10 Tips for Publishers

February 8th, 2019 by

How to reduce the impact of rising costs in Print

1) Format – Did you know; by reducing an A4 publication by 20%, can potentially halve the number of printed sheets required to run for your publication. This would save alot on paper, as well as reduce the printing cost at the same time.

Alternatively, if you already have an unusual format size and your print quantity and pagination are substantial enough, or  if you are willing to commit to purchasing enough paper in advance (usually 3 tonnes min) then you can obtain a making of paper for you, which would be a custom made order in a specific size, which is not usually found in stock. Therefore by using a custom size, savings can be made as there will be less wasted paper.

2) Paper choice – There a many different types of papers available and sometimes the paper type can be neglected. Whilst similar papers from different brands usually cost around the same amount, sometimes we can offer alternative papers that cost less. If you are currently letting a printer supply and don’t specify the paper brand, then they are unlikely to be passing on any savings they may be enjoying. We can help identify alternative papers that will be of a financial benefit to you.

As an example, we have recently done just that. A publishing customer of ours had seen paper prices rise several times during 2018. They were initially very reluctant to switch paper for their publication, as it had originally taken quite some time to find a suitable paper that met their specific requirements for this particular title. In the meantime, we pro-actively searched and managed to source an alternative paper and set about making a paper dummy to re-assure the publisher of how it would look. The new paper not only met their specific environmental & sustainable requirements, but allowed us to deliver cost savings to them of almost £1,000 per issue, which totally absorbed all 2018 mill price increases they incurred with the original paper.

3) Paginations – 16 is the magic number. If you can keep your publication pagination divisible by 16, then you will maximise the unit cost per page of your magazine. Smaller section sizes are of course possible, but will often come at a higher unit cost.

4) Scheduling – Printing doesn’t always cost the same throughout the month. If you have a close relationship with your print supplier(s) like we do, it’s quite possible to glean preferential rates for printing your magazine in those quieter periods. If you have obtained a quotation from your supplier without giving them any forward publication schedule, then it’s unlikely that you will be experiencing this special rate. The estimators are unlikely to account for these reductions unless they have been advised by someone else to be extra lean with the cost. The story doesn’t just end there; it could be you currently plan to have your magazine “On Sale” in the peak weeks, as this is the busy period for your supplier, you won’t be experiencing the best price, as the demand for printing in these weeks is high, therefore it’s highly unlikely to be discounted.

So what happens if you don’t want to change your “On Sale”, are you never going to get the best rate?. Well if you look at it in a different way, it’s still possible.

Could you bring our copy dates forward enough to be printing the issue in the quieter weeks, so that the magazine is ready ahead of the required distribution date, thus giving you the opportunity of savings through your print partner.

5) Planning up together – Do you have multiple titles?. If you can publish titles of the same trimmed page size or same paper types together at the same time, then it is possible you could see some small financial benefits. These can be given, as you will be reducing the amount of full make readies on the print machines. If the magazines are also the same paginations and finished the same, then small savings on the finishing could also be made. Furthermore, you could save on final deliveries too if these can all be put together on the same vehicle.

International Property Print Client6) Finishing/Finishes – If you have particular cover treatment, it will be adding cost and also potentially adding time to your schedule. There are a lot of press inline treatments nowadays, that can help to reduce overall cost and lead time. You need to consider if they are really required for a purpose apart from cosmetic, or you could be wasting your budget.

7) Mailing – Since the abolition of the Royal Mail monopoly over a decade ago, there are now many additional 3rd party companies offering alternative delivery solutions. Added to this are a whole host of different services depending on the type of product you are mailing out. If you haven’t re-visited this recently, then you could very easily be on the wrong tariff and you might be missing out on some big savings. Royal Mail have themselves introduced a new subscription mail service, so this may also be worth considering. You can view the Royal Mail pricing calculator

If you have overseas subscriptions, then this is an area where there is potential for big postal savings to be made. This can be done through a consolidator and despite the consolidation process, it can often improve the delivery timescales to international countries, so not only do you save, your customers receive their magazine quicker too.

8) Distribution – How you get your products in front of your target audience is vitally important, and it’s just as important to get good positioning. We can assist with getting you into relevant retailers and also niche outlets and also give you up to date EPOS information.

9) Language – It could be possible that your magazine could gain some ground in overseas markets. If it was re-worked to fit into the local culture. If you are looking to licence or launch your magazine in a foreign country then you are likely going to need a translation service, that is well aware of the local dialect and tone of voice required for that particular country.

10) Manpower – A magazine requires a lot of input, dedication and hard work to put together. If resources are stretched, for whatever reason, there are plenty of freelancers who are experts in their field, that would be able to assist you in your passion for success. We can also offer that resource that you can tap into as and when those are needed, through our sister company Symbian Create.


All of the above can go some way to reducing direct costs and making a difference to your business. Most of these can be carried out without compromising on the quality of your publications. If you need support, or wish to explore any of the above, by way of a free audit, or alternatively would just like to ask us a few questions, then our expert team would be more than happy to talk to you. Just click the button below or give us a call on 01279 810 740


Other Things to Consider

Reprints – In the event you need to reprint your publication for whatever reason, if the quantity is much different from the original run, then you might be better off printing this at an alternative supplier. This should definitely be considered if you are reprinting a small quantity and this is where digital printing comes into it’s own. It’s a great way to re-produce a small quantity with a fast turnaround and depending on the specification, the print quality can be as good as Litho printing, although not every machine prints to that quality standard, so investigate first, if this is critical to you.

Digital Replication – If you are not re-producing your magazine in an online format, then you are possibly losing readership. In this digital age, customers want the convenience to digest content as and when they want it and sometimes this can be on the move via mobile devices, so it’s an important area to test out and develop as part of your subscriber offering. It’s a nicer experience to use a dedicated application for this, rather than just creating a bog standard PDF that subscribers download or read online.

Mobile App – If your magazine content suits and you want to offer something more complex in the form of a digital offering, then an app could be right for you. It allows readers to instantly access the publication, aswell as previous archived issues and the right designers can make your content interactive, so the user experience is more immersive and the content is richer. It also gives you the power to push notifications to your subscribers directly, which can keep you directly in touch with them, allowing you to keep them more informed.

If everything isn’t black and white, I say, ‘Why the hell not?

June 7th, 2018 by
quote by John Wayne

Sometimes it’s best to keep it nice and simple. A well designed piece of Black and White print can carry maximum impact when used big and bold.

Our client wanted to mail out a promotional piece for an upcoming event. They had already designed the main piece, but for maximum impact we suggested they personalise the cover with the customers name.

Using high quality digital technology we were able to do this and reverse the customers name out of rich black ink, so that it was captured within the main design of the piece to give that Wow factor!

For the envelope, we suggested a black offset envelope to match the internal piece which would need to be addressed. Now normally when using a dark coloured envelope you would have to apply a white address label and white PPI label to the envelope to ensure legible for the postal service, however we felt this might make the mail piece look less bespoke, and we really wanted to offer something a little different so that when it landed on the recipients desk, it really stood out and would be intriguing.


We therefore set about speaking with a couple of suppliers about using white ink and ran a flat sheet trial on the stock to check the feasibility. We knew the addressing field wouldn’t be an issue, but we were concerned over replicating the Indicia at such a small size in white ink which would mean there would be some very fine reversed out areas to create the fine black lines especially printing on uncoated material. We were actually surprised how well it did replicate and therefore allowed us to continue this method for the actual production. For the envelope we printed in white ink using a digital Ricoh c9110 and then a HP Indigo for the main booklet.

The items were printed and finished and then had to be hand matched and enclosed as both the envelope and internal booklet were personalised. The product was then mailed out on schedule and our customer was really delighted with the end product and the impact it had.

The print campaign formed part of their overall marketing strategy for promoting their Lighting event which was being pushed heavily on Social Media too, so the combination of both channels meant a much higher engagement and response to their event.

So if you have already have an idea, or would love some fresh ideas on how print can help promote your business, be sure to get in contact with us. We are passionate about Print & our Customers too, and really love a challenge.

Getting A Cold Isn’t All Bad News (when it’s Cold Foiling)

March 12th, 2018 by

The temperature may still be a little chilly outside, but you can’t beat a good COLD FOIL embellishment to enhance your print and stand out from the competition. Take a look at some of our recent promotional work that uses this very effective and engaging print technique that used to only be associated with specialist packaging.

When one of our customers came to us last year with a copy of an Italian magazine they had picked up with a printed Mirror board foiled cover and said “We would love something like this for our Magazine ”, we went the extra mile and found an even better solution for them. Our’s was far less expensive to produce, gave a superior result and allowed them to be much more creative with their design ideas whilst keeping within their brand guidelines. It’s flexibility allows the foil to be put down on all or any part of the paper sheet, giving endless possibilities and effects. The foil is then overprinted in 4 colour process or pantone colours, which opens up a full spectrum of coloured foil embellishments, allowing unlimited colour foil possibilities all on the same sheet.  Another benefit of the cold foil is that any white or opaque areas of the sheet are not foiled at all, so there is no need to screen print or use special white u/v inks, like you would with overprinting Mirror Boards. The result of printing a combination of part foil, part paper really allows images to ‘pop’ and also maintains brand guidelines. The level of fine detail is absolutely astonishing, we can lay down very thin amounts of foil if required and even tint percentages of foil, combined with excellent print registration to give you the ultimate effect and add value to your print. Unlike using a pre-foiled product like Mirror board, we can choose almost any coated stock to apply the cold foil to, in a wide range of paper weights too.  
The Benefits of Cold Foil compared to pre-metallised boards are as follows:
  • Just the thin foil layer is glued on the cardboard, not the carrier.
  • Foil is only present in the areas where they are needed for the design
  • Cold foil as a spot coverage printing means, no need to print white ink on top for lettering, or to make the 4 colour printing opaque
  • A very fine level of detail in foil can be achieved
  • No use of UV inks or UV varnish is required
  • No disruption in the cardboard recycling process by avoiding plastics on the surface
  • This type of foil weighs less
  • From plain paper, to a finished printed and foiled product, all in one single machine pass


(Figures based on a 40% coverage of foil)

click on image to enlarge      
Speed of production is fast, as the foil is laid down and printed in the same pass, so it takes no longer than a conventional print job, so unlike hot foiling, the process isn’t going to take any longer and again unlike hot foil, you can feature a range of coloured foils without additional time for producing multiple dies or the costs associated with that. The foiled sheets look fantastic just as they are, but add a Matt lamination, Anti Scuff or Soft touch lamination and it really adds an additional value and protects the product. Like we said, no longer is this type of product only available to the packaging industry, it’s available to use for your magazines, catalogues, flyers, stationery and any kind of marketing collateral you and your creatives can think of and given our hands on experience, we will be able to advise you on how to achieve the best results. So go ahead and pimp up your print. If you have an enquiry or want to us to send you some free samples, please get in touch.

The Power of Print Media

February 1st, 2018 by

In a ever more digital marketing world, where the success of each online campaign can be measured and quanitified, it is easy to forget about the power that printed media has.

According to the ACA, 62% of people across all demographics still see printed marketing materials as the most effective advertising channel. Digital marketing can be fleeting, print marketing has staying power. The tactile nature of printed materials inspires instant engagement. 82% of people recall brand names read on printed media compared to only 42% recalled from emails. Print also comes with the potential to be filed away, ready to be investigated later on. In an increasingly digital world print should definately still have a place in your marketing mix – and here are some key facts to back it up.

Our new blog page

October 2nd, 2017 by

A warm welcome to you and thank you for stopping by our new blogging area.

We have only just decided to start a blog for Symbian Print, but rest assured, we will do our best to fill it with some exciting and informative stuff over the coming months which may help or inspire you in your own projects.

If you want to sign up to our newsletter, enter your name and email over on the left of this page. That way, we will make sure we keep you regularly updated.

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