Top Tips for Printing on a Budget

Top Tips for Printing on a Budget

There are many ways to save money when buying print on a budget.Sometimes a printed sales or marketing job simply needs to be as economical as possible. The quality still needs to be high but, for whatever reason, the production budget is particularly tight this time. For example, maybe you’re a start-up with limited budget, or two years of the pandemic have knocked your business for six. Or, perhaps you’re exhibiting at a trade show, already spent most of your budget on the space and stand, and forgot to order printed marketing materials to hand out to prospects. Well, worry not — there are always ways to save money when buying print on a budget. Take a look …

Go Thinner

Have a think about the thickness of your paper or card. Does it really need to be that thick? Dropping from, say, 170gsm to 150gsm, 135gsm or even less will save you money and that saving could amount to a significant one, especially if you are producing a large print volume.

Posting Your Print?

If your printing is going to be posted, its thickness, size and weight are even doubly important. It would be tragic if your printed item was just a fraction over Royal Mail’s size and weight threshold, forcing you into the next price band. For example, if your printed piece is too large for standard First Class mail and sneaks into the ‘Large Letter’ band, sending just 500 out to prospects will cost you around £220 more in postage than it would otherwise have done. That’s not even allowing for additional costs like larger envelopes. So, some careful pre-planning of size, shape and paper weight can save significant money on postage when you get it right.

Ditch the Fancy Finishes

Eliminating luxuries like textured paper and lamination will save you money.Do you really need that lamination? Or the rounded corners? Or the integral pocket for inserts? Eliminating luxuries at a time of need will save you money, for sure. It’ll also speed up production and that might also be critical if this print job has been left to the last minute.

Paper Finishes

Textured paper will almost always be more expensive than untextured. So, if you’re on a budget, forget laid paper, watercolour paper textures, onion skin textured paper and the like — it’s likely to add a significant amount to production costs. So, keep it simple when budgets are slim.

Going a step further, there is even a huge variety of untextured papers. Trendy uncoated (or ‘offset’) papers look organic and fresh, but they’re likely to cost quite a bit more money than more standard coated papers, which are produced in higher volumes at paper mills. In other words, the more ‘run-of-the-mill’ papers will help to save you money.

Branded vs. Unbranded

Do you really need to use that paper brand? There really are some lovely branded papers and cards out there, but when budgets are tight, any good commercial printer will be able to steer you towards a non-branded stock that could be a fraction of the price, but look every bit as good as the big brands.

Size & Format Considerations

Sticking to 'A' paper sizes will usually mean paper use is most cost-efficient.Keep an eye on paper size/format to avoid paper wastage. What do we mean? Well, printing based on ‘A’ sizes (A4 and A5 etc.) will generally be cheaper to produce than bespoke sizes. That’s because there is less wasted paper/card produced when printers use the most commonly available paper sizes. So, perhaps that square brochure is not such a good idea if you are on a tight printing budget.

Brochure Binding

If your brochure or catalogue needs to be bound because it’s multi-page, consider the binding mechanism carefully. A folded brochure (e.g. 4 pager, multi-page ‘roll’ fold or even a ‘map’ fold) will generally be cheaper to produce than something that needs a separate binding stage. Even saddle-stitching (essentially stapling) will save money compared to wiro binding, velo binding, perfect binding and so on.

Ganging up

‘Ganging up’ several jobs is a great way to save money on print.‘Ganging up’ is a great way to save money on print. The term refers to printing several jobs at the same time, on the same sheet. In this way, less printing passes (and, in the old days, less printing plates) are required because jobs are printed simultaneously. Once the large, multi-job, sheet is printed, it can then be cut down into it’s separate elements. An example would be A4 four-page brochures being produced at the same time as, say, A4 and/or A5 leaflets, all printed simultaneously on an SRA2 or SRA1 sheet. Some simple mathematics will be required to work out how many copies are produced of each, but ganging up certainly saves money when the maths and volumes work out nicely.

Top tip: Ask us for advice!

Photography & Illustration

If your brochure, leaflet or mini-catalogue requires photography or illustrations, there are potential ways to save money there too. Decent photographers and illustrators are expensive, to be frank. However, there are many ‘royalty-free’ image libraries that can offer high quality stock photos and illustrations for just a few pounds each. Adobe Stock, for example. They have literally millions of photos and images to choose from and you can even pay-as-you-go rather than having to sign up for anything long term.

Perhaps you need bespoke product/pack shots, though? These days, with ‘photo light tent’ kits available for less than £100 online and handheld mobile phones offering ample sharpness and resolution, it’s possible to get professional-looking pack shots produced entirely on a D.I.Y. basis. All on a low budget.

Print Management

Professional print management should also save you money. If someone like Southside Print manages all your print, for the entire year, then savings can be made. That’s through a combination of things like ganging up, using print-on-demand so nothing goes to waste, and delivering several jobs at the same time to save on delivery costs. Going local also helps with delivery (if you’re in or near to the London SE1 area, our printing services are close by).

Multi-use & Reusable Print

Make your print multi-use. For example, perhaps you have a mini catalogue as well as a brochure. Well, combining the two into one printed document could save you money on production.

Similarly, making your printing reusable will also mean you don’t have to keep reprinting. For example, display graphics, laminated print collateral and banners can all be reused. Storing carefully will also extend their shelf lives.

Choose Your Printer Carefully

Even when we print on a budget, our printing quality is superb — and it's also fast.Choose your printer carefully. With Southside Print you will come to know that we are always competitively priced. What’s more, even when we print on a budget, our printing quality is superb and it’s also fast. Take a look at our 5 star Trust Pilot reviews and 5 star Google reviews and you’ll soon see this for yourself.

DIY Design & Artwork

If you know what you are doing, have a good eye for design and have the right (professional) software, you could consider producing your design and artwork entirely in-house. That’ll save you from spending out on professional design externally. However, it’s a tricky one because a poorly executed design can be a false economy. If the look, design and feel of your printed piece looks poorly executed, unattractive and confusing in terms of communicating your sales or marketing proposition, then it doesn’t matter how well it’s printed or how cheap it was to produce. Indeed, it could end up being a waste of time and money if the design and messaging is wrong. So, we suggest that the design of your printed piece is perhaps one area that you should not scrimp on even when budgets are tight. That’s unless, of course, you can ensure it’s going to look professional, clear in terms of message and technically correct using any in-house capabilities. If not, Southside Print offers a professional design and artwork service and we’re here if you need us.

It’s all a Balance

It’s all a balance, of course. You don’t want your sales and marketing collateral to do your product or service a disservice, so exactly where and how you save money needs careful consideration.

Competitively-Priced, High Quality Printers & Designers in London SE1

Southside Print can help with advice, of course, and our advice is totally free. We are a digital printer, large format printer and offer a complete range of print-related services near London Bridge. Print and design quotations are also free so, if you would like to request a free quote, have any questions or need advice, please get in contact and we’ll be happy to help:

ISO 14001 Environmental Accreditation

ISO 14001 Environmental Accreditation for Southside Print

Southside Print aims to be as ‘green’ a printer as possible.Southside Print is proud to announce that we have embarked on our journey to become an ISO 14001-accredited printer by spring 2022. ISO 14001 is an important environmental management certification to a high quality, internationally recognised, standard.  Gaining this independent accreditation will help us to further minimise our environmental impact and, in effect, that of customers using our printing services. That’s great news if you are operating as part of an ISO 14001-accredited business yourself, are a certified B Corporation (‘B Corp’) or want to ensure you are fully supporting your organisation’s CSR, sustainability and/or environmental policies.  By choosing a supplier with ISO 14001 accreditation, you can be sure you are dealing with an environmentally-conscious supplier that delivers only environmentally-friendly, sustainable solutions for your printing and design needs.

A ‘Green’ Printer

ISO 14001 accreditation is a continuation of our efforts to be as ‘green’ a printer as possible. It’ll also help our clients by providing them with ecologically sustainable choices like environmentally-friendly paper, card, printing and finishing options for all their print.

Recycled & FSC Approved Paper & Card

Virtually 88% of the paper and card material we use is 100% recycled and FSC approved.Southside Print is already ticking all the right boxes. At time of writing, virtually 88% of the paper and card material we use is 100% recycled and FSC approved. It also goes without saying that we recycle as much of our paper and card off-cuts as possible. This goes directly back into the production of more paper pulp so that more of the world’s trees are conserved.

Biodegradable Lamination

We even extend our efforts to lamination. When that is essential for customers’ printing, we only use bio-degradable laminate. However, that said, we discourage the use of any plastics whenever feasible.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

We have taken out our old gas supplies — no more fossil fuels for Southside Print.It doesn’t end with materials. There are many changes we have made to our working practices and the materials we use. For example, we are now fully electric, having taken out our old gas supplies. So, no more fossil fuels for Southside Print. We have also replaced all of our lighting bulbs with LED equivalents, so have vastly reduced our energy consumption for lighting. Even our website is hosted on ‘green’ servers.

Low & Zero Carbon Delivery Options

We even use ‘green’ couriers and delivery solutions. For example, we try to use only cycle couriers, electric bikes and electric vans vans for delivery wherever possible.

Eco-friendly Digital Printing

Even our lighting has been replaced with LED bulbs to reduce energy consumption.Printing production is also now fully digital. That means we use no nasty chemicals, nor do we produce any hazardous waste. With our green approach, environmental accreditation just around the corner and sustainability front and centre of everything we do, we are one of the UK’s most environmentally friendly printing companies.

ISO 14001 Environmental Accreditation:

  • Shows we mean business when it comes to offering the most eco-friendly printing solutions;
  • Helps facilitate the greenest printing and finishing options for clients, particularly those who wish to minimise their own carbon footprint and impact on the planet;
  • Ensures efficient use of resources and a reduction in waste and energy use;
  • Helps us to be ‘green to the core’ through a holistic approach to the environmental management of everything we do;
  • Fosters a culture of continual improvement in our environmental systems and approach;
  • We use cycle couriers, electric bikes and electric vans vans for delivery when possible.Proactively boosts environmental performance, for us and our clients;
  • Demonstrates our compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements, both now and in the future;
  • Even encourages our suppliers to meet a certain level of environmental performance.

We hope to be fully accredited by the Spring of 2022. We will keep you updated, so please visit this blog area for more information in the first quarter of 2022.

Green Printers in South London

Are you looking for high quality, eco-friendly, green printers in South London or London Bridge? Our print shop is located nearby in Borough, just a few minutes from London Bridge station and Borough tube. We offer digital printing, large format printing , graphic design and a great print management service. Get in touch for more information or a free quotation — we’re here to help:

Using Print to Support E-Commerce

Using Print to Support E-Commerce

Does your company or organisation have an online shop? If so, are you making the most of it from a marketing perspective? Does the online shop feature cross-sells, up-sells, recently viewed products, wish lists, live chat and a simple e-news sign-up to build a re-marketing list? Does it have voucher code functionality, a customer review facility, a decent user experience and an easy-to-accomplish check-out and payment facility? These are all the kind of things any decent e-commerce store should have if you are to get the most from your online shop.

How About Offline?

If you’re not using printing to support your e-commerce store, you are missing a trick. Printing, combined with your e-commerce operation, can make a huge difference to your success. We’ll explain how and why …

Don't miss marketing opportunities when dispatching orders.Example:

You receive an online order for a product. You dispatch it the same day with a packing slip and an automatically-generated email confirmation. It arrives the next day.

Perfect surely?

Well, not really. The speed and efficiency of your fulfilment offering is impressive, for sure. However, you have missed many golden opportunities if that’s all you do when dispatching online orders to customers. Take a look …

How to Make the Most out of Online Orders Using Print

1. Printed Branding

A good, well-recognised brand is worth its weight in gold if you get it right.Firstly, think about brand recognition. A good, well-recognised brand is worth its weight in gold if you get it right. Thinks of Virgin, Ted Baker, Apple and even an organisation like The National Trust. Each has a brand that’s instantly recognisable. You could put their logo on almost anything and it would instantly make that product more desirable. So, the lesson here is to ensure that your brand looks great in the first place (our talented graphic designers can help with that), but also that it’s presented to best effect on everything the customer sees when they receive their order. The packaging should be well-designed and showcase your brand. So should the packing slip; labels too. That’ll all help with brand recognition. Keep doing that and your brand should become more and more popular and valuable over time.

2. Cross-Selling, Up-Selling & Repeat-Selling Through Print

As well as the nifty packaging and attractive paperwork, ensure you give your customer every opportunity to remember your e-commerce shop and brand. You can do this through the inclusion of a variety of printed materials:

  • Include 2 or 3 attractive business cards or postcards for your customer to keep for future use. These are something that’s easy and compact for them to keep, ready to remind them to visit your store again in the future. Including more than one also gives them the opportunity to pass one on to a friend or relative (that’s free marketing for you).
  • Take this a step further by including a compact but beautifully designed brochure about your brand or product(s). What’s the history? Is there a U.S.P. — something unique about your product or brand that sets it apart? What is the mission or ethos of the company? If it’s green make sure you tell your audience in the copy. Make your brand relevant, and the message and presentation engaging, and your customers will buy into it.
  • Include a mini-catalogue with every order.Top Tip: One immensely worthwhile item to include with orders is a catalogue or mini catalogue. These are a great way to showcase additional products that the customer might have overlooked online. Such marketing pieces can include nicely shot product photos and descriptions along with quick/short links for online purchase — or order forms for offline ordering. As well as encouraging sales, printed mini-catalogues are also a great way to sell off discontinued products that are still in stock, or sale items that you’re keen to clear.
  • Include a discount voucher or code, to encourage them to make another purchase. Even better, make it time-sensitive, so they’re spurred on to act (i.e. buy again) without delay.
  • Include a printed ‘refer a friend’ offer of some kind. This could be printed on any of the above but might be easier to notice if it’s a on separate card, simple leaflet or coupon. It’ll stand more chance of success if there’s some sort of incentive for both the customer and the friend they are referring, so have a think about what you could offer each.
  • Printed loyalty cards are also a good thing to send with orders, especially if you also offer a service. They are yet another way to keep customers coming back again and again to buy more!

Printed branding will help to foster brand recognition and value in your brand.Including printed items like these, with every online order, is a great way to remind your customers about your brand and products. It’s also a way to help customers ‘buy into’ the brand, feel part of it, and for the business to become much more tangible and real. After all, there is a real bricks and mortar business, with real people, behind most online shops. Printed collateral like this will help your offering stand out from the crowd and become memorable. At the end of the day, that means repeat business, more profit, and a likely increase to your business’s value as it grows. What’s more, before you know it, you’ll have both an online store and be supporting it with a parallel mail-order business. One shop suddenly became two in effect, with only modest extra cost and effort. Don’t forget to take that a step further, too, by bringing in all the relevant social media channels. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, for example, are brilliant for lifestyle type product marketing, without it looking too ‘salesy’.

Printers in London Bridge, SE1

If you are looking for high quality, reliable printers in London Bridge, please do get in touch. Our print shop is located in Tabard Street, close to Borough High Street, just a short distance from London Bridge station. We supply digital printing, large format printing and we’re also a very green printer. Quotes are free, so please do get in touch for more information:

It’s Time to Print Your Corporate Calendars

It's Time to Print Your Corporate Calendars

A photographer's promotional wall calendarAs we head into autumn, it’s time to consider printing of your corporate calendars for 2022. These are great give-aways and will remind your customers and prospects of your brand and contact details every day of the year. People are more likely to use them if they are received in good time, certainly no later than January 1st, so our advice is to start planning their design and production now.

Calendars are great give-aways and will remind your customers and prospects of your brand – and contact details – every day of the year.

Calendar design

Calendars should look interesting and attractive, so need to feature graphics or images that will be engaging for recipients; after all, each image will be visible for a whole month. If too corporate or ‘salesy’, people may well just bin them, so design and content needs careful consideration.

Calendar design & artwork service

We also offer a design/artwork service. So, if you’re unsure about design and print-ready artwork files, you can leave that to us. Calendars should be well-designed & attractive if you want people to use them & keep them up all year.We can supply free quotations for design and artwork as well as for printing, so you will know exactly what to expect well before production begins.

The calendar year

Standard calendars start from January and run to the end of December. However, perhaps there’s a good reason why you require some other date range. For example, if you’re marketing to accountants or the financial sector, consider producing a calendar for the financial year, starting in April. Or, if you’re giving calendars to educational staff, another example is academic calendars. These usually run from September when the first term of the academic year begins. At Southside Print, anything is possible!

Calendars are great for fundraising too! Charities and fundraising personnel could even consider pre-selling them so they know how many to order.

Calendar Specification

Our standard calendars are wall calendars, but we can also produce other types like desktop calendars.Our standard calendars are wall calendars. These are available in A4 and A3 sizes (portrait format). However, we can also produce bespoke sizes as well as desktop calendars on request. Simply ask for more information or, if you have a design in mind, talk to us to see what’s possible. Like quotations, advice is free at Southside Print.

Standard wall calendars contain 13 pages (one for the cover and 12 for the months of the year), usually printed on beautiful silk photo paper. They have a hanging loop at the top and a protective ‘frost’ covering. Standard ones are hung from the short edge (portrait format), but if you require a landscape format calendar or a different type of paper, again that’s no problem and we can print something completely bespoke for you.

Please note that the wire at the top is usually silver in colour, but other colours are available on request. Please allow 10mm in your design, if supplying it, for the wiring area at the top.

We’re a Printer in London Bridge/Borough, South East London

We are a printer based in London Bridge/Borough in South East South London. Our core print-related services are digital printing, large format printing, graphic design, print management, a direct mail service and online printing. Please get in contact if you’d like to discuss a print or design project and we’ll be happy to help …

5 Star Reviews for Southside Print

5 Star Reviews for Southside Print, London Bridge, SE1

At Southside Print we have virtually a full suite of 5 Star reviews on Google for our printing and design services. A staggering 19 out of the 21 Google reviews that Southside Print has received are 5 star reviews. That’s the highest possible star rating for over 90% of all customer reviews — and we’ll be forever grateful to customers who went out of their way to leave such glowing reviews for us. Thank you to each and every one of them.

The highest possible rating in over 90% of customer reviews

Here’s what just some of our past customers have said on Google:

Thank you again to all of the above and the many others who left such positive feedback on Google for Southside Print.

Existing Customer? Please Write a Review

Southside Print SE1 would love your feedback. If you are an existing or previous customer of Southside Print and were happy with our service, please consider posting a review to our Google profile. Here’s how:

  1. Log into your Google account
  2. Go to https://g.page/r/Cctja4YTEM9bEAg/review
  3. Submit your review

Thank you.

We’re Printers in Borough/London Bridge, London SE1

Southside Print are printers in London Bridge, Borough and SE1 in South London, producing outstanding digital printing, large format printing, graphic design and artwork and online printing.

Pop-up Displays

Pop-up Displays

Curved pop-up display systems look incredibly impressive. They are a great way to showcase your brand and to get your sales or marketing message across, all in an instant. Despite their large size and powerful impact, they are surprisingly inexpensive.

Our pop-up display systems include printing of the graphics plus a counter that doubles as transportable storagePop-up display systems really are a perfect solution whether you need large display graphics at an exhibition, trade show, industry expo or for ad hoc appearances in places like shopping malls and business receptions.

A Huge Display Area for Your Graphics

Southside Print’s pop-up display systems are beautiful. They offer a huge expanse for your graphics on a curved display wall that stands unaided over several metres. They have attractive curved ends too, with continuous, edge-to-edge graphics for your marketing proposition. It’s a vast area to display your logo, strap-line, key marketing messages and any photos or graphics. With size options ranging from 3m x 2m right up to an incredible 3m x 5m, you really do have enormous scope to get your message across with maximum visual impact.

The printing of the display graphics is included in the price.

Our pop-up displays are quick and easy to assemble without the need for toolsFast to Assemble

The printed graphics are included along with everything you need for your display, all packed and ready to use inside the transportation case. When it’s needed, the entire display, including the counter (see section below), curved ‘wall’ and framework that holds it together all assemble in just a few minutes. So, in next to no time at all, your attractive and impressive display is ready to do its work. No special tools are required.

A Convenient Transportation & Storage Case is Included

Likewise, when your event is over, the entire thing packs down, just as easily, into the compact storage case. Despite packing a large punch in terms of size and marketing impact, pop-up display systems are extremely easy to store and to transport. The case has wheels integrated into its design and will easily fit inside a car. The robust case represents a perfect way to store and protect your large-scale graphics until the next time they’re needed.

The Display Counter is Also Included

At no extra cost, the storage case also doubles as an attractive display counter for use at your event. It can sit in front of, or alongside, your main display and perhaps form a focal point or place to talk with your prospects. A separate wrap-around graphic attaches seamlessly to the counter, giving you another display area to showcase your brand and key marketing messages. It also has beautifully curved sides to match the main display. The counter also features a robust, horizontal table top where you can perhaps stack brochures or other printed marketing materials for your prospects to take home.

Showcase Your Brand or Message in the Best Possible Light

Lights are included in our standard pop-up display pricing or are available separately, along with many other accessories, on request. Simply ask us about the various options and we’ll be happy to help.

Artwork Templates Available

Useful artwork templates are available online in both InDesign and Acrobat PDF formats. They’re available for all 4 pop-up display options:

  • H3m x W2m pop-up display with storage case/counter;
  • H3m x W3m pop-up display with storage case/counter;
  • H3m x W4m pop-up display with storage case/counter;
  • H3m x W5m pop-up display with storage case/counter.

So, if you’re supplying your own design and artwork, we even make that easier for you. On the other hand, if you need help with design and artwork we offer that as a service too; just contact us and one of our professional graphic designers can sort out a beautiful design for you.

Our Pop-up Displays are Surprisingly Inexpensive

You may be surprised to learn how little our pop-up banners cost. Despite their high quality, large size and huge impact, they start from just a few hundred pounds, so offer maximum bang for your buck. Our pricing includes printing of the graphics, the curved display unit, the counter that doubles as a storage/transport case and, at time of writing, free delivery in the UK. We’ll shortly be adding them to our new online print shop, so you can simply choose the most appropriate size for your event, download an artwork template and pay online — simple! Once you have supplied artwork, turnaround is surprisingly fast. We’ll update this post with a link to the product once the new online print shop is live. In the mean time, contact us for free printing quotes, queries, help with digital printing, graphic design/artwork, or anything else. Southside Print is a printer London Bridge and Borough, in London SE1.

Images are for illustrative purposes only.

Common Artwork Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Common Artwork Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

At Southside Print we can either accept artwork files from customers, or produce artwork for them. Obviously, clients can save some money if they choose the former option and do their own design and artwork. However, if they’re not used to generating their own professional-grade artwork, common mistakes are easy to miss. These could lead to digital artwork files not working at all, unexpected printing results or, even worse, paid-for printing being totally unusable. For these reasons, we thought we’d highlight the most common artwork mistakes that we see, in the hope that they can be avoided by customers who supply their own artwork files to us.

1: Incorrect Colour Mode

Colour photos and graphics should be saved in CMYK mode not RGB.Most mobile phones and digital cameras save images in RGB mode. This mode is meant for screen viewing rather than commercial printing. If digital artwork is supplied with images in RGB mode, there’s a significant chance that they will not look as expected – potentially terrible – on the final printed results.

Solution: Before putting full colour images into artwork files, they should first be opened in an application like Photoshop and re-saved in CMYK mode. For the same reason, the final artwork file (usually saved as a print-ready PDF) should also be saved in CMYK mode when printing full colour images.

2: Inadequate Image Resolution

Have you ever looked at something printed, perhaps in a brochure, and spotted one or more images that look a bit fuzzy or, worse still, pixelated? Both are almost certain to be due to the images having inadequate resolution within the artwork files supplied. With resolution too low, images can appear ‘soft’ and lacking detail at best, or broken up into visible squares (the pixels) at worst.

Solution: Ensure that photographic images are at least 300 dots per inch (‘dpi’, also known as ‘pixels per inch’ or ‘ppi’) at the size they are going to be shown in the final printing. This can also be checked in professional image editing applications like Photoshop. It’s important to ensure that the final digital artwork file (again, usually provided as a print-ready PDF) is also saved with images set to 300dpi or, for particularly fine screen rulings, 350dpi minimum. If they’re well above that resolution, most applications can save the print-ready PDF in such a way that images with resolutions above, say, 450dpi are ‘downsampled’ to 300 or 350dpi. If downsampling is used, the Image Quality setting should be set to Maximum.

Related note: ‘Line artwork’ type images should either be saved as vectors (e.g. Illustrator ‘EPS’ format) or, if they’re ‘rasterised’ (pixel-based) images, save them at a minimum of 1200dpi to avoid jagged edges showing on areas like curves.

3: Using the Wrong Application for Professional Artwork

Applications like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and even Corel Draw are fine for office use and for outputting to standard desktop printers. However, they’re not really seen as professional applications for use within the commercial printing industry. Attempting to use them as such may well simply not work, give unprofessional, substandard results, cause glitches in the case of Corel Draw, or require your commercial printer to re-make your artwork again from scratch (at significant cost in all likelihood).

Solution: Don’t attempt to use desktop applications like Word and PowerPoint nor, in our view, Corel Draw for use with high-end commercial printing. Instead, you should be using a professionally-recognised design and artwork application like Adobe InDesign. It is the de-facto design, page make-up and artwork application used in the design and print industry, having pretty much replaced older applications like Quark Express and PageMaker. It is usually used in tandem with images and graphics brought in from Adobe Photoshop and/or Adobe Illustrator, which are also both the de-facto professional applications for each of their respective fields.

4: Missing Out Bleed

Add 3mm bleed to elements extending to the paper's edgeIf your design and artwork has colours or images going right to the edge of the printed item, you shouldn’t just stop your artwork there because guillotining of the final printing is not usually accurate to tenths of a millimetre. Therefore, you could end up with white edges showing rather than your background colour or image going right up to and off the edge of the cut sheet.

Solution: Remember to add an extra 3mm of ‘bleed’ (an area that prints further than the edge of the sheet) to all artwork elements that you want to print to the edge. That way, if guillotining is not quite accurate, your colour or image will still print to the edge because you built in a 3mm margin of possible error.

5: Sitting Artwork in the Middle of a Larger Sheet

When producing finished artwork for, say, a business card, it might be tempting to produce it in the middle of an A4 sheet, because that’s the size of paper you might usually deal with on your computer. However, saving smaller artworks on larger paper sizes within digital artwork can end up costing you money and causing problems at printing stage. That’s because it’s terribly difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of the surrounding margin. That’s important when we want to use several duplicates of the business card on the uncut printing sheets, so as to get economies of scale and reduce paper/card waste.

Solution: Within your design and artwork application, ensure that your document size is set to the correct, final size that you want your printed piece to be, and no larger (apart from the additional 3mm of bleed if needed — see above). Also discuss whether you need to add ‘trim marks’ with your commercial printer as that requirement can vary from printer to printer.

6: Supplying Readers’ Spreads instead of Printers’ Spreads

Let’s take the example of an 8-page brochure for illustrative purposes. In that example, although page 2 will be next to page 3 from a reader’s point of view on the final brochure, that’s not how they’re actually printed. If you supply your artwork with double-page spreads set up in that way, pages will end up on the wrong order in the final printing.

Solution: In the 8-page brochure example, you have two choices. The first is to supply individual pages rather than spreads and then allow your printer to do what’s called ‘imposing’ them into the correct multi-page spreads from which to print. That’s the safest option if you’re not a professional designer or ‘finished artist’. For professionals, though, you can supply properly imposed ‘printer’s spreads’, for example with the front cover on the right next to the back cover on the left, page 2 printed opposite page 7, page 3 alongside page 5 and so on. Either way, once printed, trimmed and folded, the pages will end up in the correct order, so long as the imposing is done thoughtfully.

7: Using the Space Bar for Tabulated or Indented Content

If you hit the space bar multiple times to try to align indented content or columns of text or numbers, you will almost certainly end up with columns that don’t quite line up vertically in a straight line. That’s because most commercially printed fonts don’t use a ‘fixed width’ measurement for every character. So, one line of 30 characters (including spaces) will almost certainly end up a different length to another line of 30 different characters. Hence, columns will look misaligned and unprofessional.

Solution: Professional designers use properly set-up tabs to align their tabulated content, not the space bar. This ensures that tabulated content and indents line up perfectly. And what’s more, it’s easier than you think once you’ve tried it a few times — and saves time.

8: Ad-hoc Text Styles

Changing font styles, colours, sizes and weights on an ad-hoc basis as you work through your text content is more likely to end up with styling errors and inconsistencies. This can make a printed piece look amateurish.

Solution: Use your professional design and artwork package’s character and paragraph style palettes properly, i.e. pre-set a range of styles that you are likely to use and then apply one style to each title, sub-title, paragraph etc. as you work through your document. It’ll save you time and mean that styling is totally consistent throughout your final printed piece. What’s more, if you decide one particular type of content needs to be altered throughout the entire document, all you need to do is to change that particular pre-set style once in the palette — and the whole document will update itself.

9: Using Clip-Art

Clip-art from desktop applications is all very well for internally-produced ‘office’ type documents that are to be printed on desk-top printers. However, they often lead to unexpected printing results on commercial printers. That’s because clip-art formats like Windows Meta Files are not designed for such commercial use; they often cause glitches in the printing or crashes in commercial printing PostScript software. In essence, clip-art is simply not fit for commercial printing purposes.

Solution: There are 3 possible solutions. Firstly, you could avoid clip-art unless it’s professionally produced specifically for high-end commercial PostScript printing and comes in a file format like .ai or .eps (and is in CMYK mode). Secondly, you could consider generating the designed graphic yourself using a professional programme like Adobe Illustrator. Then export it to your InDesign document layout as an EPS file. Lastly, you could try to ‘rasterise’ any suitable image (for example, by opening it, or a PDF of it, in Photoshop) so that it essentially ends up as the equivalent of a photo, i.e. made up of pixels instead of clip-art vectors. N.B. don’t forget to check it’s in CMYK mode and at least 300dpi if going for a rasterised (non-vector) route.

10: Not Proof-Reading Thoroughly

Once printed, it’s too late to correct any errors that were missed in your design and artwork. And you’ll still have to pay for the original printing and any reprint needed.

Solution:It goes almost without saying that you should check, double-check and triple-check every job before sending it to your commercial printer. Maybe even get another person to check again for you. Spell checking and proof-reading are all part of the checking process, as are technical checks to ensure that images are in the correct mode, that resolution is sufficient, bleed has been added where required, and so on. Another recommended way to catch any errors is to get your commercial printer to supply a printed proof, which you should also carefully scrutinise for errors and technical issues before sanctioning the full print run.

11: Not Embedding or Outlining Fonts

Forgetting to either embed or outline (vectorise) fonts within your final artwork file can lead to unexpected font substitutions that could wreck the look of your final printed piece.

Solution: Save a version of your InDesign artwork file first with it’s ‘live’ (editable) text. Then select all text with the pointer tool and convert it to vectors (using the Create Outlines command under the Type menu) and re-save it with a new name. The reason for keeping two versions is in case you subsequently spot an error and need to go back to the original file version to correct the document. You can’t do that with outlined fonts as they’ve become vectors (shapes) rather than live letters, even though they look identical. One final tip is to then use the Type > Find Font command to ensure that you haven’t missed any fonts and that there are no live ones left. Then, once all other checks have been made and there are no longer any live fonts in the document, save your print-ready PDF.

Another option is to embed all fonts rather than outlining them. However, outlining them in the way described above is more reliable, particularly as some font licences occasionally stop you from being able to embed them.

Let us Produce Your Design & Artwork

Southside Print, printers in London Bridge & Borough, SE1One sure-fire way to avoid all the potential problems above is to let us do your design and artwork for you. It’ll save you many hours of work, if not days, and will look totally professional. In tandem with digital printing, large format printing, and eco-friendly printing, it’s what we do professionally, after all. We have our own in-house designers and finished artists, who know graphic design and printing services backwards, so it’s really no trouble. We’re competitively priced and printing quotations are free. So, if you are looking for professional, high quality design, artwork or printing in London Bridge and Borough in South East London (SE1), please get in touch here , ask for a free printing or design quotation here, or call 020 7378 6754. We’ll be happy to help.

Producing Brochures? Size Really Matters!

Printing brochures? Size really matters!

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:

  • You could consider going landscape format instead or portrait. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that A4 landscape is not usually as economical as A4 portrait. Ask your local printer about it, though, as it depends upon several variables. Simply going landscape, though, is not particularly radical, so won’t change the impact of your marketing piece much, if at all.
  • You could consider going square, for example 210mm x 210mm. While also not likely to be as wastage-free as A4 portrait, it’s a little “different” and square brochures do have a certain style and sophistication about them. How much that potential wastage affects price is again something that’s governed by different variables. For example, if printing quantities are low, then any additional cost is likely to be fairly negligible. However, such wastage can make more of an impact on your pocket when printing volumes are particularly large. So, again, check with your printer at an early stage.
  • Going extra-large (e.g. A3 portrait) will create its own impact and make your sales or marketing piece literally stand out from the crowd. They’re big — and hard to miss! A3 mailers have been shown to have high response rates, in fact. In theory at least, this larger size should use more paper, so the actual printing cost would be more than the equivalent A4. However, that’s not always the case because it could use half the number of pages (because there’s twice as much room for the content) and therefore be accomplished using the same ‘base’ paper size and number of sheets as an A4 equivalent.
  • Alternatively, you could go with a small brochure but produced unusually well. For example, instead of an A4, saddle-stitched, portrait brochure, you could perhaps go with a DL (third A4) or A5 brochure that’s actually produced like a book. At Southside Print we can make perfect bound booklets (these are like a paperback book) or, even better, case-bound (hardback) books. At a smaller size, but with a lovely thickness and rigidity about them, they have an impact of their own and are ‘pocket-able’ unlike some of their larger counterparts. Add in some fancy printing techniques and you have yourself a real jewel of a marketing piece! All of this would mean that your brochure or sales piece is made to feel more precious and, as such, will be much more likely to be kept rather than discarded.
  • Unusual brochure sizes can be just as economical as standard sizes when thought is put into them.Unique brochure sizes can also have an impact and create an impression on your prospects. So, perhaps you could consider a bespoke size or an unusual fold that results in the same. Such a size will be unusual and thereby stand out from the crowd, which is usually a good thing, so long as the design is good, of course. TIP: One sneaky way of using a standard size/format (e.g. A4 portrait), but making it stand out from the crowd, is to fold it vertically along it’s longest size. In our A4 portrait example, that would give you an unusual brochure with a size of H297mm and a width of only 105mm (tall and thin).
  • Finally you could consider a shaped brochure. Bespoke shapes are entirely possible for brochures and suchlike. However, irregular shaping using a traditional ‘cutter’ or by laser cutting will definitely add extra steps and costs to production. They’re worth considering, though, because a bespoke shape will really make your brochure stand out from the crowd, create a positive impact and be memorable. That’s priceless!

Need help with your next brochure or sales/marketing piece?

Southside Print are here to help you with all stages of production for brochures and printed marketing collateral of any kind. Our in-house graphic designers are available to help make your sales and marketing pieces look phenomenally good and to create a positive impact. They can also take care of the digital artwork for you if you don’t have your own designer. Our printing and production services are second-to-none and our prices are exceptionally competitive. Quality is excellent and we also offer an unusual array of recycled and sustainable paper and printing options. Essentially, we’re a one-stop design and print shop! We’re based near London Bridge and Borough in London’s SE1 region. Call 020 7378 6754 for further details, contact us here or request a more in-depth quotation here. We’ll be delighted to help. Quotes are, of course, free and without pressure or obligation.

Printing & Finishing Services for London

Printing & finishing services for London

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

Why Careful Colour Consideration is Crucial for Design

Crucial colour considerations for design

When it comes to design, the choice of colour is incredibly important. 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

Choosing your colour paletteA 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:

  • Find a photograph that you like in terms of colours, then sample those colours using the eye-dropper tool in Photoshop or similar (read on for free way to do this online if you don’t have Photoshop). It works very well when any photos in the printed piece share the same colours as surrounding graphics, ensuring that the entire marketing piece is colour-coordinated and attractive.
  • Another great tool for choosing colourway palettes is to look at the colour swatches on ColourLovers.com. The site shows thousands of different colour palettes that have been uploaded by the community over several years. It ranks colour palettes by popularity or by the number of times they have been saved as ‘favourites’ as well as having colour sections for different sectors (branding, websites, interiors etc). It also shows which colourways are trending at any given time. There are some useful tools there, for generating colour palettes and indeed the lavender colourway graphic in the main image above was generated by such a tool on the site.
  • Another, more obvious, way to choose a good colour palette for your design is to simply keep your eyes open, so you can spot, note or save good existing examples from others. This could mean keeping brochures and booklets that you have liked the colours, look and feel of, or bookmarking websites that have nice colourways etc. Most good designers will do this as a matter of course.
  • Pinterest is also a great tool for saving colourway examples, or finding them, and saving them into well-organised segmented areas.
  • One of the most widely used tools for the professional graphic designer is the tried-and-tested Pantone colour swatch book. There are various types available, including ‘spot colour’ swatches, ‘process’ printing colours (a.k.a. ‘CMYK’), pastels, metallics and lots more. Just like with paint charts for home DIY, they allow you to pick out colours and to compare them to each other side by side. Crucially, though, in the case of Pantone swatches, they allow you to specify the final choice of colours in your artwork in such a way that they will reproduce reliably i.e. exactly as envisaged on your final printed piece.
  • Designers should also consider colour psychology and what colour means to certain cultures when appropriate. For example, in China, blue symbolises immortality whereas in other countries it can represent the colour of mourning. So, care needs to be taken.

Check your artwork’s colour mode before you go to print

It should be noted that colours destined to be used for printing will need to be in ‘CMYK’ mode if printing digitally. For litho printing it can be CMYK mode or ‘spot’ colour, as appropriate. Avoid ‘RGB’ colour mode completely if you are going to have your sales or marketing piece commercially printed. See our Printing & Artwork Tips for further information or leave it all to us. Simply ask for a graphic design and/or artwork quotation — they’re free and without pressure or obligation, so there’s nothing to lose. As well as choosing attractive and appropriate colours and generating a great design for your printed job, we would be very happy to print it for you, of course.

We are Southside Print, a digital printer based in London SE1, close to Borough tube and London Bridge station. Call 020 7378 6754 or contact us here and we’ll be very happy to help you with your next printed project.