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Mr. ZIP on a 1963 U.S. Post Office sign.

Mr. ZIP, informally "Zippy", is a cartoon character used in the 1960s by the United States Post Office Department, and later by its successor, the United States Postal Service, to encourage the general public to include the ZIP code in all mailings.


The USPS has described the origin of Mr. ZIP as follows:[1]

Mr. ZIP was based on an original design by Howard Wilcox, son of a letter carrier and a member of the Cunningham and Walsh advertising agency, for use by a New York bank in a bank-by-mail campaign. Wilcox's design was a child-like sketch of a postman delivering a letter. The figure was used only a few times, then filed away. Later, AT&T acquired the design and made it available to the Post Office Department at no cost. ... Miami-based Post Office Department artist Joe Lawrence retained the face but sharpened the limbs and torso and added a mail bag. The new figure, who Lawrence had dubbed Mr. ZIP, was unveiled at a convention of postmasters in October 1962.

Post Office use[edit]

Zippy attached to a 1966 Mary Cassatt stamp.

The Post Office had little difficulty in getting mass mailers to use the ZIP Code as it could make its inclusion a condition for receiving preferential mailing rates and soon did. However, there was some resistance by the general public, members of whom would mail items without ZIP Code, almost invariably at the full rate for First Class Mail, which by regulation had to be delivered if at all possible and feasible. This was particularly true of older mailers. Mr. ZIP was the Post Office's answer to this, apparently intended to teach small children to always use the ZIP Code as they got older and also to encourage their parents and grandparents to do so.

Mr. ZIP is a caricature of a mail carrier, wide-eyed and drawn with his letter bag trailing him in such a way as to imply his travelling at extreme speed, and sometimes holding on to his hat with his free hand. His hair was straight, but his skin was somewhat orange, making him non racially-identifiable. His limbs were very thin, almost like those of a stick figure. He was particularly used on posters promoting ZIP Code use. The character was largely phased out by the late 1970s, but the Post Office retained rights to the copyrighted figure.

Mr. ZIP appeared on the selvage (non-postally valid areas) of stamp panes (more commonly called "sheets") for many stamp issues, beginning with the 5 cent Sam Houston stamp issued January 10, 1964, although the 5¢ Battle of the Wilderness stamp of May 5, 1964, is sometimes listed as the "first" because it appears earlier in most stamp catalogs due to its inclusion in a five-issue Civil War series. He also appeared on non-postally-valid labels inside, or on the cover of, stamp booklets. Stamp collectors sometimes collect the corner block of four stamps with the part of the selvage bearing Mr. ZIP; these are called "ZIP blocks". Mr. ZIP appeared in the blank selvage of United States stamps until January 1986.[1]

The Post Office re-introduced Mr. ZIP to stamps in 2013, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ZIP Code system.[2]


  1. ^ a b Mr. ZIP- The nation’s original ‘digital’ icon
  2. ^ 5 Digits, 50 Years: The Triumphant Return of Mr. ZIP

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._ZIP — Please support Wikipedia.
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2349 news items

Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network
Tue, 21 Jul 2015 10:48:45 -0700

Howard Wilcox, the son of a letter carrier, designed the original Mr. Zip, but Post Office Department artist Joe Lawrence refined the illustration before unveiling the character at a postmasters' convention. 2. Unique ZIP codes are reserved for ...


Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:03:17 -0700

It's hard to imagine now given its success, but when the ZIP code was first launched in July of 1963, it wasn't mandatory, and it wasn't immediately embraced. So a full-fledged marketing blitz was unleashed, complete with a mascot, Mr. ZIP. And – for ...

Blog Preston (blog)

Blog Preston (blog)
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:51:26 -0700

Mr Zip also gave an up tempo performance. Mark Whittle, BID Manager, speaks fondly of the attention the city is attracting, “The Twitter revolution has given rise to a fantastic promotional tool that, when used correctly, can really help get your name ...


Sat, 18 Jul 2015 03:46:35 -0700

... €101,010 (£70,110) goal, which is a very specific amount, and we can't help wondering what the extra tenner is for. Trakkies could become a reality if they hit their target in 33 days, and Mr Zip (remember him?) might have to rewrite this musical ...

Business Insider Australia

Business Insider Australia
Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:48:45 -0700

To encourage people to use Zip codes, the Postal Service used a cartoon figure 'Mr ZIP.' For example, in a 10014 ZIP code, the first “1” stands for Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania; the “00” stands for New York Sectional Center Facility and “14” for ...

Lancaster Today

Lancaster Today
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 02:56:15 -0700

There will also be performances from Britain's Got Talent stars Henry Gallagher, Gabz, Mr Zip, Matt Fitzgerald and Universal's new girl group, Tiger Heart and Hullabaloo band. A fireworks display will finish off the evening at 10.30pm. Tickets for the ...

The Visitor

The Visitor
Wed, 08 Jul 2015 02:56:15 -0700

The line-up included “Britain's Got Talent” winner Jai McDowall, Henry Gallagher, Amy-Jo Clough, Kitty Brucknell, Danny Dearden, Josh Taylor, Megan S, Disctracted, Ben Montague, Mr Zip, Ashleigh Wood, Stuart Michaels, Chris Atkinson and David and ...

The Visitor

The Visitor
Thu, 02 Jul 2015 04:26:15 -0700

The line up includes Britain's Got Talent winner Jai McDowall (above), Henry Gallagher, Amy-Jo Clough, Kitty Brucknell, Danny Dearden, Josh Taylor, Megan S, Disctracted, Ben Montague, Mr Zip, Ashleigh Wood, Stuart Michaels, Chris Atkinson and David ...

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