Designing A Self-Mailer Insert

You See Them All The Time. You Know, The Inserts That Are Stitched Inside Magazines And Brochures.

You pull them out of their staples, fill in the form and return it inside the ready-made envelope.

For lack of a better name, let’s call them stitched-in self-mailers (SISM).

They’re a very economical way of using direct response marketing because they avoid the use of a separate direct mail package. The envelope is already pre-made and they just need to ride along with the magazine or brochure.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when designing a SISM:

self-mailer insert layout

Start From Finished Size
It’s important that the finished SISM will fit inside the magazine or brochure without any of the edges sticking out. The folded, stitched-in size should be at least 1/8″ smaller than the piece it’s being stitched into. If you can make it smaller, even better.

Work Backwards And Create A Mockup
To help in designing your SISM on a flat sheet, start with a finished envelope, flap and all, and just hand-draw some artwork on each side. Any kind of markings will do. It’s just to give you a perspective so that when the sheet is flat, you can position the artwork correctly.

Don’t Forget A Perforation
Your response piece needs to come off from the envelope easily. Use a perforation, and don’t make the prospect hunt for a pair of scissors. It’s best to position the perforation along the vertical line where it will be stitched in. That way, the prospect can easily tear out the response or envelope.

One Fold Is Enough
Try to design the response so that it will fit into the return envelope after only one fold. You can also make it fit with no folds if you add more perforations for sections of the response that don’t need to be returned. Don’t forget that because the envelope is not a ‘real’ envelope, the two edges have been glued together and will thus reduce the inside width by about 1″.

After all is said and done, and approved, don’t forget to add your SISM to your toolbox as a template. Your next one will be much easier.

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