Do Windowed Envelopes Put Customer Privacy at Risk?


From Quadient:  Life gives you surprises sometimes. For example, I’m pretty sure you didn’t wake up today expecting to read about the U.S. Patent 701,839, but that is exactly what you may do for the next minute. It’s Chicago in 1902, and Americus F. Callahan is excited to receive U.S. patent number 701,839 for the “outlook envelope.” His invention went on to revolutionize business-to-consumer and business-to-business communication. He created an envelope design that showed the recipient’s name and address through a window and the sender’s address through a second window.

Americus’ windowed envelope caught on, becoming used for business correspondence for over 100 years. It’s easy to imagine trillions of windowed envelopes around the world delivering critical business-to-customer and business-to-business communications like bills, invoices, correspondence, legal documents, contracts, marketing materials, and other communications. They started traveling back to the sender, as they became inserted into envelopes with pre-addressed remittance slips to facilitate payments and used for at least 50 years for mortgage and auto-loan coupon books.

This was an amazing partnership until the last ten or so years. Windowed envelopes brought efficiency and cost savings to a high-volume process, which is an operational dream. But, privacy laws started to become commonplace. Postal rates constantly increased, putting pressure to reduce weight. This tightened designs, moving data to the top third of the page to best capture the recipient’s attention … (click to read more)