When it comes to brochures and other promotional documents, size really does matter. Along with the design and finish, the size and format of printed sales and marketing documents has an impact from a marketing perspective. A carefully selected size could make your printed marketing piece literally stand out, making it both different and memorable when you get it right. Once you’ve accomplished that, half the marketing battle is already won.
Marketers have only one chance to make a good first impression
For these reasons, many brochure and marketing literature designers will often consider sizes outside of the bog-standard A4 that we see so often. This consideration will almost be part of the design process itself, in fact. After all, marketers and designers have only one chance to make a good first impression.
It’s a very tricky balance, however. While format, looks and size play an important part in the overall impact of a printed brochure or marketing piece, it’s all too easy to stray into unnecessary extra expense if it’s not fully thought through.
A balance between design, impact, cost & ultimately R.O.I.
The approximate size for your brochure or marketing piece may simply be steered by the volume of content it needs to contain. If that’s substantial, then clearly you may have to choose one of the larger document sizes, or at the very least go with a smaller size with a greater number of pages if you don’t mind the document or brochure being fairly thick — but, as we’ll see below, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Conversely, if your brochure or sales piece doesn’t include an enormous volume of content, then right away you have a wider choice of sizes and formats available to you. So — a good starting point when considering sizes.
Why not A4 portrait?
Hmmm … well, that’s probably the most cost-effective size/format for large-ish brochures because paper sizes in the UK are generally optimised for that size (or derivations of it like A5 etc.). With ‘A’ sizes generally, there is usually minimal paper wastage from off-cuts, because the base paper sizes that printers use are set up so well for it (SRA3, SRA2 etc.). However, as such, A4 is very “standard” and therefore rather predictable. And predictable does not make your service or product stand out from the crowd!
So what can you do to create more impact, only using size/format?
There are a few obvious alternatives to the bog-standard A4 portrait when it comes to brochures and marketing literature …
We offer an incredibly wide range of printing-related services and processes at Southside Print, so thought we’d publish a guide. It’s not an exhaustive list of everything we do, however it represents a good overview of the core print, design, binding, print finishing and direct mail services that are on offer from our London Bridge/Borough base. Take a look below.
As you can see, we can print and produce just about anything. There are many processes, finishes and embellishments to choose from, so your finished sales or marketing piece can be both fully functional and look as good as it possibly can. Whether you need
When it comes to design, the choice of colour is incredibly important. Put simply, a colour palette alone can make the difference between a design being attractive — or totally repellent. Even if the underlying styling and layout of any design is superb, its ultimate success can live or die on the colours used. That’s the same whether you’re talking about graphic design for sales and marketing literature, interior design, product design, or any other kind of design. However, the impact of colour goes way deeper than aesthetics, as we’ll see.
Selecting the best colour palette for your graphics
As with design itself, colour is a very subjective thing, so it’s always going to be impossible to please everyone. It’s important to try, though, because the colour palette you use in your design will have a striking affect on how well your sales or marketing piece is received by your target audience. For this reason, it’s well worth spending extra time on carefully considering your colour palette, well before your piece is published or printed. Some market research is also well worth doing, whether that’s full market research with the public or obtaining a rough gauge from others in your office and/or family. Editor’s note: as a qualified designer myself, my choice regarding some colours for printed graphics is still swayed by such feedback, even decades after it was first given.
Colour can literally change the viewer’s mood.
Feel & mood
Feel and mood are, by far, the most overriding sensations instilled in the viewer through the use of colour. Colour deeply affects the whole perception of your printed piece — it can lift the spirit, or repel it. It can catch the eye in a good way when you get it right, or a bad way when you don’t. Colours can excite the onlooker, or relax them. Colour can often literally change the viewer’s mood. When it comes to colour as a communication tool, it can shout your marketing messages or whisper them subconsciously. Colour can associate your product or service with quality if you want it to. It can help to incite a feeling of urgency, or get the audience to experience any number of other feelings. When you think about it, that’s an incredibly powerful tool for designers and marketers.
Colour is an incredibly powerful tool for designers and marketers.
Choosing your colour palette
A single design and layout can be used in different ways, with different effects, depending on which set of colour combinations are used in the overall colour palette. Graphic designers call those colour palettes ‘colourways’ and there are a few different ways that they can be chosen. As a designer myself, my favourite tips for choosing colourways are:
We recently printed new appointment cards for one of our long-standing clients, Arena Hair. These were produced using 100% recycled card. The salon uses natural products, so having eco-friendly appointment cards was a natural choice, if you’ll excuse the pun! 300gsm ‘Revive Recycled Offset’ was selected for the card base. This is a bright, uncoated card material that gives the final printing a slightly lower contrast and a contemporary, fresh and natural feel. In fact, somehow it actually feels ‘green’ and eco-friendly.
The appointment cards have space to write the time and date of the appointment and to note who the stylist will be. They also double as business cards and mini price lists as well as showing salon opening times. As such, they’re hugely useful, multi-purpose giveaways, being inexpensive to print with a great ROI for the salon. With their smart good looks, they also reflect the coolness and identify of the salon itself. Although Southside Print has its own in-house designers, in this instance the design and artwork was supplied for the client via Starling Design who are designers based nearby in Borough, SE1.
Green printers in London SE1
Southside Print produces more and more ‘green’ printing as the month go by. We care enormously about the environment, so we love it when clients ask for eco-friendly printing options. Indeed, we’re finding that this is happening regularly nowadays. We’ve written about our ‘green’ printing credentials and that we aim to be a truly ‘green’ printer several times, so it’s good to follow up with some real examples of sustainable printing from time to time. We’ll publish more of these as time goes by.
So what are our green credentials? Well, without going over old ground too much (follow the bold links for much more detail), we offer a huge range of eco-friendly paper, card and board for our clients to use in their sales and marketing pieces. From sustainably-sourced pulp to 100% recycled materials — and everything in between — there’s an enormous variety of eco-friendly papers available. What’s more, they look every bit as good as their non-green counterparts these days. We even have papers and cards that are made of 100% cotton — an eco-friendly resource that gives outstanding results as well as circumventing the need to include wood pulp in the mix at all. Of course, we recycle our production off-cuts all the time, use very energy-efficient printing machinery and even host our website on ‘green’ servers. We almost forgot to mention our ‘green couriers’ — these are a phenomenal delivery team who can drop finished printing to our London clients without generating a gram of extra carbon dioxide. Learn much more about our green printing services here.
Arena Hair, Waterloo, SE1
Going back to our featured client, Arena Hair is located at Lower Marsh, Waterloo (London SE1). The salon is
Southside Print are pleased to announce ‘SafeLam’, our new, antimicrobial lamination for printed products. It’s just like standard lamination, except it kills bacteria and viruses on contact. This is obviously very timely and will be a massive boon to those who need printed sales, marketing or informational literature while coronavirus is still at large.
“SafeLam makes sharing printed documents safer”
Southside Print is committed to keeping staff and customers as safe as possible during these unprecedented times. As part of the fight against COVID-19, we have been working hard to find ways to make printed products as safe as possible in view of the pandemic. SafeLam’s antimicrobial coating does exactly that, killing 99% of bacteria and viruses that come into contact with it. It means printed products laminated with SafeLam proactively kill the coronavirus — and that’s a game-changer!
- The antimicrobial laminate is available in a matt or gloss finish.
- It eliminates 99% of harmful microorganisms that come into contact with it.
- It has the same, high quality finish as standard lamination.
- Just like ordinary lamination, SafeLam looks great and protects documents from wear and tear as well as from moisture ingress.
- No matter how many hands touch the surface, SafeLam’s surface retains its antimicrobial properties.
- It’s independently tested and approved to ISO 22196, an international benchmark that recognises SafeLam’s antimicrobial properties (more about that below).
SafeLam makes printed documents safer
SafeLam is an ideal finish for printed documents, particularly those used in schools, hospitals, healthcare organisations, restaurants, bars & workplaces. For example, it makes …
Printed Safety Graphics for Social Distancing etc.
Does your business or organisation require social distancing signage and anti-virus safety graphics? If so, we can help! We produce a wide variety of COVID-related safety graphics that we can supply to you, so that you can keep your workplace and public areas safe. These include:
- Social distancing wall posters.
- Safety posters outlining best practices for hygiene and social distancing.
- Circular floor vinyls including self-adhesive direction arrows and notices to help maintain 2m separation between visitors. Various sizes are available including 300mm, 400mm, 500mm and 600mm diameter options. Available in packs of 1, 5 or 10.
- Rectangular floor vinyl graphics including ‘Please Wait Here’ floor strips and other similar messages. These are available in a variety of sizes including 500mm x 100mm, 750mm x 150mm, 1000mm x 200mm, 1250mm x 300mm and 1500mm x 300mm. Available in packs of 1, 5 or 10.
- Pop-up banners for social distancing or to signpost one way pedestrian routes. These are 850mm x 2150mm (N.B. ask for artwork specifications as there is an additional section that rolls into the cartridge). The graphics are printed onto 400gsm anti-curl, anti-scuff, anti-glare material. A carry bag is included with each roller banner. Robust and compact when dismantled.
- Vertical banners to signpost sanitising stations, places to queue and similar.
It’s quite a wide range and all of these are available in a variety of colours (not all shown below). Take a look:
Using ‘variable data printing’ is a way of personalising sales and marketing literature to individual recipients. It’s a great marketing tool too. People are far more likely to notice a mailed flyer, for example, if it addresses them by name, right there in the colour printing, as part of the actual design. You may have received brochures personalised to you, perhaps. They may have mentioned your name here and there throughout, in colour. That is a sure-fire way for a sales or marketing piece to get noticed and taken more seriously. Receiving such tailored communications suggests an existing knowledge of the customer, as an individual. It also comes over as being highly professional and a bit more ‘grown up’ than the usual anonymous approach. It also lends the printed piece an element of gravitas, subconsciously saying ‘this is an important message to you‘.
Personalising the text of a brochure or mailshot to include the recipient’s name is an obvious example of variable data resulting in personalised printing. As well as a name, though, the person’s location could also be included for that extra personal touch. Or there could be mention of a previous purchase, a brand usually ordered, or anything else that’s relevant. This is all possible so long as it’s included within the database being supplied to your commercial printer. All of this extra personalisation can demonstrate a real knowledge of the customer within the sales piece, potentially becoming integral to the sales proposition as part of a strategic, well thought-out approach.
Variable Data printing doesn’t need to end with text though. It can also merge images, diagrams or illustrations into the printed piece. For example, a particular image can be printed in a printed document meant for one recipient, while a different image can be printed for someone else. For example, a mailer used to sell health supplements might include a featured image of something the customer has ordered before, now on special offer perhaps. If they’ve ordered before and are reminded of what they purchased, that’s certain to really catch their eye and generate additional repeat sales from the recipient. That’s just one example of how variable data printing can be used to personalise sales and marketing literature.
How Variable Data printing is achieved
This kind of document personalisation is all made possible using
To confirm, we are ‘open for business here’ at Southside Print in London SE1, despite Coronavirus and COVID-19. We are fully operative for all services including graphic design, printing and production. Just let us know if you need any print and design produced and we’ll be very happy to help.
“We are operating an uninterrupted service”
So, the message is that we are operating an uninterrupted service. Rest assured that quality and service levels remain excellent, as always.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) posters available to buy online
In an effort to play our part in the fight against Coronavirus and COVID-19, we’ve originated some posters that individuals, companies and organisations can buy online. Outlining useful advice and best practice, they’re perfect for displaying on office walls, in receptions, in windows, on notice boards, in entrances to buildings and so on. That’s a great way to help keep staff, customers and visitors safe and should be a real help as part of Health & Safety (HS) in the workplace.
The posters include very important information and guidelines including:
- Likely symptoms of Coronavirus/COVID-19;
- Countries at high risk (particularly useful for regular or recent travellers);
- Advice for those who have symptoms or those who have recently travelled from ‘at risk’ countries;
- Guidelines outlining how to limit the spread of the virus;
- Illustrated instructions demonstrating best practice for both hand washing and hand sanitising.
The posters are available to buy online. They are A3 in size and are gloss laminated, allowing the surface to be wiped clean. They cost £15 excluding VAT and postage. Most credit and debit cards are accepted, as well as PayPal.
We’re sometimes asked if we design and print packaging. The simple answer is ‘yes’ because, to us, it’s just another natural use of our in-house design and printing capabilities. Southside Print can handle pretty much any type of printing imaginable and packaging is no exception. So, you are not limited to just the standard kind of thing, like brochures, stationery and flyers. We regularly produce high quality printing for packaging items too. These include anything from cartons and swing tickets to wrapping paper and bags. The list of possibilities is almost endless, a few examples being:
- Printed labels and stickers including wine labels, special offer stickers, pricing labels etc.;
- Cartons for products;
- Boxes of various kinds;
- Printed bags;
- Wrapping paper;
- Printed tissue paper;
- Printed cardboard sleeves, e.g. to wrap around boxed products;
- Header cards for retail products including ‘Euro’ slots if required;
- Swing tickets;
- ‘Pillow’ packs;
- Packaging ‘inners’ and backing cards e.g. for products in clam packs, blister packs and cello packs;
- Point of sale (‘POS’) or Point of Purchase (‘POP’) card dispensers;
Printed literature for packaged products
We also routinely produce the kind of printed literature that you find inside product packaging. This includes instruction manuals, assembly instruction sheets, information pamphlets, warranty documents, guarantee registration cards, vouchers for cross-selling, catalogues, price lists, order forms and so on. If it involves printing on paper, card or board, we can print it!
Advanced print finishing techniques to make your packaging stand out
As well as our digital printing facilities, we also have a whole range of in-house ‘print finishing’ options to make your printed packaging really stand out. Options include lamination (matt, gloss etc.), encapsulation, gloss U.V. varnish including spot varnishing, die-cutting to give your packaging non-standard shapes, traditional hot foil stamping and digital foiling. We can also perforate, score, crease, fold, collate, drill holes, add eyelets, ribbons, add and affix glue tabs, and so on. So, please remember that we’re a print finisher as well as being a printer.
Paper sizes are something even seasoned print veterans find themselves looking up occasionally. While some paper sizes are used on a daily basis at printers and design studios, there are others that are only used a handful of times a year. Those tend to be the sizes most easily forgotten, so we’ve come up with this handy reference guide that can be referred to any time, 365 days of the year. Don’t forget to bookmark it!
The following is not an exhaustive list of paper sizes, but it should cover the most commonly used sizes used by designers and printers around the UK. For the sake of brevity, we’ll leave out the more rarefied ‘legacy’ sizes that we simply tend not to encounter any more.
ISO Paper Sizes
You may not have heard of ‘ISO’ paper sizes, but you will have used sizes like A4 and A3 perhaps on a weekly basis. A4, A3, A5, A2, B4 and B5 are probably the most easily recognisable examples of ISO ‘A’ and ISO ‘B’ paper sizes.
- The ratio of their sides is always 1 to 1.414 (the square root of 2, by the way).
- To mentally compute the dimensions from one ISO paper size to the next, you simply keep the longest side and double the shortest. So A4 (210mm x 297mm) becomes A3 (297mm x 420mm). We simply doubled the shortest side (210mm) to get that new 420mm dimension, but kept the existing 267mm dimension — easy!
- Note that the physical paper size at each step up is DOUBLE the paper area. So A4 is half the size of A3 (fold A3 in half and you end up with A4 again). A3 is in turn half the physical size of A2 and so on.
- You can alternatively enlarge to the next ISO size (e.g. from A4 to A3) by enlarging the original 1.414 times. So, on a photocopier, for example, you would set the magnification to 141.4%.
- Most ingeniously, the ISO ‘A’ sizes are designed to allow printers to easily compute the weight of a printed stack of papers simply by counting the sheets. It’s based on the fact that the size A0 is exactly 1 square metre in area. So, if you know you have paper that’s, say, 150gsm in weight (paper is specified in grams per square metre; gsm), you know that a stack of one hundred A0 sheets will be 100 x 150gsm, which is 15000grams (i.e. 1.5kg in weight). If your stack happened to be A1, then you simply need to divide that by two (because, as we learned above, the next A size down is half the size). For A2 you halve it again and so on.
ISO ‘A’ sizes:
The ISO ‘A’ series of paper sizes is most widely used for printing and design in the UK; most people will use A4 paper, for example, on a daily basis. As we mentioned above, each ‘step’ down from one A size to the next is exactly half the size, as you can see in the diagram above/right. Here are the main A sizes:
- A0 = 841mm x H1189mm
- A1 = 594mm x 841mm
- A2 = 420mm x 594mm
- A3 = 297mm x 420mm
- A4 = 210mm x 297mm
- A5 = 148mm x 210mm
- A6 = 105mm x 148mm
- A7 = 74mm x 105mm
- A8 = 52mm x 74mm
- A9 = 37mm x 52mm
If you want to go larger than A0, the next size up is called “2A0” (1189 x 1682mm). Use the maths trick above to go up from there to 3A0, 4A0 and beyond.
ISO ‘B’ paper sizes:
Exactly as with the ‘A’ sizes, each ‘B’ paper size can be