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Printed newsletters - the great communicator

Newsletters – the Great Communicator

Printed newsletters - the great communicator

Printed newsletters are a great way to keep both clients and employees up to date with news about your products, services and organisation as a whole. While electronic newsletters like PDFs and e-newsletters try their hardest, they’re too easy to skip past and potentially overlook completely. In contrast, physical, printed newsletters can grab the eye and engage your audience right from the word go and they are far more natural and enjoyable to browse through anyway, with no zooming required. When their content is designed well and your headlines are well crafted, printed newsletters have definite read me appeal; they catch attention and virtually invite people to pick them up, take a look and flick through. Subsequently, they can also be passed around and shared. For businesses, they can be left in strategic locations such as coffee tables, waiting rooms and receptions as well as being distributed through direct mail for a far ‘softer’ sell than flyers, adverts and suchlike.

“Printed newsletters are a great way to keep both clients and employees up to date with news about your products, services and organisation as a whole”

Tips & Tricks for Successful Newsletters

  • Design them professionally (our graphic designers are available to you if needed).
  • Write your copy (text) carefully and methodically, then spell check, grammar check and check again. Ask a colleague or two to also proof read them before they go to print. You only have one chance for a good first impression and mistakes will look unprofessional.
  • Feature one particularly prominent article or news piece on the front cover and use a high quality image to make it even more appealing to read. You need to grab your audience’s attention!
  • Design and printing of newsletters - tipsEngage your readers with a wide array of news items, so there’s something of interest to everyone.
  • Try not to be too ‘salesy’ with regard to new products or services being featured. Sometimes a case study or guest review can be more convincing and will avoid people being switched off by a ‘hard sell’.
  • Try to include items that are not only ‘news’ but are also useful to your target audience. Carefully researched articles, case studies and unique market insight, for example, mean that your newsletter is far more likely to be kept by your audience (thereby representing a longer term reminder of your services or products).
  • A contents listing on the cover, perhaps in a side margin, is a useful way to help readers get straight to the articles that most interest them and to see what’s on offer at a glance.
  • Encourage other readers to sign up to your newsletter list by including a simple means of doing so (perhaps in the corner of the cover using a contact email address or mini form — or a link to an online sign-up).
  • Include one or more ‘fun’ items in every newsletter issue, for example a competition. Prizes are good but make sure they’re genuine and fair and that details are published for any winners in the next issue; after all, news of winners is great PR.
  • Don’t forget CTAs (calls to action) and ways that readers can, of course, contact you easily for more information.

Printing options

Printed newsletters can have Read more

Your Marketing Calendar for 2017

Your marketing calendar for 2017

Your calendar can be an amazing source of marketing opportunities. Keeping your eye on key dates throughout the year will help you to keep up with the larger companies and organisations that use carefully timed marketing communications as a matter of course. So, just thirty or so minutes spent with your calendar, or 10 reading this post, can help you to hit the ground running and kick-start a carefully orchestrated marketing strategy for the year. A couple of examples will demonstrate some of the many opportunities that you’ll discover through such an exercise then, below those, we include suggestions for a full marketing calendar for the year as a whole. If you find this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it!

Valentine’s Day Promotions

At time of writing it’s mid January so, right now, you could be gearing up for a Valentine’s Day promotion in just under a month’s time. For example, come February 14th, I for one would open what I perceive to be a Valentine’s Day card if it arrived through my post box on that day. I’d open it for sure whereas I would ignore most other ‘non-themed’ junk mail, of the nature that arrives every day. Think of your corporate Valentine’s card — and most of the other ideas below — like they are a Trojan Horse; you are grabbing attention for your marketing or sales message under the guise of something people actually want to open and read! It’s a sneaky, but ingenious marketing approach.

Easter Promotions

During February, you could be thinking about an Easter promotion timed for March, helped along with images of eggs, Easter bunnies and little yellow chicks! Consider, perhaps, use of those popular little puns in your marketing headlines (for example, “We’re Egg-cited to Announce …” and so on). In case you were wondering, Good Friday falls on 14 April this year, with Easter Sunday on 16 April and Easter Monday on the 17th.

Those are just two of the many, many timely marketing opportunities that present themselves to you every year, if you think ahead and plan for them.

An At-a-glance Marketing Calendar for the Year as a Whole:

  • 1 January: consider a New Year’s Day or general New Year promotion come January 1st.
  • January itself is the start of the traditional sale season and is a great marketing opportunity (see our last post).
  • 25 January 2017:  consider a Burns Night promotion for your Scottish clients and prospects.
  • 28 January 2017: consider a Chinese New Year promotion (2017 is going to be ‘Year of the Fire Rooster’).
  • 14 February 2017: make the most of a Valentine’s Day promotion.
  • 28 February 2017: possibly launch a Shrove Tuesday promotion, particularly if your niche involves food.
  • 17 March 2017: St Patrick’s Day could be a promotion opportunity for any Irish clients.
  • 26 March 2017: consider a Mother’s Day promotion.
  • 1 April: an April Fools’ Day promotion could be fun!
  • 14 April to 17 April 2017: make the most of Easter for another promotion.
  • 22 April: an Earth Day promotion could be useful for ‘green’ promotions.
  • 23 April: a St George’s Day promotion perhaps.
  • 1 May and 29 May 2017: consider a couple of ‘Bank Holiday’ promotions – perhaps a sale.
  • 18 June 2017: Father’s Day presents itself for possible promotions.
  • 7 and 28 August 2017: some August Bank Holiday promotions perhaps – again, maybe a bank holiday sale.
  • 31 October: it’s Halloween so theme your promotion accordingly.
  • 5 November: a Guy Fawkes Night promotion could help your marketing go off with a bang!
  • 23 November 2017: Thanksgiving promotions for your American client base perhaps.
  • 24 November 2017: Black Friday and …
  • 27 November 2017: Cyber Monday promotions can really make the most of people’s shopping sprees in the run-up to Christmas, particularly while they’re in spending mode.
  • 25-26 December: plan a Christmas and/or Boxing Day promotion to grab those last minute sales.
  • 31 December: a Hogmanay promotion for your Scottish audience perhaps.

Promotions Around a Key Moment in Time

The list could go on, including marketing activity timed to Read more

Printing for restaurants, cafés & pubs

Printing for Cafés, Pubs & Restaurants in London

Printing for cafés, restaurants and pubs

Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat and drink. It’s fair to say that just about every possible taste is covered. From fast food to fine dining, London has cafés, pizzerias, burger bars, coffee houses, pubs, Italian restaurants, Greek, Indian, Chinese, Turkish, French and – well, food and drink from probably every culture and continent you can think of. This post is for anyone running such an establishment.

You’re going to need some printing, not least some printed menus for your customers. You may require ‘table talkers’ or other marketing collateral for your tables. You might need posters to showcase special offers. Perhaps you run a loyalty scheme for customers and need some loyalty cards to hand out and to get those customers coming back for more. Or maybe you need gift vouchers or money-off vouchers, marketing leaflets to hand out in the locality or eye-catching banners, posters and signs. Last but not least, each of your waiting staff will need a multi-copy order pad to take those orders.

Printing & Design

The good news is that Firstpoint Print can supply not only printing and production of all of these items, but also top-notch graphics and design should you need them. We can design something in keeping with an existing brand or style, or something completely new. Either way, we’ll make it look enticing and attractive for you and your customers.

Printed Menus

Your menus are an incredibly important item, so it’s important to get them right. We can supply them in many different ways. Whether you require printed sheets to slide into a traditional style menu book with internal plastic sleeves, free-standing matt laminated folded menus, gloss encapsulated menus that will be a breeze to wipe clean — or some other approach, we can print and produce them for you. With digital printing in-house at every branch, low volume printing of this nature is both economical and fast.

Restaurant table talkerPrinted Table-Talkers

When you have a special offer or perhaps a new item on the menu, table-talkers are a great way to draw attention to them and get those orders rolling in. Typically 2, 3 or 4-sided, these cardboard messengers sit there right on the customer table, in full view to everyone on the table, for maximum attention. They’re quick and easy to produce and are relatively inexpensive.

Multi-Part NCR Order Pads

We can print your waiting staff’s order pads as ‘NCR’ (No Carbon Required) sets which allow you to have multiple copies of each order taken at the tables (one copy for the kitchen, one for the waiter or waitress and so on).

Printed Posters and Signs

Displaying printed wall posters and hanging signs in your establishment is another great way to draw attention to your special offer, new menu, seasonal events and marketing messages. They work tirelessly to Read more

Top 10 tips for tip-top printing

Top 10 Tips for Tip-Top Printing

Top 10 tips for tip-top printing

Following publication of our design tips in the last post, it made sense to put together our top tips for successful printing too. After all, what use is great design and communication if the printing lets it down.

Although the ultimate process of putting ink onto paper is down to the skills of your chosen printer, there are a whole host of things you can do, before handover, to give your job the very best chance of looking great once printed.

1. First, read our ‘Top 10 Tips for Great Design’ post

… from earlier this month.

Why? It’s jam-packed full of tips to make the content, message and look of your piece absolutely as good as it can be. Here’s the link.

2. Use the right software

Why? Because professional printing works best with professional design and artwork software. Some of the higher end settings and functions are simply not available with ‘desk-top publishing’ software, while ‘Office’ applications like Word for Windows are simply not designed for use with high-end printing. If in doubt, use the services of a professional graphic designer — or indeed a printer who has them in-house, like Firstpoint Print.

3. Check your images are saved correctly

Resolution needs to be at least 300dpi (dots per inch, which is effectively the same thing as pixels per inch or ppi).

Related: If images include ‘rasterised’ text (text saved as an image rather than as editable text), also make sure that the resolution is 300dpi or more, at the final size.

Why? This will ensure that the images and rasterised text are sharp and legible. Anything less than 300dpi will make them look soft, fuzzy or, even worse, pixels will show on the final printing. Better still for text, use ‘real’ text or ‘vectorised’ text instead of rasterised text — see below …

4. Check your font settings

Before handing over artwork files, make sure any ‘live’ fonts are either 100% embedded or converted to vectors (‘outlined’ as it’s known in professional artwork packages like Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator).

Why? Failure to do so may result in unintended font substitutions or even missing or unexpected characters appearing in the final printing.

5. Check your image modes

Coloured images like photographs need to be in CMYK mode, not RGB or Indexed Colour.

Why? Leaving them in RGB may result in Read more

Your one-stop print shop

Your One-Stop Print Shop

Your one-stop print shop

Sometimes as a businesses, organisation or individual, you need something simple printed, like a business card. Another time you might need some brochures or flyers produced. A month or two later you might need a roller banner or some display panels printed for an exhibition. Or a newsletter or catalogue professionally designed and produced. But who do you go to for all of these different types of printing and the associated design and artwork for each – a different supplier each time?

The good news is that Firstpoint Print can do it all! And they can do it all in-house. So prices are kept extremely competitive and both speed and quality control are optimised.

We are, quite simply, a one-stop print shop and can pretty much produce any printed article that you can to think of, all in-house. And, as a group of several London branches all operating under the same Firstpoint Print umbrella, we have even more resources to pull in, should we need them. So customers receive a very economical and flexible print and design solution.

We are graphic designers

If you need the help of graphic designers to make your printed sales and marketing collateral look a million dollars, we have a team ready and waiting. They’re experienced, qualified and expert in preparing design and artwork ready for printing, so that your sales or marketing message is delivered in the very best possible way.

If you have your own design and artwork capability, that’s no problem either. We can accept your artwork or finalise it for you if it simply needs a final check-over.

We are digital printers

We have state-of-the-art digital printing facilities in-house, ready to turn around your printed items in no time at all, to an excellent standard of quality. Digital printing is available in black and white or full colour (“CMYK”). Our digital printing service is ideally suited to fast turnaround, low-to-medium quantities. But, if you need larger volumes, that’s not a problem; read on …

We are litho printers

The Firstpoint Print Group also has lithographic (‘litho’) printing, in-house. This represents the ultimate in print quality and is suited to higher volume printing, where the economies of scale can really bring down unit costs, as well as being suited to ‘spot colour’ printing for when Pantone-accurate spot colour work is essential (spot colour can, for example, allow the printing of metallic colours and more saturated or even fluorescent inks, which are simply not possible with digital printing).

We are large format printers

Each of the Firstpoint Print London branches also has in-house large format printing facilities. These are perfect for when you need something way bigger than a brochure or some stationery. Our large format printing service can produce anything from posters to roller banners and even large-scale exhibition displays, stand backdrops and pop-up exhibition systems.

We offer a full print management service

Taking things a stage further, we even offer a full print management service. So if you don’t have the time or inclination to organise your design and print, we can take it all on for you. Read more

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

Firstpoint print clerkenwell EC1 branch

Our Clerkenwell Branch – in the Spotlight

Firstpoint print clerkenwell EC1 branch

Beginning this month we thought we’d put the spotlight on each of the individual branches of Firstpoint Print. First, we’ll take a look at our Clerkenwell branch.

Firstpoint Print Clerkenwell, EC1

Our Clerkenwell branch is based in St. John’s Lane, in London’s EC1 region. This is conveniently situated just a few minutes’ walk from both Farringdon and Barbican stations. As such, this professional printer is within very close reach of local businesses and organisations in any of the following areas:

  • Angel
  • Bank
  • Barbican
  • Blackfriars
  • Clerkenwell
  • Covent Garden
  • Euston
  • Farringdon

  • Finsbury
  • Fitzrovia
  • Holborn
  • King’s Cross
  • Leicester Square
  • Mansion House
  • Monument
  • Moorgate

  • Old Street
  • Pentonville
  • Russell Square
  • St Pancras
  • Shoreditch
  • Temple
  • The City
  • Whitechapel

So, if you require printing and design work and are in one of those locations, our Firstpoint Print Clerkenwell branch will be a very convenient choice.

For those further away, the Clerkenwell branch also has online facilities which allow artwork files, briefs and quotation requests to be uploaded easily and quickly. Moreover, the EC1 facilities include an entirely online web-to-print facility which allows customers to prepare, save and edit their own design and artwork then simply click a button to send it to print. Firstpoint Print Clerkenwell then takes care of the rest and customers will have a quotation, proof or finished job with them in no time at all.

What can Firstpoint Print Clerkenwell supply?

Like all the Firstpoint Print branches, the Clerkenwell branch has an in-house creative and technical team so can produce graphic design and artwork should customers not be supplying their own. Once we have artwork we can supply a digitally printed proof for approval and sign-off prior to committing to a full print run. We can then produce the final printing whether it’s to be lithographically printeddigitally printed or printed on our large format printing presses. Like other branches, Clerkenwell also offers a full print management service as well as its innovative web-to-print service that we described above. With all these services available in-house, customers of Firstpoint Print Clerkenwell benefit from the very best mix of high quality, unbeatable speed and extremely competitive pricing. 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