Avoid Prepress Woes – 3 Tips to Speed Up Your Order

If you’re about ready to send us artwork for your postcard magnet order, you may want to check out this brief post on common mistakes before you do. Fixing any of these issues will help save hours or days on your order’s production time.

These three simple tips should help you save time and avoid unnecessary delays and frustrations.

1. Fonts to Outlines

By far the most common and easily avoided mistake we encounter are fonts that haven’t been converted to outlines. Our prepress system doesn’t use fonts at all.  So if the fonts in your file haven’t been converted to outlines, things will come to a stop. Here’s a handy tutorial on how to convert fonts to outlines in Adobe Illustrator.

2. Spacing / Reserved area

As a reminder, magnets must be positioned at least 1/2″ away from any edges on the postcard, and from the area reserved for addressing. The addressing section needs to be a blank white rectangle that’s at least 2.625″ high X 4″ across. The indicia and return address needs to be above this rectangle.  The indicia needs to occupy its own clear space that’s at least 1/2″ x 1/2″.

We have templates available for many of our products that contain an exact breakdown of ideal dimensions and spacing requirements. They’re available to download on this page.

3. 300 DPI

High-resolution photographs make a world of difference. Not only will they help you capture the attention of your recipients, but they’re also vital on a technical level when it comes to printing. The higher resolution an image has, the crisper and cleaner it will be once it’s printed. Now depending on where you place the image in your layout, and its size and complexity, it is occasionally possible for us to work with images that are slightly lower than 300 dpi. But when you have images that are 100 dpi or below, things are going to look blurry and bad. There’s really no way around it.

If you find yourself having trouble locating high resolution photographs, just let us know — we’re more than happy to help you secure great stock photos at an affordable price.



We hope you find these three tips and guidelines useful, as we’re always striving to make our process as easy and hassle-free as possible. If you have any tips of your own, or if there’s any problems you experience that you’d like us to tackle in a future blog post, please let us know in the comments below.

USPS NCOA Requirement

Photography by Chris Woods

In return for the discount postage rates it offers for First Class Presort and Standard Mail services, the USPS requires that both of these types of mail meet its Move Update standards. This is also called the NCOA processing requirement.

USPS NCOA processingThe Postal Service maintains a sizable registry of people and organizations who have recently moved; and it compiles this info in its National Change of Address (NCOA) database. Mailings that meet the Move Update standard must be checked against the NCOA database, and updated for any address changes.

This is good for mailers, since it helps ensure that addresses are up-to-date. And it’s good for the Post Office, since it minimizes the expense of handling all those bad addresses.

The downside to the NCOA requirement is that it costs money. And for a small mailer with a small list, an NCOA processing fee can seem just plain silly.

Luckily, the USPS provides two ways to avoid the NCOA requirement: Continue reading

Improving Direct Mail

photo by Nick Bradsworth www.nbphotos.net/

OK, the secret is out: the most important factor in getting better direct mail results is improving the quality of your mailing list.

This may not seem that surprising. If you’re using really good criteria to select your mailing list, certainly you would expect improved results.

usps standardized addresses

But a quality mailing list is more than the criteria you use to create it. It is quality content in terms of accurate names and deliverable addresses.

At magnetbyMail, we see hundreds of mailing lists each year — most of them are created by our customers who send them to us. They are usually lists of alumnus, subscribers, members, prospects or clients.

And many of these lists are full of errors that would cause the Post Office all sorts of delivery problems.

Now, the good news is that we’ll do our best to make the addresses deliverable. We’ll try to normalize and validate each address provided, so that it meets US Postal standards and matches an address that really exists.

But (although we try) we can’t do miracles. If you manage a mailing list of any size, you should understand some things about Normalizing and Validating an address, to ensure that your list is in tip-top shape:

Normalizing an Address

The Post Office wants to see addresses in a certain, normalized way. They expect an address with at least three lines of information: 1) Recipient Line, 2) Delivery Line address and 3) Last Line. For example: Continue reading