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If you buy point of sale items such as printed posters or window/product stickers, you may well be interested in this great product innovation.

Traditional paper-printed posters have been around since the ark (if not, before) and are a totally effective communications materials and a really cost-effective method of getting your message across. But there are sometimes downsides. The tape or blu-tac we use to put them up can mark the walls/windows. They can also be tricky to apply and rely on the skills of staff to be able to get them right first time. And when they need to be moved or changed around, they can rip and leave mess behind.

What’s the solution?
Well how about a poster or sticker that sticks to just about any surface for up to a couple of years without using adhesive? That can be placed without wrinkles or air bubbles by even the clumsiest of staff? And if it’s in the wrong place, it can be simply picked up and repositioned just as easily without leaving any mess whatsoever.

transparent static cling in window

Printed on transparent stock – with no adhesive! Ideal for window displays.

The Product
The product is a poster that’s printed on fully recyclable polypropylene film that’s charged with a harmless static charge. It was originally developed to line clean-rooms where it pulled dirty particles from the air in sensitive engineering areas. However they noticed that its ability to stick to a wide variety of surfaces meant it was an ideal material to display notices on too. It’ll stick on glass, walls, ceilings, wood, screens – pretty well any material you care to mount it on.

You can print any marketing message onto white or transparent stock, meaning they’re ideal for window mounting too. In many circumstances, they’re and ideal sticker, label or poster printing solution.

How can they be used?
Here’s some of the most popular applications:

POSTERS AND POINT OF SALE – Ideal for putting on walls and windows of shops or offices.
CORNER FLASHES – on products such as TVs or appliances.
CAR SHOWROOMS – on showroom or car windows.
VENDING MACHINE INSERTS – simply applied to the inside of the glass.
GUERILLA MARKETING – Can be thrown around for maximum impact.

Dangers of smoking poster

Poster adhering to the wall in a busy doctor’s waiting room

The Benefits

NO MESS – because it uses static to adhere to the wall, there’s no mess or residue left on the wall when it’s removed.
SIMPLE TO APPLY – no skill is required to apply for a perfect finish with no air bubbles. Any staff member can do it.
EASY TO REARRANGE – once new items come in, existing posters or labels can be easily removed and replaced to make way for new promotions.
RECYCLABLE – can be recycled at any polypropylene recycling facility.

And finally, here’s a video presented by Webmart Print Consultant Rich Boon giving you a demo of how static clings work in practise.

corner flash on TV

Product corner-flash – again with no adhesive.

If you’re fed up of mess or have problems with staff struggling with traditional posters or window stickers (or any other POS or poster printing problems) why not get in touch for a quick quote. Our Print Consultants are here to help.

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In colour management part 1, we looked at how it’s tricky to accurately view printed colours and how, if faithful colour reproduction is important to your catalogue, you need to view colours in a controlled environment.

We now look at the first stages of getting colour towards your catalogue and how colour has to be managed through the process to make sure it’s printed accurately.

The range of colours we see as humans is pretty vast. And it’s important to understand that whenever we try and capture an image for use in any medium (screen, print, whatever), the range of colours is always reduced. The range of colours each device can reproduce and work with is called the colour gamut.

On the left, the largest circle is the visible colours we can all see – the visible colour gamut. When you take a photo on a digital camera, it’s stored as an RGB file. The RGB colour gamut is much smaller than the full visible gamut showing how much colour information is lost when we transfer it to a digital photo file. You can then see how many colours are described by pantone reference codes. And finally, you can see the range of colours that can be reproduced by the CMYK printing process (that’s the process most commercial printers use for catalogue printing).

You can see from this that while the CMYK process is perfectly suitable for most practical applications, in some circumstances it can struggle to faithfully reproduce colours. For example, the picture below shows the original colour required on the left and then shows the closest matching colour the CMYK process can manage on the right.

Required colour on the left, CMYK closest match on the right.

Of course, if a particular colour is absolutely required but the CMYK process can’t accurately reproduce it, that ink can be matched and used as an extra or special ink to supplement the cyan, magenta, yellow and black of the CMYK process.

Artwork Output
We’ve looked at how to output artwork for print before. Suffice to say that it’s important to comply with your printer’s artwork guidelines (you can grab ours WM_PDF_Guidelines_2011 to see what they look like) and typically, you need to ensure you output to a PDF/X-1a file.

Colour Profiling
So, to get the best results, we need to manage the colour conversion through the process all the way to the proofs and onto the press. This starts with the RGB profile. Each camera stores the RGB information in a specific format – and where possible, your photographer should use the Adobe 1998 RGB standard as this is has the broadest colour gamut. SRGB is also good quality and a common gamut for computer monitor display but for catalogue printing, Adobe is the preferred RGB format. Ensure your photographer includes the RGB information in their file as this is used down the chain to control the profile of the colour.

Proofing
If you’re specifying that you need your colour to be reproduced as faithfully as possible, which many of us require in our catalogue, it’s essential to have a contract proof. This is the only colour-faithful reproduction you’ll get before your copies come off the press and will allow you to tweak the colours if you’re not happy with them before you hit the press. You can also use the proof to compare the final job against so it’s a vital tool to ensure the final colour is the colour you’re happy with.

For more information on the different types of proof available to you, check our proofing article.

Phew. That’s enough for now. In the final instalment, we’ll take the job through to the press and look at how you can control (and troubleshoot) the final piece of the jigsaw to ensure you get precisely the colour reproduction you expect.

Webmart are experts in catalogue printing and in managing your colour through print (in fact, expert at managing everything to do with print!) If you need to buy print anywhere in the UK, why not give us a call? We advise, buy, project manage and deliver your print and will usually save you money over your existing supplier. Contact a Print Consultant or call 01869 366931 for a friendly chat.

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Publishers and marketers* are always looking for great ways to make their products stand out on the shelf, desk or coffee table (or wherever else they’re put). Well, the creative use of thermochromic inks and varnishes is an interesting technology which can really help you attract attention. And if used cleverly, can also increase your magazine’s ‘stickability’ and the numbers of eyeballs that will see it through repeated use.

So, let’s take a look at what themochromism is and how you can use it in your printed magazine.

What is Thermochromic?
Thermochromic means it changes colour when the temperature changes. In the case of inks and varnishes, they can change colour (or change from opaque to transparent) when the temperature goes up or down or when exposed to UV light. The point at which the transformation happens can be predefined, meaning the cunning marketer can do some pretty interesting things which will benefit or entertain their customers and ultimately increase usefulness and sales.

thermochromic varnish

On the left, the original. On the right, a little heat and the change is taking place from opaque to transparent, revealing underprinting beneath..

How can it help me?
It’s really the creative application of thermochromic that can strike a chord with your audience. As always, you need a thorough understanding of the likes and drivers of your target customer, then tailor the use of the thermochromic inks/varnishes to them. But here are some of the applications we’ve identified which should get your grey-matter working:

Touch Reactive
This is where there’s a panel of thermochromic on your magazine (could be the whole page!) and the customer has to touch it to make it change colour and/or reveal what’s underneath. This is really fun to do and encourages interaction with the print. Underneath could be a voucher or secret/hidden picture and having to interact with the page means customers will often actively share it with other readers.

Heat/Chill Reactive
Great for packaging where a product has to be stored or consumed at a particular temperature. They also have uses on printed magazines; both practical (for example changing colour when in an acceptable office temperature) or fun (eg. displaying a picture when pressed against a hot coffee cup).

UV Reactive
Again, has both fun and practical applications. This ink/varnish can react in UV light and can react according to the strength of that light. So for example, it can be used to show when the strength of UV light is too high and sunblock should be used. For magazine printing, there can be a panel on the magazine which changes when the magazine is taken out of the shop and exposed to UV light – so the customer buys the magazine and when they take it out of the shop, the image on the front cover changes.

Thermochromic inks and varnishes can be relatively cheap ways of attracting attention on the page and it’s really up to the creative marketer to come up with a solution that’s attractive or useful to your target customer.

Our print consultants have heaps of experience in helping marketers and publishers get the most from their print. If you’d like to speak to one of them about thermochromic inks and varnishes could work for you – or to discuss anything else magazine printing related – simply fill out the form or call us on 01869 366931.

*We’ll use the term ‘marketers’ in this article as we’re all after attracting eyeballs towards our magazine.

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Why do you Need True Colour?
There are lots of reasons why you might need your print to show exactly the right colours. It could be because you have to ensure your brand colours are correct. Or it might be because the colours of the products in your catalogue really need to be as closely to the real thing as possible. That’s especially true in fashion.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand how colour is perceived, controlled and printed. In this first short article aimed especially towards brochure and catalogue printing, we look at why what you see isn’t always what it seems!

In the Eye of the Beholder.
Let’s start with the fundamentals. True-colour reproduction is very much in the eye of the beholder. What you see might well not be the same as what another person sees as there are perception and environmental factors that affect the way we see colour.

Eye Eye
For a start, the colour of any object (not just print) is altered by ambient light. If you view an object indoors, or under a fluorescent tube, or in a brightly coloured room, it will change your perception of colour when viewing another object. For example, if you’re viewing in a room that’s bright green, it stands to reason that it’ll tint the printed page you’re viewing, slightly altering your perception of the colours on the page. The same goes for light coming in from the window or the light bulbs around you.

Also, if you’re viewing a printed page, the other colours on the page will alter your perception of colour. Colours interact with each other to fool the brain, and that can be especially relevant to a catalogue page where there are lots of images and colours competing for the eyeball. Check the example below. It’s pretty hard to believe that tiles A & B are both exactly the same shade.

colour change optical illusion

Tiles A & B are the same colour. No, really.

OK, so you don’t believe us? Check out this video of some people who REALLY want to prove it’s true.

What does this all mean? It means that viewing colour is subjective. So if you’re viewing the page of your latest catalogue and discussing it with your printer or print consultant over the phone and are in dispute about a particular colour and you’re both adamant that the brand green is/isn’t right, then it’s just possible that you’re both correct (or wrong!)

But what’s the solution?

D50
D50 is a standard viewing environment for print colour. It refers to the frequency of the light and is a way to bring a controlled environment to the viewing of colour. If you view a piece of print in a D50 environment (as your printer will) then it allows anyone to be sure they’re viewing the print in the same conditions. Meaning, you’re all seeing the same thing and have taken external environmental factors into account.

So now you can have a sensible conversation about the catalogue you’re looking at in the happy certainty that your customer/printer isn’t trying to view it by the light of a candle or in the full sun while necking their morning mocha.

Future articles will cover how colour degrades across digital/analogue processing and how it needs to be matched to the specific printing press if you want to recreate totally true colour in your catalogue.

Webmart are experts in catalogue printing and in managing your colour through print (in fact, expert at managing everything to do with print!) If you need to buy print anywhere in the UK, why not give us a call? We advise, buy, project manage and deliver your print and will usually save you money over your existing supplier. Talk to a print consultant by clicking here or calling 01869 366931.

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If you use print for marketing purposes, then a decent understanding of your folding options is key for all kinds of reasons. Firstly, it gives you more options to design and lay out your print in the most user-friendly way possible for your customers – increasing response rates into the bargain. It’s also important as it allows you to optimise your print to get the most bang-for-your-book (lame pun intended) when talking to printers.

So here we look at some of your most common folding options. Getting to understand these will help you increase product effectiveness and stop you being bamboozled when you’re talking to your printer – they’ll be familiar with these terms so it’ll help in making sure you get exactly what you want!

Single Fold
Folded down the middle to make four pages.

 

Standard of Roll Fold
Folded twice to make six pages.

 

Gate-fold

Gate Fold
Can usually only be six pages (6pp); both sides fold to the middle. More suited to sheet fed presses, as they are typically very long products or square-finished. Also the double gate fold where both flaps fold and meet in the middle and are then folded again.

 

Concertina-Fold

Concertina Fold
Folded back on itself in a zigzag – good solid fold, but cannot be mechanically inserted as you need a closed edge.

 

Roll-Fold

Roll Fold (or Parallel over & outer Fold)
One panel is rolled over the next, continued to the desired size (common is 6pp). Disadvantage is that each panel progressively gets smaller, so artwork must compensate for this. Excellent for inserts (provides an edge to be grabbed by). Web presses cannot finish roll folds on press, as the product would get stuck on the plough folders, so offline folding is needed.

 

Square,-french-or-right-angle-fold

Square (French or Right-angled) Fold
(Think folded posters) Excellent for poster inserts and leaflets designed to be opened flat, again something more commonly found on larger, B1+ sheetfed presses.

 

Parallel-and-Reverse-map-fold

Parallel & Reverse Map Fold
There are a range of folds that are usually associated with maps.

 

Endorsement-fold

Endorsement fold
The product’s finished (e.g. stapled, etc.) then folded to a new size (e.g. DL). Good for inserts that are larger than the product it will be inserted into, when open flat.  Commonly for retail flyers to be inserted into national press.

 

Standard-&-Concertina-Letter-Fold

Standard & Concertina Letter Fold
Folded in half then folded again using either standard or concertina folding.

 Top Tip – folds are usually priced per 1000, with the more complex folds costing more. It’s therefore very important to clearly specify exactly the type of fold you require to your printer at the time you place your order. That way, you’ll get the correct fold and your printer can give you an exact price. No surprises when it comes to invoicing!

For more information on your finishing options, check through Printing Brain or get in touch and we’ll be only too happy to help!

 

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If you’re printing a project with a new, untried, printer or printing an item for the first time, it’s likely that you’ll want to be there when it’s being printed, to make sure everything’s going to plan. It gives you piece of mind, tighter control of what’s going on and you’ll be on hand to resolve problems to your satisfaction if problems arise.

This is called a Press Pass or Press Passing in the printing trade.

At Webmart, we very often do this on behalf of our customer, or alongside them. When you’re print buying, signing off on your proofs can be a very daunting prospect, so you either want to be as close to the action as possible, or have a trusted expert do it for you and make sure everything goes to plan.

We’re very much into process mapping all we can so we continually improve and don’t leave anything to chance. So here’s one of the checklists used by our Print Consultants – including things to remember when visiting non-UK printers.

press passing to ensure quality print

Press Passing Webmart Business Stationery

Before you go:

  • Passport (if necessary) – we’ve all done it. Once!
  • Foreign currency (if necessary)
  • Proofs – if appropriate.  Previous printed copy (if possible)
  • Amendments
  • Copy of signed estimate/order
  • Additional paperwork (solicitor’s agreements, packing documents, mailsort manifest, etc)
  • European power adaptor (where applicable)
  • Comfortable clothing and additional clothes (if needed, in case of extra days, etc)
  • Something to pass the time!
  • Always set off in plenty of time to get to the airport/printers.

Things to check on press:

  • Content – is what is being printed the correct content, words, images, etc?
  • Layout – is everything where it should be on the page? Ask for a section to be trimmed so you can see the imposition.
  • Match to spec – are you getting exactly what has been signed and paid for? Perforations in the correct place, correct paperweight and finish, correct colours and varnishes, special requirements (e.g. spots, die cuts etc)?  Does the size match? If something isn’t correct at this stage, ask the overseer/press minder to stop press and correct.  If not sure, call Webmart Commercial department – our mobiles are on 24/7 for this type of eventuality.
  • Trim a section to size – does the trimmed section meet the finished size?  Does all the artwork fit on?  Check the bleeds (if applicable).
  • Check colours – do they match the signed proof, are they as bright/vibrant/warm/cold/bold as the client requests?
  • If the product is Linting (usually occurs on uncoated stock), request a blanket wash.

Some of the common problems apart from colour are:

Rotary trimming – edges rough and trimming out of square.  Ask them to change the cutters if it’s not right.

Spine-glued products – a method of putting a thin line of glue into the spine of a section, allowing it to be held together for finishing, usually then trimmed on press for a very cost-effective product.  

Stitched on line products – stitch not rounded and biting into the centre pages. The centre pages then become torn and the centre page falls out. Get them to adjust, there and then.

Stitched off line products – stitch too tight and again, like above, tearing the centre pages. (Can be difficult to pass, as it’s done late on in the process, but always worth a mention for things to watch out for before you leave).

There are plenty of other problems to look out for but this should give you enough to look out for!

Finally, a brief run through the checklist of what you want on press:

  • The sheet of paper chosen
  • The colour and the quality of the print on the paper
  • The fold or finish then made
  • The stitch or glue that holds it together
  • The trimming of the job
  • The packing as requested
  • The markings on the pallet cards and delivery notes

Good Luck!

Though if you’re print buying and don’t want luck to be involved – give Webmart a call and we’ll handle your print project from brief to delivery.

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One of our Print Consultants received the following email out of the blue today. As we do with internet enquiries when they come from an email address not linked to a company (in this case a Yahoo.com email address), he ran a quick check to see if it looked pukka. Good ole Google popped up with pages of results showing that it’s a scam email that’s been sent to print companies in the US, Australia, Sweden – and is now targeting the UK.

Below are the top two links we found – the first is a forum post where quite a few printers report they’ve been targeted. The second is a list of email addresses that an Oz printing forum has compiled – could be a useful resource to check these sort of unsolicited enquiries against. Our Rev Gaffer is on there.

scam-flyer

Crime against artwork?

800 Notes Website Link

Printnet.com.uk Website Link

From: Rev John Gaffer
Sent: 04 August 2011 6:28 AM
To: Mark
Subject: Flyers

Good Morning

With Regards to your Company Am Reverend John ,can you please quote me on printing 60,000 copies of Flyers  with the following specs.

1. measures 8.5′ x 11′
2. 80# Gloss Text
3.one sided
4. Full color

Please provide quote on 60,000 copies and i have  attached  a  copy of the  art work of the flyer. I hope to hear from  you

Best Regards

Reverend John

And as our vigilant Consultant remarked – we’re not quite sure how the scam would pan out, but maybe the real crime is a crime against god-awful low-res artwork.

 

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What are they?
Small printed codes added to print which customers with smartphones can scan and which redirects them, through their phone, to further content/information. This can be a website page, stocking information, pricing information, product videos or any other digital data.

  •  QR codes are open source and most popular.
  • Matrix codes can be smaller on the page but less recognisable.
  • Microsoft Tags are colour but also less recognisable.

Webmart QR code  QR Code  

Why add them?
They’re different, interesting for marketers, drive customers to a specified action, deliver further content to customers and allow marketers to track customer interactions.

Uses
Can be printed onto a wide variety of marketing materials to link to further content. Very popular with direct mail printers and marketers to drive instant responses from their customers. They also allow marketers to track responses and gather further information from customers. Common uses include:

  • Divert users to online ordering
  • Display a video
  • Pop open an email
  • Display up to date pricing information
  • Display stocking information
  • Display further product information
    wm data matrix code

    Data Matrix Code

Problems 

  • Most end users probably don’t know what they are
  • They need a compatible smart phone
  • They need to install the correct software
  • They need to know how to use the software
  • Most can be used for free – though more advanced usage & tracking costs

Tips
Always print instructions on what software to download and where to get it for customers. This increases user uptake.

Install
Blackberry
, install the following software from App World to read the codes.

  • QR Code – QR Code Scanner Pro
  • Matrix Code – ScanLife
  • Microsoft Tag – Tag Reader
iPhone, try:

webmart microsoft tag

Microsoft Tag

  • QR Code – NeoReader
  • Matrix Code – Bar Code
  • Microsoft Tag – Tag Reader
Android:
  • QR & Data Matrix Codes – Bar Code Scanner or Scan Life
  • Microsoft Tag – Microsoft Tag Reader
For other information on ROI and innovations, see Near Field Communications, (another technology blurring the lines between print and digital) and How to Measure ROI from your print.
If you want to find out more about how response codes can work for you, or any other printing innovations that will engage with your customers, get in touch with an expert Webmart Print Consultant who will be happy to advise you FOR FREE.
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With the continued reduction in capacity in many sectors of the UK Print market, we’re starting to see the annual capacity squeeze coming early across the UK.

What is the Capacity Squeeze?
For those of you who aren’t aware, UK printing companies go through an annual cycle where there is press space available during most of the first half of the year but from the end of August onwards, we typically see a surge in demand for print creating a lack of available capacity. Which means you may have a problem finding press space for your print project!

The capacity squeeze generally begins with the larger presses, starting with gravure presses. Where press space on gravure presses isn’t available, the next largest presses are targeted, squeezing capacity out of these and having a trickle-down through the press sizes.

However, this year, with the general reduction in capacity in the print market caused by the recession, we’re seeing the capacity squeeze coming a month earlier.

Much of the print that’s placed now is, of course, targeting the Christmas market. Catalogues, brochures, flyers and so on are being printed for distribution to capitalise on the Christmas bonanza. And these are essential marketing communications for all manner of businesses, often making an immense difference to a businesses’ bottom line.

Our Advice
So our advice to print buyers and marketers who don’t want to miss the boat, is to move timelines forward as much as possible and secure your press space as early as you can. If you don’t, you may lose out working with your first choice supplier or miss out altogether.

print delivery bay

Move quickly, or your delivery bay could be empty this Christmas!

Note that to secure a press spot, you don’t necessarily need exact paginations or quantities as these can be firmed up later.

For more information on how we see the market – including an interview with our MD – see this Printweek Update.

The last thing you need is to be hit with a brick wall when you’re trying to find space – so act now.

Webmart works with over 400 UK printers. Our print buying team actively monitor UK capacity and can often place print projects when others are having problems. If you’re having problems now or at any time, please contact us and speak to one of our experienced Print Consultants.

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We’ve looked at how to find a great web offset printer and also produced a 2 minute guide to web offset printing in the past. Both of which we hope you’ve found useful. So when I came across this checklist, I thought it makes a great cross-over between the two processes before we publish some helpful articles on gravure printing. Let me know if you find it useful!

So here it is, a quick look at the key feature, process and benefit differences of Gravure and Web Offset printing:

  • The gravure printing process has the ability to print a smoother image and more consistently on lightweight papers.
  • Web offset printing presses have fixed cylinder cutoffs, whereas gravure presses have a variable cutoff dictated by the cylinder diameter used.
  • Web offset dots are printed as a round dot; gravure ones are hexagonal.
  • Web offset uses a printing plate; gravure a cylinder engraved with cells which carry ink.
  • Web offset is an offset printing process, whereas gravure is intaglio (i.e. the cylinder comes into direct contact with the paper and is not offset).
  • Web offset inks are dried by heat from a gas oven. Gravure inks contain a solvent called Toluene which, as well as being toxic, evaporates, hence drying the ink without heat.
  • Web offset presses can print either long or short grain; gravure prints short grain, due to folder configurations.
  • Web offset printing is suitable for 8pp A4 sections upwards from runs of 50,000 upwards. Normally gravure will print sections from 8pp to 168pp in size and is competitive for runs, usually, from several hundred thousand to millions of copies.
  • Web offset plates will run for around a million impressions; gravure cylinders, which are coated in chrome, can last for over 20 million impressions.
  • The set-up costs of a gravure press are several times that of a Web offset printing press – hence the size of run needed for the process to be competitive.

If you’re unsure which process is right for your print project, please drop your print specification onto our contact us form and our print consultants will be able to advise you, as well as give you the quickest print quote in the business.

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