Customer Support Ruling
14 Point Type
UPDATED October 1996
This CSR discusses the minimum type size for material mailable as Free Matter for the Blind and Other Physically Handicapped Persons.
Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 703.5.3, provides that unsealed letters sent by a blind person or a person having a physical impairment, as described in DMM 703.5.1.3, in raised characters (braille) or in 14 point or larger sight saving type or in the form of sound recordings may be mailed as Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped.
The minimum size requirement of 14 point type was established administratively as a guide to mailers since the law itself simply stipulated "Sightsaving Type" as the requirement. In August 1970, when the 14 point type was adopted by the Postal Service as the minimum size for sightsaving type, 18 point type was actually the most widely used for reading matter printed for the use of blind and other handicapped persons, and distributed by various service organizations including the Library of Congress. The 14 point minimum was adopted as an acceptable compromise. The Postal Service is without authority to unilaterally waive the provisions of the law which calls for "Sightsaving Type". A waiver of the 14 point minimum guideline would, likewise, not be feasible.
As information, type for printing or typewriting is measured by its height, in points, 72 points to the inch. Accordingly, 14 point type is just over 3/16 of an inch, but under 13/64 of an inch - to be exact, it measures 25/128 of an inch.
Anita J. Bizzotto
Headquarters, US Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436