Promotion without the commotion

July 25th, 2019 by

If you want the ideal customer giveaways and want to improve your brand awareness at the same time, a promotional product can be a great way to ensure you are always kept, front of mind.

These can be items used at work, an event, out & about, or equally just at home.

Or perhaps you just want your staff or colleagues to use company branded items at work as part of their daily routines.

With the advances in technology, we can now supply low volume items without the hefty unit prices & we can often have them ready very quickly too.

Below are some of the more popular giveaway items, but if you fancy something more quirky, just ask away and I’m sure we can find something that’s right for you.


We can provide all of the following, aswell as much much more.

USB Flash Drives, Lanyards, Mugs, Water Bottles, Umbrella’s, Coaster’s, Pen’s, Clothing, Card Decks, Fans, Bags, Calendars, Chargers & Powerbanks, Sweets, Chocolates, Speakers, Mobile Stands and Cases, Wristbands, Keyrings



If you have an enquiry, or want to set us a challenge in finding the ideal product for you , please get in touch below, or take a look at our Promotional Products page


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.

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 many alternatives to Royal Mail aswell, that can often 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.

If you do require your catalogue to be safely enclosed in something for added protection, or because it’s going out with a letter or multiple items, then you will need to enclose in an envelope or polywrap. On the polywrap option you have choices of clear polythene, biodegradable film, compostable film, or paper wrapping.

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.  
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.

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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