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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

Printed wall graphics, photos, illustrations, pictures and wallpaper

Printed Wall Graphics

Printed wall graphics, photos, illustrations, pictures and wallpaper

Firstpoint Print offers a wide variety of options when it comes to wall graphics. Whether you simply need large photographs and illustrations printed off for display in your lounge, offices, receptions and corridors, or full commercial graphics including a sales or marketing message, large format wall graphics are eye-catching and highly effective, yet affordable. And, because we can print anything you want, each wall graphic can be totally bespoke to you.

Photographs and Illustrations

Stretched canvas printsPerhaps you have a family photo you’d like printed out on canvas and stretched over a wooden frame to form a modern wall display. Or maybe you’ve taken a shine to a commercial photograph or illustration that you’ve found in a high resolution online photo library (some can be amazing quality, yet very inexpensive). Either way, Firstpoint print are able to print it out, on a choice of different substrates, including different textures, ready to be mounted flat, stretched like a canvas picture or framed in a more traditional way. It’s a quick, easy and economical way to jazz up an otherwise nondescript expanse of wall, and can totally transform a room.

Commercial Communications & Signage

From time to time, companies, venues and organisations may require large advertisements and sales messages for display on office or outlet walls. We can design and print posters, framed graphics, mounted graphics, information graphics and any large graphics you can think of. Perhaps you run a café or restaurant and need a poster/advert to catch the eye of your customers when they sit down to eat or drink — a special offer perhaps. Or maybe you run an activity centre of some kind and need some informational content displayed (for example, Health & Safety instructions). Or perhaps you have a retail outlet and need a store guide or store signage printed out, mounted to a rigid backing and attached to the wall, so your customers know where to find particular items. It’s all possible with a simple print-out using our large format printers.

Wall Paper, Murals & Backdrops

Wall-Graphics-wallpaperIt’s even possible for us to print out huge images in sections, for example as floor-to-ceiling strips, which can be adhered onto a wall in the same way as wallpaper. So, an entire expanse of wall can thereby be turned into an enormous graphic, advert, mural or photographic scene. This is a useful and extremely effective way to totally transform a room and ‘trick the eye’ (the meaning behind the term ‘trompe l’oeil’), or even for use as a backdrop in a commercial shoot or movie scene. 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

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

What we can print

We print almost anything!

What we can print

We’re often asked if we print particular items, for example, “Do you print NCR sets?” … “Can you overprint envelopes” … “Do you do packaging” and so on. Well, the good news is that our answer is nearly always “Yes!” We can print any kind of stationery item, virtually any item of sales and marketing collateral and almost any type of large format graphics. However, it goes way beyond those simple categories — take a look:

Stationery

We regularly print:

  • Business & personal stationery
  • Letterheads
  • Continuation sheets
  • Compliments slips
  • Business cards
  • Corporate envelopes

Sales & Marketing Collateral

The following are no problem at all:

  • Brochures & booklets
  • Catalogues
  • Manuals
  • Flyers & leaflets
  • Newsletters
  • Folders
  • Annual reports
  • Labels and stickers
  • Variable data mail shots
  • Direct mailers
  • Pop-ups & cardboard engineering
  • Overprinted envelopes
  • Programmes
  • Postcards
  • Name tags
  • Point-of-sale signs
  • Point-of-sale flyers
  • Corporate manuals
  • NCR sets
  • Forms

Packaging

If it’s printed digitally or via litho printing, then packaging is also no problem here at Firstpoint Print. For example:

  • Cartons
  • Pillow packs
  • Sleeves
  • Header cards
  • Hanging packs
  • Labels
  • Swing tags
  • CD and DVD inserts and covers
  • Printed dust jackets for books;
  • Sample packs and swatch packs etc.

Large format printing

Need something printed large? No problem — we can produce all this and more: Read more

Vintage print room

Historical Printers & Printing, in Pictures (pt. 1)

Vintage print room

In an unusual departure from our usual ’21st Century’ blog posts, we go back in time and take a pictorial look back at historical printing works and all the weird and wonderful pieces of machinery they used ‘way back when’. Many of the illustrations are woodcuts or engravings and depict workshops, people, tools, printing presses and outfits of the time— many from hundreds of years ago. There is even a steam-driven banknote printer and a multi-level 6-cylinder press which we find mind-boggling! We think the images are fascinating.

Here are the first ten illustrations – next month we’ll follow up with another ten so come back soon. Enjoy!

Vintage-printing-20

Fig 1 (above): Printers operating the press on the left and inking the type on the right.*

Vintage-printing-09

Fig 2 (above): A printer’s workshop (date unknown).*

Read more

Print management services

Top 10 Reasons To Use A Print Management Service

Print management services

So — what is print management?

Well, basically Print Management means that the organisation, ordering and delivery of your entire printing requirements are taken on by one supplier, who manages the whole process for you. So whether you have a small, occasional requirements for simple stationery items or require a huge array of sales and marketing collateral on a regular basis, it’s all handled for you seamlessly. Print management is, however, of particular benefit to the latter category, for example companies or organisations who need a whole suite of printed literature like brochures, stationery, mailers, leaflets, flyers, forms, catalogues, manuals and so on. Here we’ll take a look at those benefits.

Benefits of having your printing managed:

 

1). It’s convenient

Sourcing your printing from just one supplier makes life easy! With all your printing needs managed for you, every item of sales, marketing or training collateral is ready and supplied ‘on tap’ as and whenever required. When handled well, there is no reason why you will ever need to run out of a particular printed piece ever again. Using a centrally managed print service means you also never have to wonder who printed what and who has the artwork files — they’ll always be in one place.

2). It saves space

With our print management service there is no need for you to take delivery of thousands upon thousands of printed pieces, until the moment you need them. You can order in smaller batches on an ad hoc basis or get us to set up a regular drip-fed supply, as preferred.

3). It frees up your time

Think of the time you’ll save leaving all the work, worry, organisation, inventory and supply to us. That’s time you can spend doing something else!

4). It saves you money

Because we can potentially manage all your printed matter, we can identify areas where savings are ripe for the picking. We can spot instances where a small technical or size change can save you money or even print more than one job at the same time (so there are less printing plates to pay for) without necessarily needing to take delivery of them all together. So you get the cost savings, without needing to find a home for the stock — until the moment you need it of course!

5). It helps cash-flow

Read more

Corporate Identity

The Benefits of a Great Corporate Identity

Corporate Identity

A professionally designed, up-to-date corporate identity is incredibly important to any business or organisation as it passes on both instant and long-term benefits:

  • It creates a great first impression (this is priceless);
  • It leaves the prospect or customer with a good, lasting impression;
  • It conveys the feel of your company or organisation in an instant;
  • In some instances it can visually impart something about your organisation’s values;
  • When used consistently it creates that all-important brand recognition which again is priceless and feeds directly to your bottom line;
  • More than anything it makes your company or organisation look professional and capable, sorting ‘the men from the boys’ in just a fraction of a second.

The make-up of a corporate identity

A corporate identity (or ‘ID’ for short) represents the ‘image’ of a company or organisation and usually has three essential ingredients:

  • The logo or ‘name style’ (a name style is the equivalent of a logo but consists only of styled words or letters rather than including an actual symbol);
  • The supporting corporate colours, fonts and graphical styles which complement, and work in tandem with, the logo or name style.
  • A set of style guidelines governing the usage and presentation of all of the above.

Which brings us to …

The Corporate (or Visual Identity) Manual

It is essential for any decent corporate identity to have rules in place governing how that identity should be applied and presented to the world. This is so that it remains consistent at all times thereby helping brand recognition to grow into the future. Usually such guidelines take the form of a ‘Corporate Manual’ or ‘Visual Identity Manual’ in which detailed brand guidelines specify the correct and incorrect use of the logo, brand, trademark or symbol, any ‘strapline’ (e.g. Nike – just do it … McDonald’s – I’m lovin’ it etc.) the correct corporate fonts to use, the approved colour palette, graphical styles, proportions and even the recommended layout of corporate literature, signs, large format display and any other marketing collateral. So even if the organisation is a global one, personnel and sub-contractors anywhere will be able to consult the manual and know exactly how the brand identity should be presented.

The guidelines can even go a step further to cover corporate ‘values’ and a corporate ‘Mission Statement’. They are also a useful place to let people know whether the company or organisation is a ‘singular’ or ‘plural’ entity. For example, when writing a corporate brochure, should staff write ‘The National Trust is a charity‘ or ‘The National Trust are a charity‘? (For those who are interested, in that example, the former is correct). A good corporate manual will include such detail resulting in a very consistent presentation of the organisation’s identity to the world.

With a high quality and consistently presented corporate identity, your organisation’s success, reputation and bottom line will directly benefit.

Does your organisation have an identity crisis?

Whether you’re starting afresh or need to revamp an existing logo, brand or full corporate identity, Read more

Printing & graphic design services, London

Our printing & design services; a reminder

Printing & graphic design services, London

In this blog post we thought we’d go back to basics with a reminder of the printing and design services on offer at all the Firstpoint Print branches across London. Learn more about how we can help customers with design and print for sales and marketing collateral, display or exhibition graphics …

We’re printers with 3 branches in London

We’re a London printing company with branches in London Bridge (SE1), Victoria (SW1) and Clerkenwell (EC1). So, wherever you are in London or the South East, we have a branch just a stone’s throw away. We’re friendly, helpful and, more importantly, highly professional with an eye for detail.  We print on time, on budget and our printing quality is exceptional — customer satisfaction is of utmost importance to us, after all we want customers to become repeat customers. We own all our own equipment and produce 99.99% of work in-house so our prices are also highly competitive. We like to think of ourselves as a breath of fresh air — but don’t take our word for it; read some of our lovely customer testimonials here.

What types of printing do we offer?

We offer three main types of printing:

  • Litho printing for higher print quantities, ‘spot’ colour work and the highest possible quality;
  • Digital printing for use with low to medium printing quantities and/or when speed is of the essence. It is also ideal when variable data is required (e.g. for a personalised mailing piece), or for ‘print on demand‘ services.

So what can we print?

We can print anything from a business card to a full-sized exhibition or display graphics — and anything in between. Just a few examples are:

  • Labels & stickers
  • Corporate & personal stationery including
    – Business cards
    – Letterheads & continuation sheets
    – Compliment slips
  • Envelopes
  • Forms & NCR sets
  • Leaflets & flyers
  • Post cards
  • Mail shots (including variable data)
  • Newsletters & programmes
  • Brochures & booklets
  • Annual reports
  • Folders
  • Catalogues & manuals
  • Posters
  • Display graphics
  • Point of sale graphics
  • Exhibition graphics including
    – Simple display panels
    – Roller banners
    – Full exhibition displays
    – Pop-up exhibition systems
  • Banners with integral eyelets
  • … and pretty much anything you can think of which features graphics!

Read more

Large format printing for exhibition & display

For maximum impact, think BIG!

Large format printing for exhibition & display

When it comes to print, sometimes size really matters. For example when you have something particularly important to shout about or when an A4, A3 or even A2 print-out simply won’t do. So, what are the options? Here we take a look.

One-off displays

In your store or office you may have lots of space or a large wall area to play with so why not make a big splash using large format printing. Think it’s going to be too expensive? Think again. These days, having the right equipment, as we do at Firstpoint Print, means that you can have one-off displays which are inexpensive yet hugely effective for use at large scales. Despite the size of the printed output, the displays even bear close scrutiny because, when the artwork has been prepared properly, the output is sharp, crisp and rich in both colour and detail. It is also printed in UV-resistant ink so will stand the test of time.

Large format displaysOur large format printing can be used for simple posters, framed graphics, large wall canvasses, free-standing floor displays, suspended signs, point-of-sale information, eye-catching sales messages, special offers or simply high quality graphics, illustrations, photos or designs which will make your office or shop look a million dollars.

Roller banners

Roller bannerOur roller banner systems are perfect when you need to quickly set up a display anywhere, even with limited space and time. Whether it’s for use in an office presentation, a shopping mall or for use at a local trade event, our roller banners take literally seconds to erect (and later collapse) using a neat, integral cartridge system.Roller banner cartridge When collapsed they take up very little space so are easy to store, stack and transport and even come with their own carrying case. Once assembled, our most commonly used roller banner measures just over 2m high by 800mm wide so will form an eye-catching and significant focal point in any situation. Other sizes are, of course, available.
Check out our roller banner artwork guidelines  or download our template guide here (PDF). Alternatively simply give us a call to discuss the options.

Pop-up exhibition display systems

Pop-up exhibition display systemsIf you are exhibiting at a trade show or exhibition, a roller banner may not be large enough as you may have a significant number of square metres to fill with graphics. A simple and re-useable solution is to use one of our large format pop-up exhibition stands. Like the roller banners, they are quick to assemble, and later collapse, and self-store in compact, wheeled cases which are supplied with your order. Many of these even double for use as a counter, with front graphics included. The best thing about pop-up exhibition displays is that they are re-useable so they have a longer shelf-life and higher return on investment. They come in a range of sizes and configurations too, so we can tailor the specification to fit most exhibition situations.

Shell scheme panels or cladding

Exhibition shell scheme panels or claddingA more ‘basic’ option is to fill or (if available) totally clad the standard ‘shell scheme’ panels which are supplied by the trade exhibition organiser. From our point of view this solution is no problem at all however, being tailored to a 3rd party shell scheme means that such panels will be less useful once the exhibition in question is over — unless you are likely to exhibit again using an identical shell scheme. The large panels can be quite cumbersome to store and transport, because they are not collapsible nor rollable. Pop-up and roller banner systems, in contrast (see above), work completely independently of any shell scheme, so can be re-used anywhere, and are also very compact and easily transported once the system has been collapsed and packed away.

Bespoke exhibition stands

Taking things a stage further, another option available for exhibitions is a totally tailor-made stand which is designed from the ground up. Here each element of the final stand is totally bespoke and does not rely on any off-the-shelf pop-up system or shell scheme. So with this option you can end up with an exhibition stand which is totally unique and in any shape and format you desire. You can incorporate shelving and housings for computers or large format TV screens, iPads and so on. You can even make the entire stand resemble an actual shop or other destination — the world is your oyster when it comes to totally bespoke exhibition design. Here, though, you are talking about a significantly larger budget when compared to use of existing systems such as our pop-up solutions. This is because a totally bespoke exhibition stand, built from the ground up without any off-the-shelf components, is likely to require additional expertise such as carpentry and electrics over and above simple graphics, artwork and printing. They also usually take much more setting up at the actual venue. However the pay-off is that they look totally stunning and unique.

Suspended Banners

Large format printing also lends itself to suspended banners, the kind you might see at a local event, draped across a building, boundary fence or even street. These come with Read more