30 Great Printing Resources (part 2)

30 Great Printing Resources (Part 2)

30 Great Printing Resources (part 2)

Yet More Tips, Tricks & Technical Guides for Getting the Very Best Out of Your Print

Here we continue where we left off in the last post, with the second half of our library of extremely useful print-related resources. These further tips, tricks and technical guides cover things like envelopes, paper sizes, foil blocking, raised print in all its forms, folders, roller banners, variable data printing and why you should use it — and much more. Follow the guides to ensure that you get the very best return on the investment you have made into your printing.

16. Folders

Printed folders come in many shapes and sizes and demonstrate various levels of complexity. Whether used to hold a simple business card or several internal brochures and more, there can often be more to folders than meets the eye. Here’s a handy guide to what’s possible.

17. How to Print Economically

Make the most of your design and printing budget with our handy guide to keeping a lid on printing costs. Here’s how …

18. Roller Banners

Our guide to roller banners – what they are, what they can be used for, sizes, artwork specifications and some examples. Learn more here.

19. Raised Print

If you’d like to add a new dimension to your printing and print something in relief, here’s a handy guide showing how to make your printing stand out.

20. Fonts

Our guide to using fonts in your artwork, including ways to make sure what you design is what you end up printing. Embedding fonts, outlining fonts and more, right here.

21. Printing – Under the Magnifying Glass

Printing under the magnifying glass: our close-up guide to using tints, mixing inks or tints, use of black(s), dot formations and how these differ between litho, digital and large format printing processes. Learn more in this guide.

22. Paper for Printing — A Beginner’s Guide

A beginner’s guide to paper for printing, whether coated, uncoated, recycled, textured or something else. Read our guide here.

23. UK Paper Sizes — A Handy Reference

UK paper sizes – a handy reference. Includes the ISO series of sizes including A sizes (‘A4’ etc.), B, C, D, RA and SRA sizes plus many more. It also includes a few other useful facts that may surprise you. Here’s the guide.

24. Variable Data Printing: for Personalised Print

Variable data and its use in truly personalised printing. Learn all about it here.

25. ‘Print on Demand’ & its Benefits

‘Print on Demand’ – what it is, it’s key benefits, how you can use it to your advantage and where you can get it. Here’s the guide.

26. Everything You’ll Ever Need to Know about Envelopes

Envelopes – our handy guide telling you Read more

Firstpoint Print Victoria branch

Our Victoria Branch – in the Spotlight

Firstpoint Print Victoria branch

In the third and final post of our 3-part series highlighting individual branches, we go to London’s SW1 to take a closer look at the Victoria branch of Firstpoint Print.

Firstpoint Print Victoria, SW1

The Victoria branch of Firstpoint Print is located on the Vauxhall Bridge Road, being the A202, roughly halfway between Victoria Station and Vauxhall Bridge itself. This means that the commercial printer is perfectly situated to serve individuals, businesses and organisations located nearby in such areas as …

  • Battersea
  • Belgravia
  • Brixton
  • Bond Street
  • Charing Cross
  • Chelsea
  • Embankment
  • Green Park
  • Hyde Park Corner

  • Knightsbridge
  • Lambeth
  • Lancaster Gate
  • Leicester Square
  • Marble Arch
  • Mayfair
  • Nine Elms
  • Oval
  • Piccadilly Circus

  • Pimlico
  • St James’s Park
  • Sloane Square
  • Soho
  • South Kensington
  • Vauxhall
  • Victoria
  • Westminster
  • & Southwest London

As with all Firstpoint Print locations, the Victoria branch is also happy to supply printing services less locally including to customers in the Southeast of England and the UK as a whole. With overnight courier services being so fast and reliable these days, and online ordering available on the Victoria website, the branch can be the commercial printer for pretty much anyone, in any location. More about our online services below …

Firstpoint Print Victoria’s Printing Services

The Victoria branch has just about every printing-related service and facility that you could possibly ever need. We have in-house graphic designers who can cater to all your creative design and artwork requirements. We have digital printing presses ready and waiting for your quick turnaround, low-to-medium volume colour printing, duplication work and ‘on-demand’ printing. We have litho printing facilities that are perfect for single colour, spot colour or full colour medium-to-high volume print runs with the ultimate high quality results. We have large format printing machinery standing by for anything that you require in a large size, whether it’s a simple poster or a full-scale exhibition stand, display, pop-up system or roller banner. Read more

London Bridge branch of Firstpoint Print, SE1

Our London Bridge Branch – in the spotlight

London Bridge branch of Firstpoint Print, SE1

In this, the second of our 3-part series of blog posts about individual branches, we focus on our London Bridge branch.

Firstpoint Print London Bridge, SE1

The London Bridge branch of Firstpoint Print is situated just off the A2 and A2198 at 27 Tabard Street, London SE1 4LA so is very close to both Borough and London Bridge stations. The commercial printer is therefore ideally located for businesses and organisations that are looking for a professional printing service in and around the following locations:

  • London Bridge
  • Bankside
  • Borough
  • Bermondsey
  • Elephant & Castle
  • Waterloo
  • Southwark
  • Brixton

  • Camberwell
  • Canada Water
  • Denmark Hill
  • Dulwich
  • Herne Hill
  • Kennington
  • Lambeth
  • Mansion House

  • Monument
  • Newington
  • Oval
  • Peckham
  • Streatham
  • Surrey Quays
  • Vauxhall
  • South London

The branch is also happy to supply printing to the South East generally, and Nationwide, via overnight couriers. In fact, Firstpoint Print London Bridge is accessible as a printer to anyone, anywhere, because artwork can be uploaded to their online system from anywhere with an internet connection. The same is true if you need to upload a brief to get a printing quotation. So, wherever you are, Firstpoint Print London Bridge has your printing needs totally covered and quotations are usually with clients in no more than 24 hours from initial enquiry.

What printing-related services are available?

Firstpoint Print London Bridge can supply printed sales and marketing collateral from concept to production as they have all the necessary services available in-house. These include:

  • A design and artwork service using our talented, qualified, in-house creative team that can make your job look a million dollars and stand out from the crowd. (We also accept client-generated design and artwork, of course).
  • Litho printing which is simply the best quality money can buy. Lithographic printing is suited to spot colour jobs, full colour (CMYK) jobs, larger volume print runs and anything that simply needs to look its absolute best. With regard to size, the London Bridge branch handles anything up to B1 in size (707mm x 1000mm).
  • Digital printing which is fast, inexpensive and convenient, particularly for low-to-medium printing quantities and those jobs that do not exceed SRA3 in size.
  • Our digital printing service also doubles as a copying, scanning and duplication service.
  • Large format printing which is a service suited to the production of larger printed graphics such as posters, in-store and point-of-sale displays, banners (including roller banners), exhibition panels, pop-up systems and signage.
  • A full print management service which does what it says on the tin, i.e. we organise and supply all of your printing for you so that you always have enough in stock, but not so much that you have boxes and boxes everywhere, taking up valuable office space. The printing management service allows you to get on with other tasks while we take care of what we do best, i.e. design, artwork and printing.

Read more

Printing terms & jargon - explained

Printing Terms & Jargon – Explained

Printing terms & jargon - explained

It’s sometimes easy for printers to forget that not everyone will understand some of the common terms and jargon that is spoken within the industry. For example, printers may refer to ‘process printing’, ‘CMYK’, ‘bleed’ or even ‘trapping’. But what do each of these actually mean? Here we explain …

Above the fold
This refers to the part of a document which you first see, for instance the top half of a document or, for websites, the part of a web page which you see without having to scroll down vertically.

Accordion fold
A way of folding a document or brochure so that it concertinas open/closed.

.ai file
An Adobe Illustrator file type (usually used for vector graphics like logos, charts or illustrations).

Ampersand
The letter &, meaning ‘and’.

Art paper
This is a type of paper, commonly used in commercial printing, which has a coating of a clay-based compound, to give it a very smooth surface on which the printer’s ink will sit without absorption. This usually results in the best type of printed result (e.g. saturated colours and good contrast).

Artwork
The type of professional digital file supplied to commercial printers, from which to print (if digital printing) or make plates (if litho printing). Click here for a guide to supplying artwork.

Binding
The fastening together of pages (e.g. of a book, manual or brochure). Examples include perfect binding, wiro binding, saddle stitch binding, hard binding and soft binding.

Bleed
An extra extension of images or graphics beyond the edge of a printed page or sheet (usually 3mm in width). This makes sure that, once trimmed, any images or graphic which extend to the edge of the sheet do not have an unwanted white margin.

Blind Emboss
An unprinted image, formed in relief, using a metal ‘die’ which is forced against the paper or card under pressure. Read more

Spot colour printing

Printing With Spot Colours

Spot colour printing

Spot colour printing refers to the use of inks which are physically mixed to the right colour in liquid form, before being used on the printing press. So, for example, the spot colour ‘Pantone 328C’ can be printed in a single pass of the printing press, using a single printing plate. This is in contrast to printing a similar colour, although not as accurately, by overlapping the tiny dots of the four ‘process’ colours of Cyan (‘C’), Magenta (‘M’), Yellow (‘Y’) and Black (‘K’), otherwise known as “CMYK” and “four colour process” printing. That, of course, necessitates 4 passes of the press, using four printing plates instead of just one. More information about ‘process’ printing can be found in our previous blog post but, for this article, we will concentrate on only spot colour, its uses and benefits.

So why use spot colour?

In essence, using spot colours will generally give you the very best match possible to the exact colour you have in mind. While ‘process’ (CMYK) colours can get a pretty decent match, spot colours can get an exact match. Spot colours are also the only way to print colours such as metallic inks, some pastels, super-saturated and particularly bright colours like fluorescents and even some colours that you might think were fairly standard, for example some blues, which can be troublesome using CMYK. Spot colours compared to CMYK 'process' printingAlso it’s worth bearing in mind that if you are printing a 2 colour job, you can literally print it using 2 spot colour inks (with 2 plates and 2 passes of the press) whereas with ‘process’ printing you’d need 4 of each. (This matters less with Firstpoint Print’s digital printing process, because it is a plateless process, but it potentially makes a significant difference to pricing and colour accuracy on their litho printing presses).

To illustrate the difference in colour accuracy using ‘spot’ vs. ‘process’ printing, here are a few examples showing a representation of the same Pantone colours using both colour models (N.B. slightly exaggerated for illustrative purposes). On the left is the ‘spot’ colour version where the ink is pre-mixed before going onto the printing press. On the right is the same Pantone colour generated using the ‘four colour process’ (CMYK) model. You can see that there is quite a difference for the particular Pantone colours we’ve selected, with the spot colours being more saturated and bright, while the CMYK equivalents tending to be a little less so.

We should point out that the difference is less pronounced for many other colours in the Pantone range. Read more

Specialist print finishes

Special Printing Options & Finishes:

Specialist print finishes

If you want to give your printed pieces that little something special then you could consider some of our optional extras. These are specialist printing or finishing processes which will ‘lift’ your printing and design in one way or another, make it stand out, and give it a feel of real quality. Here are some of the options we can supply at Firstpoint Print, London:

Spot colour

Spot colour can be used when an exact colour match or hue is essential and when it can’t be replicated from standard ‘full colour process’ (CMYK) printing. With spot colour the ink is actually mixed to the right colour before going onto the printing press and, by doing this, you can print colours which simply cannot be replicated using traditional full colour or digital printing. Colours can be more bright and saturated and, indeed, you can even print fluorescent colours when printing with spot colours. Spot colour printing also allows you to print a huge range of metallic inks which, again, is simply not possible using traditional CMYK or digital printing. It should be noted, however, that for every single spot colour being printed, a new printing plate will be required so unless the job only uses two or three spot colours, it can work out quite a bit more expensive than full colour process (CMYK) or digital printing. It is also only possible using the litho process.

Foil blocking

Foil blocking is printing which looks like metal, and indeed it consists of imprinting a very thin layer of metallic foil onto the surface of the paper or card. In its shiny form it has a mirror-like surface which is way more shiny and reflective than the spot colour metallic printing mentioned above. It is also, however, available with a matt or satin finish. A limited range of standard foil colours is also available and, of course, this includes various golds, silvers, coppers and a gunmetal finish, along with a limited pallete of greens, blues, reds, lilacs and pinks etc. Holographic foil is also available and this resembles some of the foiled details you often see on bank notes. Foil blocking is usually confined to a few elements, for example a logo or titles. The smaller the total area to be foiled, the cheaper it’ll be to print.

Embossing/debossing

Embossing and debossing is traditionally produced using metal dies (similar to how foil blocking is done, in fact). The result will be that the surface of the paper or board is either imprinted inwards (debossed) or raised outwards towards the viewer (embossed). So the printed piece is given a third dimension. It is important to remember that the reverse side of the sheet will also be affected so care should be taken with the design as a whole. Embossing and debossing can be combined with other printing techniques such as litho printing and/or foil blocking so, for instance, a logo could be both printed in colour (and/or foil) and be embossed (and/or partially debossed). The very finest stationery often uses this approach, for example where a coat of arms or emblem is both printed and embossed, giving the resultant stationery a very luxurious quality and feel. Also see UV embossing in the relevant section below.

Lamination

Laminating your printed covers or folders etc. can Read more

Printing under the magnifying glass

Printing – Under the Magnifying Glass

Printing under the magnifying glass

Have you ever wondered how standard printing manages to replicate so many colours from so few actual inks? With just 4 inks at play (cyan, magenta, yellow and black), it’s staggering when you think about it –  a whole rainbow and more can be rendered while, at the same time, the palest of pale hues are possible despite the original 4 individual inks used in the machine being, on their own, quite punchy and saturated.

Tints

The secret is the use of tiny spaced out dots, called ‘tints’. So, for example, the ‘sky blue’ ink called cyan can be printed as anything from a grid of tiny spaced dots to a full solid. The solid will obviously still look like sky blue but the smallest spaced dots at the other end of the scale will end up looking, to the naked eye, like a very pale blue. The printing trade grades these tints as percentages (i.e. a percentage of how ‘solid’ they are) where 100% is solid cyan and 1% is the palest of pale tints.

Tints of process cyan

Mixes

This process is taken a stage further by overlapping the tints or solids of each of the 4 ‘process’ colours as they’re also known. So a solid magenta (rich pink) overlapping a solid process yellow will result in a primary red being visible to the onlooker. 50% tints of each of those will result in a mid pink, 10% tints of each resulting in a very pale pink and so on. Similarly process yellow overlapped with process cyan will result in various shades of green, depending on the tint value used. It is this type of overlapping of tints, mixed to a much more complex level, which allows the 4 colours to mimic full colour photographs like you see in magazines and in printed brochures.

Photo close-up showing printed dot formation

Black is just black – isn’t it?

Black is just black right? Well, yes and no. Read more

Digital vs Litho printing

Digital Printing vs. Litho (infographic)

Digital vs Litho printing

Here at Firstpoint Print in London, we supply both digital and lithographic (‘litho’) printing. But which is right for your particular printing project? Well, it all depends on a few factors, including how urgently you need the finished result, what the specification and budget are, and whether or not you need absolute optimum quality, or perhaps something very close will be sufficient.

The Price & Speed Tipping Points

When it comes to both speed and cost, there is a tipping point between digital and litho printing, which makes the decision as to which to use fairly easy, as the following graph illustrates.

Litho vs Digital printing - infographic

The Benefits of Digital Printing

So you can see that digital printing is more suited to print jobs which require a fast turnaround and/or when the desired print quantity is low to medium. Digital (a.k.a. ‘Digi’) printing requires no printing plates, so your artwork files are output direct to the printer via computer, and it is this factor which saves time and costs for low-to-medium print quantities.

Another useful benefit of Digi printing is that it allows ‘on demand’, economical, printing even if you only require one or just a handful of print-outs — that would simply be cost-prohibitive using litho and also means that just the right quantity of printing can be ordered without the need for storing extra marketing collateral unnecessarily.

Related to this is another major benefit of digital i.e. the possibility of printing variable data. So, in other words, if you want to personalise every individual print-out to a different end-user, then that suits digital printing perfectly (we can supply guidelines regarding artwork set-up for use with variable data, on request).

In-house digital printing is also very useful as it allows us to supply one-off printer’s proofs to clients who want to physically check how things look, accurately, before committing to a full print run.

The Benefits of Litho Printing

You can also see Read more