It’s inevitable that some of the mail processed by the Postal Service will show signs of handling. Among the most common are scuff marks or smudges. In order to handle the large volume of mail that comes through every day – all told, close to 500 million pieces of mail on average – cards, letters and packages are sent through scanners and other automated sorters.

The machines grip and flex postcards as they zoom to the correct place for further handling. A scuff mark or a smudge here and there is not unexpected. Mail recipients are accustomed to seeing these marks on much of the mail they receive, so it’s likely they won’t give it a second thought.

Naturally, these are best kept to a minimum, but once your cards enter the mail system, their appearance is dependent on how the USPS handles them. There are a few things, however, that can keep surprises to a minimum:

Avoid solid black backgrounds. Minor damage may be more evident on black ink compared with other colors, including white. Black (as long as it’s true black) can look nice from a design perspective, but if trying to avoid scuffs or scratches is especially important to you, then white or another color might be a better choice for you.

Use UV protective coating. Adding a smooth, protective layer to both front and back sides of postcards not only improves the look of cards but helps them to move through the sorting machines with less risk for smudging, scratching or scuffing. While this doesn’t eliminate those issues entirely, it does mitigate them somewhat. At Inkit, all of our postcards receive this durable UV protective coating.

Mail yourself a sample piece. The best way to see what your postcards will look like when they are delivered is to receive one yourself. You can see first-hand what your card will look like when it gets delivered. You may even find that you want to change the layout of the card or the colors you selected based on the card’s appearance once it has gone through the handling process.

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