New Requirements for U.S. Custom Postage Questions 3 pages: [1] 2 3
Posted: Thursday, April 05, 2018 8:32:14 PM
Hi Designers,

Please read our official announcement here regarding the new requirements for U.S. custom postage.

We’re certain that this new criteria will raise a lot of questions. We’re in the process of trying to get more details and we’ll pass that information on to you as soon as we have it. Please share your questions below in this thread only so that we have it all in one place. Again, this thread is for questions only regarding these new requirements. We will delete any posts that do not belong.

Please also note that we won't have answers right away for you but as soon as we do, we'll let you know. Thanks again for your patience!
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 1:37:10 AM
My mom likes to use stamps with pictures of nature (flowers, trees, etc) on her correspondence. Is that enough for "social"?
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 1:43:23 AM
I am totally at a loss with this one.

'Commercial’ means intended for no purpose other than the sale of goods or services in commerce.

that could literally mean anything. a logo, a website URL, a phone number, a coupon, a mascot, signage...anything could be labeled as marketing which in turn could be defined as "commercial".

actual definitions of "commercial"

adjective
1. concerned with or engaged in commerce.
2. having profit, rather than artistic or other value.
3. funded by the revenue from broadcast advertisements.
4. supplied in bulk and not of the highest purity.

noun
1. a television or radio advertisement.

my questions; huh? seriously, what? can I get an example of what the USPS is even talking about? do they mean that postage has to now be an ad? if we depict a cartoon dog does it have to be a company trademark? is this rule designed to remove independent artists in favor of corporations like Disney?

‘Social’ means promoting or depicting people, animals, items, or events commonly associated with community relations or companionship and likely to generate invitations, announcements, notices, thank-you notes, RSVPs, or similar correspondence.

that could also literally mean anything. a picture of me and my dog, two cows playing poker, a punch bowl or water cooler, a couple kissing, a church, a bar, a political movement... oh wait, that's right only "social" as defined by the USPS. I don't have the dictionary that they published.

"social"

adjective
1. relating to society or its organization.
2. in zoology, (of a bird) gregarious; breeding or nesting in colonies.

noun
1. an informal social gathering, especially one organized by the members of a particular club or group.

as long as that group isn't a religious or political one or one that enjoys a good libation on weekends, or birds.

how does a stamp generate all of the things listed up there (invitations, announcements, notices, thank-you notes, RSVPs etc.)? isn't the purpose of a stamp supposed to be to instead to deliver said things? Does this limit design elements to only text such as 'RSVP, Save The Date, Happy Holidays" etc. and images of only reindeer, white bunnies and groundhogs etc.? do designs need to be associated with a calendar event or matrimony?

so, basically only capitalism and socialism is allowed? no liberty or freedom type stuff? these new rules either greatly expand or seriously limit our design freedom, I'm not quite sure which. so, I am going to simply delete all of my postage. but I would still love to hear the answers to my questions, for future reference.
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 3:46:13 AM
Like Jerry, I'm in the dark. One that particularly caught my eye was "Any depiction of political, religious, violent or sexual content." Religious? Does this mean that Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, etc. will no longer be allowed by anyone but the PO itself? Or are they referring to bigotry? If so, perhaps they could have said it clearly: No slander.

Will my stamp depicting The Three Wise Men be deleted because it's Christian?
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 4:25:33 AM
I have two specific questions (as I don't understand the definitions either):

1. Are monograms and custom names (adorned with graphics elements like flowers, geometric shapes, leaves etc) commercial or social? Or, simply put, do they meet the criteria?

2. Are vintage images, and derivative artwork based off of vintage images, allowed according to the new rules?
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 5:37:38 AM
I think all of the posters ahead of me in this conversation make excellent points. The definition given for what cannot be used is "clear as mud". I wonder if that is intentional so as to give them some leeway in deciding whether or not to accept a particular design? I doubt that is the case simply because the powers that be probably do not have the time or inclination to review "on the fence" cases.
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 5:39:14 AM
I would love clarification from the post office on this one. Like others, I'm baffled at the ambiguity of these requirements. What some people find offensive, I don't, and vice versa.

So far, I only have a few stamps for sale, but I have a graphics folder I've been filling up with stamp ideas. Some of these include what may fall under "religious". I wonder what that word means in this context. My experience has been that it means "No Christianity." If, however, I am wrong, and it does indeed include all religions, then that is also a problem. What happened to our freedom of religion? Can a Christian or a Muslim or a Pagan have their beliefs squelched from expression in this manner?

And, as has already been mentioned, the other terms seem quite vague. I fear this will turn into a guessing game, where we post something and hope for the best. Not exactly a great way to run a business.

I suppose, like others, I will be taking postage stamps off my list of products to create. I may leave up the ones I have and see what happens, but no new ones.

I'll keep an eye out for clarification/updates, but yeah....looks like postage may be off the table.
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 6:25:10 AM
And I wonder.....don't think I've seen it mentioned....but would my "Easter" bunny stamps be rejected because of the tag "Easter" being a religious holiday?

Too confusing for my poor brain

d
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 6:47:21 AM
Are tourism stamps ok? Photos of touristic scenes with no people or text?
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 7:19:27 AM
I'm stumped as well. I have a lot of stamps with crosses and tombstones with crosses on them.

Halloween stamps with scary sounding words in the tags. I wonder if they will have to go too?
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 8:04:03 AM
Hi everyone - I've deleted a few posts here that did not have any questions regarding the announcement. Again, we need this thread to just be questions so we can better get answers for you. Please start a new discussion thread if you wish to make other comments/opinions on the matter. For those that I've deleted, I made note of your concerns and will pass it on.

Thanks!
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 8:35:10 AM
Would a stamp that said "vote" be considered political?
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 8:41:26 AM
Stamps that say "Love", "Thanks", "Good Vibes", "Have A Great Day" and other common words, are such stamps allowed?
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 8:45:42 AM
Christine wrote:
Hi everyone - I've deleted a few posts here that did not have any questions regarding the announcement. Again, we need this thread to just be questions so we can better get answers for you. Please start a new discussion thread if you wish to make other comments/opinions on the matter. For those that I've deleted, I made note of your concerns and will pass it on.

Thanks!
Thanks for letting us know. My post was deleted and I did ask questions. Thankfully the questions I had were repeated by others.
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 9:54:05 AM
Religious subjects are not suitable for all ages?

So a nativity scene on a Christmas stamp? Angels? Santa Claus?
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 10:26:27 AM
Will these new guidelines affect stamps which have sold previously?
When will there be more clarification on these guidelines?
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 11:50:41 AM
Digitalbcon Wainman wrote:
When will there be more clarification on these guidelines?

Probably depends on the U.S. Postal Service, and I bet Zazzle would like to know the same thing.
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 12:01:30 PM
Susannah Keegan wrote:
Are tourism stamps ok? Photos of touristic scenes with no people or text?


Also, illustrations with touristic scenes with custom names incorporated?
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 1:03:44 PM
All of the commenters before are making good points. I have had the same questions. I know it is difficult to transmit abstract requirements. It's even harder to translate them into real-world scenarios. This is not the only time where I find myself hitting the question mark key every hour but also finding myself at odds with the requirements. In the past often deleted it all instead of going through one by one.

The must not contain part is pretty clear. But the commercial and social part can be tricky.

What if depicting an Urban Landscape with recognizable buildings? Landscapes of national parks? Depicting a Concert (in compliance with photography laws)?


Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 2:50:46 PM
Colorwash wrote:
Like Jerry, I'm in the dark. One that particularly caught my eye was "Any depiction of political, religious, violent or sexual content." Religious? Does this mean that Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, etc. will no longer be allowed by anyone but the PO itself? Or are they referring to bigotry? If so, perhaps they could have said it clearly: No slander.

Will my stamp depicting The Three Wise Men be deleted because it's Christian?


That was my first thought, that "religious" would be we can no longer do Christmas stamps. I hope that's not the case.
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2018 3:07:26 PM
My list of questions was removed, along with the post before mine which was also a question, so I think the deletion may have removed some unintended things. Some of my questions have been repeated by others. The ones I don't think have been:

Do prohibited substances include poisonous mushrooms? Specifically, I have fly agaric images.

What does political mean in this context? Does it include things like gay pride flags and save the rainforest?

Do weapons include things like an arrow through a loveheart and a knight carrying a sword?
Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2018 3:32:31 AM
Polenth wrote:
My list of questions was removed, along with the post before mine which was also a question, so I think the deletion may have removed some unintended things. Some of my questions have been repeated by others. The ones I don't think have been:

Do prohibited substances include poisonous mushrooms? Specifically, I have fly agaric images.

What does political mean in this context? Does it include things like gay pride flags and save the rainforest?

Do weapons include things like an arrow through a loveheart and a knight carrying a sword?

I suspect the list of no-no's was put together with a specific mindset. It's possible that, by "political," they were thinking of glorifying (or not) specific politicians and groups thereof, not of the plethora of social issues. Anything can be utilized as a weapon, so we have to assume they're thinking about guns, not bricks or carbon monoxide or rattlesnakes, and probably not arrows either. And it's doubtful how aware they are of the many plants (and animals) that are poisonous.

Rather than listing all the things that are acceptable, let's hope they define their confusingly broad terms.

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2018 4:48:11 AM
Colorwash wrote:
Rather than listing all the things that are acceptable, let's hope they define their confusingly broad terms.



I would like to hope so but if they could / wanted to do that they would in their first announcement so I would rather get specific answers to specific questions than a clarification that is likely to be as clear as the first statement.

Hello Z! My response to CW is not a question, but I wrote it just in case someone thinks that to get from the U. S. Post Office a "clarification" of terms would be enough; no, it wouldn't (unless it is super clear of course). But a clarification WITH answers to our specific questions asked here would be great! That's why we ask (I suppose). So Z, please consider this little discussion, too Smile
Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2018 9:23:52 AM
I'd like to know what qualifies as legitimate use of a U.S. flag graphic on a stamp, whether a photo of an actual flag or a graphic design of a flag... and can we superimpose pictures or words... or change the colors?

Found this Federal Register page announcing the changes, though there's not much clarification there, either: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/19/2017-27241/revisions-to-the-requirements-for-authority-to-manufacture-and-distribute-postage-evidencing-systems
Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2018 10:38:58 AM
I have some stamps which have red & green patterns like this one:
https://www.zazzle.com/z/omhts?rf=238565580390908270

It does not depict anything religious but I have used "Christmas" in the title thinking it would be appropriate for Christmas holiday cards.

Would it still be acceptable if I strip all mention of Christmas or holidays from the title/description/tags?

The social/commercial qualification is completely confusing.

Please clarify how "all product metadata (e.g. titles, tags and descriptions) must be ‘commercial’ or ‘social’" when at least some of that text should describe the design.
Posted: Sunday, April 08, 2018 7:17:04 PM
Are stamps that go along with wedding invitations considered social enough? Would it be acceptable to add removable text to scenic images, like "Your Company Name Here" so that it would be commercial, but then order the stamps without that text on it?
Posted: Monday, April 09, 2018 5:43:20 PM
I know this has been asked, but we need an answer soon, are they including Christmas & Easter in the "religious" category. I can't believe they would have meant to include that. Will they allow a snowman but not Wise Men or Cross?
Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2018 4:57:29 PM
Do these new guidelines mean that we can not have photos of animals or wildlife? Can we have photos of wildlife that have no slogans? Can we have photos of wildlife with "Endangered species" labels ?

Also, I am puzzled about "religious"; so we can not say Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings or Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukah ? I am reading through the postings of other members and can see that many of us need clarifications.

Also, if we buy some of our own designs prior to May 15, will the USPS allow mail with these stamps allow them to be delivered?
Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2018 4:11:11 AM
Zazzle is in the same boat as we are in looking for answers. Given that the post office is a bureaucracy, the wait for answers could be a long one. :-)
Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2018 4:49:17 AM
I recently got a stamp with a custom name approved, I think it was reviewed under the new rules? If so, then monograms and custom names must be allowed. Still, of course, an exhaustive answer would be nice.
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