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:

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.

A Handy Guide to UK Paper Sizes

A Handy Guide to UK Paper Sizes

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.

ISO 'A' paper sizesISO sizes have several neat, and very handy, mathematical properties about them:

  • 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 Read more

Wiro-Bound Price Lists for South London Paper Merchant

John Purcell Paper - Ring-bound price lists for South London paper merchant

John Purcell PaperSouthside Print is delighted to have been chosen as the supplier of some absolutely delightful A4 wiro-bound price lists for a South London paper merchant. Despite only being printed in black and white, the price lists look a million dollars due to the simple but snazzy design and beautiful textured paper they supplied. Cover material was 250gsm ‘Merian Wove’ and internal sheets were printed on 100% recycled ‘Five Seasons’ paper in a 110gsm weight. Printing was accomplished using Southside Print’s in-house digital printing press along with in-house wiro-binding facilities. The overall result was absolutely fabulous.

About John Purcell Paper

John Purcell Paper is a specialist paper merchant based in Brixton, London SW9, offering premium quality, handmade, mould made and machine made papers and boards. A huge variety is available including anything from deckled edge watercolour papers, stationery paper and Grey Board to decorative papers from the Far East. The full list includes:

Printmaking papersStationery papersConservation boards
Watercolour papersColoured papersBlotting papers
Book papersTracing paperMount boards
Drawing papersAsian papersMill board
Ink jet papersJapanese papersMeridian high density board
Sketch books & padsConservation & repair papersGrey board
Recycled papersArchival box boardsSundries (tissue, bubble wrap, bags etc.)
Ceramic transfer paperMuseum boardOther products (sprays, stretchers etc.)

Brands stocked include Canson, Arches, Fabriano, Hahnemuhle, Magnani, St Cuthbert’s (Somerset), Zerkall and Read more