. See other opening styles in Mailers - Construction.


For more details on the construction of the different type mailers, see Mailers - Construction.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Self Mailers and Continuous Multiple Part Mailers

Mailer Advantages:

  • Eliminates the time and labor cost of separately folding inserts, and stuffing and addressing envelopes.
  • Reduces material cost by not having a separate insert form, outgoing envelope and reply envelope.
  • Increased efficiency generates faster turnaround time of documents.
  • Less storage space is needed to store the mailers than needed for separate cartons of forms, outgoing envelopes and reply envelopes.
  • Self Mailers can reduce the cost of postage because they are usually only one part forms, keeping the weight and thickness to a minimum.
  • Once the mailer is imprinted and processing is completed, it is ready to mail. It does not need to be sent anywhere to be stuffed and sealed in an envelope.

Mailer Disadvantages:

  • Multiple part continuous mailers can cause problems when running through the printer due to the number of parts and the gluing.
  • Mailers with carbon and carbonizing ink are susceptible to smudging and tracking when running through the mail processing equipment.
  • The cost of a self mailer is generally less expensive than other mailers but the folder/sealers used for self mailers can be costly. You need to have a medium to high usage of self mailers to justify the cost of most folder/sealer equipment. Equipment manufacturers have started to manufacture lower end models to make the usage of self mailers more affordable.


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