Catalogue Advice & Cost Saving Tips

September 28th, 2018 by

We love to share ideas and advice with our customers and we hope that’s one of the reasons they return to us time and time again. We hope you might find some benefits in these catalogue tips below.

1. Pagination
In Litho printing, on the whole, the magic number is 16. This is the total number of A4 pages we will usually print on a sheet, or multiples of 16 on larger machinery when required. If you are looking to save money on your print costs then ensure that the total number of text pages of your product is divisible by 16. In this way you can actually print more pages and save money on your job. The reason for this is that by sticking to this you will reduce the amount of set up costs, so your unit cost based on total number of pages will be less.
2: Trim Size/Format
To ensure you maximise the efficiencies of Litho print production and also reduce any unnecessary waste we would recommend you use one of the following formats when choosing your Catalogue page size.
    a) 297 x 210mm A4
    b) 240 x 165mm B5
    c) 210 x 148mm A5
    d) 198 x 198mm Square (NB. usually printed in 24pp sections)
NB. All of the above dimensions can be slightly tailored to fit specific requirements like overall catalogue weight, but they form a fantastic starting point.
3. Choosing the right printing method
In order to ensure that your printed product is produced most effectively it is essential that you select the right printing method. Below is a brief summary of their benefits
Web Printing
  • Perfect for larger quantities of catalogues over 5000 copies
  • Can use low gsm papers to help with overall weight reduction
  • Well suited for printing text sections
  • Very fast production times as section folded inline
  • As the quantity increases the cost per unit decreases substantially
 Sheet-fed Printing
  • Can print on heavy papers up to 400gsm
  • Perfect for Covers
  • Faster than digital production
  • Can add fifth colours or varnishes to the product on a single run.
  • Well suited for smaller run or pagination catalogues, or for those requiring text pages over 130gsm
Digital Printing
  • Well suited to very small runs or multiple versions
  • Allows you to personalise individual copies
  • Very quick make readies
  • Less waste
  • Indigo digital printing offers near Litho quality
  • Quick Turnarounds
  • Great for market testing

4. Paper weight
The paper you select for your catalogue is a surefire way of potentially reducing costs. If you choose to print on a lighter weight paper stock, then this will reduce the overall tonnage or paper required to produce the job and secondly, the finished catalogue will not weigh as much. This is very likely to save money on mailing and distribution costs which are often the most expensive components of a catalogue campaign.

Use our handy catalogue weight calculator tool to work out the weight of your next catalogue and keep it within your budget

5. Mailing
If you have a requirement to mail out your catalogue in bulk, we would recommend the following:

For smaller Catalogues, keep the entire pack weight to under 100grams and ensure the pack size in no more than 240 x 165mm x 5mm to qualify as a Letter which is the cheapest format. You will need to mail in excess of 4,000 to the UK to gain the mailsort discount, but there are other methods of addressing that at reduced rates without being sorted, so it’s always worth checking all your options.

For larger Catalogues, your pack weight should ideally weight no more than 250g, after this it does start to increase in small increments on sorted mail . The minimum needed to mail to gain a sorted discount is 1,000 valid addressed items. There is also quite a hike for non sorted mail over 250g, then again over 500g. If you happen to be a lightweight under 100grams, but over the 240 x 165mm x 5mm format then this will still be classed as large letter, but you will still get a better rate up to the 100gram pack weight. The maximum weight for a Large letter format is 750g.

The largest of the Catalogues which are over 750g will be sent as parcel rate. This has a maximum weight limit of 2kgs & you will need to mail 1,000 valid addressed items to qualify for a sorted discount.

There is a handy Royal Mail price calculator you can use here, for budgeting purposes. We would recommend using the Advertising Mail service for the best available rates, but please remember your pack will need to be approved by Royal Mail prior to mailing to ensure it meets with their requirements.

Remember there are alternatives to Royal Mail aswell that can sometimes be more cost effective. Be sure to look into those too.

If you also wanted to reduce your pack weight further, you can also look into a naked mailing, meaning that the catalogue is sent out purely on it’s own without being enclosed in an envelope or polybag. The catalogue would need to be addressed, directly on the cover & you would need prior approval by your mailing provider to ensure it meets the requirements to be mailed solo. By mailing in this way, you can save the costs of the other enclosing items and its likely you could also gain the sustainable advertising discount, so worth exploring.

Already have your catalogue printed, but still need it mailed? No worries, we have some customers that only use us for our mailing services, so please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Alternatively, if you would like to know more about our other services, feel free to browse the rest of our website.

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.

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.

They soon cottoned on to our T-shirts

January 2nd, 2018 by

160 Printed T-Shirts in 5 different sizes needed for a launch event in 4 days – No Way, yes WAY!.

We quickly cottoned on to their desperate need and got the T-shirts sourced and underway all for less than £7 per printed shirt.

Using our expert promotional outsourcing team we quickly found a supplier willing to take up the challenge and together we set to work.

We were not able to use dye sublimation print, as the required design was grey on black t-shirts which would have meant bleaching the area then looking to match a print to Pantone cool Grey. Instead we went for direct to garment digital printing, which allows the ink to form part of the garment rather than being printed on top, so the print feels soft and stretches with the shirt.

The T-Shirts were also printed using 100% biodegradable, water-based organic inks that consists of white + CMYK & just to Top it off, we actually delivered with all within 3 days from receipt of artwork.

So if you need any promotional t-shirts or garments printed or supplied, don’t get hot all under the collar, let us take the stress away, and give us a shout.

Send a Calendar for Christmas

December 5th, 2017 by

If you are anything like me, then you get excited about receiving next year’s calendar, so you can flick through to those special events like your birthday, or check if it’s a leap year this time around.

Another thing I love to do is find a mistake…

I’ll search high and low looking for one; have all the months got the right amount of days in them, are the months in order, are all the days of the week spelt correctly – you’ll be amazed at what you can find if you look closely enough.

Then of course, once you find a mistake, it’s like you’ve won the lottery, you tell all of your workmates, not straight away mind, you just give them a gentle hint and see if they too are marvellous and eagle eyed, and if they fail – you punch the air with glee at your special skill, whilst the others look on with wonderment, well that’s how I remember it happening. Next, you don’t really want to, but feel it’s your purpose in life to ring up said printer and after asking them how their work/life balance is and if the trade is particularly busy, you point out your discovery.

“Erm Bob, I’ve just received your Calendar, Oh it’s a lovely printed piece, really shows off your press technology and the £1.4 million you just invested in the latest kit and I especially like the fluffy Kitten featured in July, but truth be known, I’ve spotted a typo!. February maybe the shortest month, but it’s not short on letters and you seem to be missing some. You’ve spelt it Febury. Anyway, just thought I’d point it out, just in case, due to popular demand you have to print some more, I mean I’ll coin a phrase you probably hear a lot Robert, “there’s always time for a reprint”

Sorry, I got a bit side tracked, back to the actual point of the blog which is that Calendars do make wonderful gifts for clients and customers alike, they have great practical use, are informative, can promote branding and ensure you are front of mind all year round.

We can produce a wide range of calendars be it Desk/Tent Calendars, Wall Calendars, Desk Pad Planner Calendars or Pocket Calendars (I think that’s pretty much all of them). And if you order through us, we will be sure to get our eagle eyed “Calendar blogger” who shan’t be named to have a good look through your artwork before we send it to print. We can even send you an artwork template if required, or if you don’t have a resource, we can even design it for you.

If however, you are not looking to get a Calendar printed but would simply like us to send you one of ours, please email us your contact and address details to and we’ll try to get you one posted out, although stock is limited, so be quick (we are not planning to reprint them 🙂 ).

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Symbian Print aims to deliver a regular flow of advice and inspiration in the print industry. Offering unique resources, the latest insight and informative tutorials on the latest trends and developments in global print game.