After bringing Isla (the company dog) home in December last year, we have joined a few Vizsla dog walking groups to meet other local like minded owners. Vizsla’s are different to other breeds of dog and love to socialise, they also act very differently when they get together, so we think they enjoy the get-togethers as much as we do! They have become known as a “VizWhizz” as the dogs whizz and zoom around together in a pack.
One of the largest groups covers London and Surrey and as the group continues to expand, the members wanted to portray a more professional image so a logo was needed. I was asked to design the logo to represent the breed and have a professional but fun feel to it. It will be used on merchandise like clothing, pens, car stickers, tax disc holders and dog collars so also needed to be bright and bold.
I think I hit the nail on the head first time and after only three tiny amendments this is the final design that was approved by around 40 members over an online debate on Facebook.
So here it is, what do you think?
Savanna is a deliciously dry cider from South Africa. It launched in the UK during the summer of 2010 and is the 3rd biggest cider in the world and continues to grow!
Blueprint were approached by Sananna’s UK marketing agency to design, produce and implement a promotion to help boost sales of the newest cider brand in the UK. We came up with many options, but the chosen one was “the Great Golden Giveaway”, a competition promoted on a custom printed neck collar that was placed on every bottle sold in UK supermarkets which included Morrisons, Sainsburys and Tesco.
Our design used photography of the product and cartoon images to represent prizes that could be won. Most importantly a unique 9 digit code was printed on every collar to enable the participants to log into the website and see if they had won.
The design and promotion we created boosted sales in the UK which has led to more work including branding a bar in Brighton, poster campaigns, comedy events, sponsorship deals and promotional printing.
A great success for all involved!
According to an old Irish legend (or possibly history), St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around, every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.
A survey released by Sandals Resorts, the Luxury Hotel chain, showed that the 20 per cent of women who say they are scared of being rejected need not fear as, instead of running for the hills after a proposal from their loved one, 40 per cent of men would be more than happy to accept and two thirds would not find it embarrassing to have the tables turned in this way.
Reassuringly only five per cent of men would say no to a proposal because their girlfriend is not ‘The One’. Professor of psychology and relationship expert, Geoffrey Beattie said: “This new research by Sandals shows that the Leap Year tradition of women taking the initiative in proposals of marriage is now becoming rather trendy with people in the UK today”.
I can speak with a little more knowledge than most here as I was asked by my girlfriend 8 years ago in a private capsule on the London Eye – of course I said yes (it was a very long jump or push from the top!).
So once she’s asked and you said yes, give us a call to arrange the next important step, a save the date card for your wedding! It’s the first step on your journey, serving as an exciting reminder and a courtesy to your guests. Once this is done we can also help with some beautifully designed wedding stationery to set the perfect tone for your big day.
A first in garden design awaits the expected 150,000+ visitors to this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (24th – 28th May) with the integration of stunning, large format printed images to create a unique urban garden at the show. The images, the work of contemporary landscape photographer, David Anthony Hall are incorporated into the external landscape – Thompsons Plein Air Gallery Garden (Stand PW42 Pavilion Way) – being created by Thompson’s Galleries to showcase Hall’s work and to demonstrate the harmonious link between art and the creative outdoor space.
Measuring up to 3m x 1.5m, the panoramic images have been produced on a Canon imagePROGRAF iPF9100 large format printer by Canon UK’s distributor, Surrey based Velmex Distribution. Printed on 260gsm photo gloss paper and then face mounted on to Perspex (i.e. sandwiched between a piece of Perspex and Dibond or an aluminium backing sheet) and wall hung for the display at Chelsea, the images, according to gallery owner, Sue Thompson, ‘show how art can be an integral part of the structure of a garden.’
A Canon user from image capture to printed output, Hall shoots his images on a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and uses a panoramic technique to capture a multitude of shots that go into the one final image, which he later weaves together in his digital darkroom. The sheer scale of his work makes it ideal for wide format printing and, for Hall, the high end Canon imagePROGRAF devices are the printers that showcase his images to best effect. Hall comments: “By integrating my images into the concept garden, I’m hoping to challenge convention and stimulate a debate around the placement of art outdoors. I also want to show how it can brighten up difficult outdoor spaces, including courtyard gardens, by adding depth, colour and a focal point to these areas.
At the end of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, David Anthony Hall will donate all the proceeds from the sale of Bluebells Woods, a focal work in the garden, to the Children’s Acute Transport Service (CATS), a London based ambulance service for critically ill children.
From a printer’s point of view, digital printing is by far the easiest option, as anyone who is comfortable with working with a computer and laser printer can be trained to operate a digital printing machine, whereas a skilled litho press operator takes many years to learn his trade and is worth their weight in gold!
Early digital machines were no substitute for litho printing, as the quality wasn’t anywhere close to traditional litho printing available in today’s market and was used for throwaway jobs like leaflets, dance tickets and luggage tags etc. These days, by using HP Indigo and Xerox iGen machines although the print quality is not quite on a par with litho, the results are perfectly acceptable for many people and for many purposes. Digital machines can now handle thicker materials, textures materials, self adhesive and even recycled and FSC certified materials, whereas previously only very thin paper & boards were printable.
Print colours are still a big issue. The industry-standard colour matching Pantone system is still not achievable with a digital press. I don’t care what the manufactures claim, just ask your supplier to print a sheet out in orange (Pantone 021) and see how it compares with a litho printed piece, it will look very different! So if your corporate colours are important, litho printing still can’t be beaten!
The first question you should ask yourself before deciding on either of the two methods is how important to you is consistent colour across your corporate brand?
Achieving colour consistency across all your business stationery and promotional items is a technical business. Just think of the differences in materials used across items such as business cards, letterheads, glossy leaflets, plastics, vinyl and corporate clothing and you’ll understand the headaches involved in getting colour to look consistent on all the different materials.
If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in rush hour traffic, think about all of the other drivers around you. Why not turn this into a positive for your company? Vehicle wraps act as a moving billboard and can effectively attract many new customers to your business or brand.
Print technology has made wrapping a vehicle quite cost effective (around £1200 for a car or small van) for nearly every advertising budget and can easily last up to five years. If you already have vehicles that are required to be on the road, you may as well put them to another use.
The US Trucking Association says that 91 percent of people notice graphics on vehicles and 75 percent develop a favorable impression of the companies represented. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America claims that one vehicle can reach 30 to 70 thousand people in one day, depending on your market and your location.
When designing a vehicle wrap there are many things to consider. You should start with a graphics company that can help you through the process – just like Blueprint in Cranleigh. Since the wrap can last up to five years consider the vehicle that you want to wrap and ensure it has the potential to run that long.
An eye-catching and simple design is essential as your vehicle is moving. Motorists won’t have a lot of time to study the message. Make sure to give them a call to action and keep the design consistent with other brand images you’re using.
Once you have your wrap on the vehicle, it’s important to have a conversation with the driver as the vehicle is an extension of your brand and any traffic violations could reflect poorly on your company.
Choosing the right paper for a printing job can be a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be though. When selecting the best paper type for a particular job, you’re often faced with an overwhelming number of options. Asking your printer for “white” is like asking your waiter for “food” — you’ll have to be more specific than that.
To the educated consumer, the choices don’t seem nearly as intimidating. Before you order though, you’ve got to know the menu. Paper has ten characteristics that affect its cost and appropriateness for a given job.
The surface of paper affects its look, feel and printability. When paper is pressed at the mill, it passes through a series of rollers in a process called calendaring. Calendaring affects paper in numerous ways. As the extent of this process increases, paper is made smoother, glossier, more capable of retaining ink, thinner, less opaque and less bright. Why does surface matter? Because people do judge books by their cover!
The color of paper is perhaps the most salient of all characteristics. White is by far the most popular color and is generally optimal for conventional usage. Not all white is the same, however — it runs the gamut from ultra-severe hues to softer, more antique shades. Photo white paper is best for accentuating the contrast between light and dark hues.
Off-white sheets produce less glare, and are best used for publications such as novels or technical manuals that demand long and uninterrupted attention from readers. When comparing color, always examine paper under standard viewing conditions and with minimal atmospheric distractions.
The brightness of paper measures the percentage of light that it reflects. Most papers reflect approximately 60 to 90% of incoming light. Remember: brightness and color are not the same thing. Unlike the color characteristic (which is highly subjective and imprecise), brightness is a strictly quantitative, or measurable, attribute. Brightness is important because it affects readability — high brightness can cause eye strain, while low brightness can produce a blurring effect.
The opacity of paper is the degree to which other printing is visible through the page. High opacity, or density, minimizes the visibility of printing on subsequent pages, thus enhancing readability. Opacity increases with the bulk and weight of paper, and is influenced by numerous other factors, including paper color, ink color, coatings, chemicals and coverage.
The grain of paper describes the direction, or alignment, of its component fibers. Paper grain is either grain long or grain short. When fibers are patterned parallel to the length of a sheet, the paper is grain long. When fibers run parallel to the width of a sheet, the paper is grain short. Grain direction is a critical factor for print jobs because it directly affects usage — for example, paper strength, flexibility, tack and versatility are all impacted by grain direction.
The basis weight of paper is calculated as the weight in grams of a sheet. Each main grade of paper has a basic size that is used to determine its basis weight. Remember that paper of equivalent basis weight is not necessarily of equivalent basic size. Smaller sized paper that is thicker can possess a basis weight identical to that of larger, thinner paper. Since bulk printing paper is sold by the tonne, understanding paper weight is imperative to successful cost control programs.
The caliper of paper is its thickness. Caliper is measured in the UK as grams (gsm) or thousandths of a mm, known as micron.
The bulk of paper denotes its thickness relative to its basis weight. For example, uncalendared paper would have a higher bulk than gloss coated paper. Remember though that paper may be bulkier or thicker than another grade, yet still have the same basis weight. Confused yet?
The size of paper in the UK does not describe its physical dimensions! An A4 sheet (standard letterhead) is 297mm long x 210mm wide. Access to specific information concerning the range of paper sizes available for any given printing job is essential to containing costs and ensuring efficient usage.
The quantity of paper refers to the number of sheets bought, sold or used. A ream is a standard unit of numerical paper quantity. Paper that is “ream-wrapped” is packaged in a bundle of 500 sheets. Cartons of paper are not defined by exact numerical specifications, but approximate weight.
To most buyers of printing for business, choosing which print process is most suitable for the print project is not necessarily high on their agenda. As a result of this, it is not uncommon to here tales of people buying their printing for extortionate amounts of money, or having thousands of brochures left over as the ‘run-on’ prices looked so cheap! This is because unlike Blueprint Printing in Cranleigh, their print supplier probably wasn’t equipped with both litho and digital print technology and partly because the buyer didn’t understand the different technologies that are available to them.
I hope that the information below will give a basic outline as to the difference between the two technologies and the unique benefits they each bring to the table. In short, if your supplier only has one technology, come and see us at Blueprint as we’d be supprised if you are getting value for money!
Lithographic (Litho or Offset printing) is the most common form of commercial printing, due to advantages in quality and efficiency in high volume jobs. While modern digital printing presses (Xerox Digital Presses, for example) are getting closer to the cost/benefit of litho for high-quality work, they have not yet been able to compete with the sheer volume of product that a litho press can produce and print at a much slower speed.
A good example of litho printing would be letterheads with a quantity over 500 or multi page brochures from 250 copies upwards or orders where colours are critical.
Digital Printing is generally used for short print runs, or for the customisation of print media, called variable data. If you are routinely ordering low-quantity stationery, then digital might be the way forward as this should save you money (although limitations of the technology mean these can’t be used in laser printers). With digital print, personalising each copy (Variable Data Printing) is easy and cost effective as there are no printing plates used in the process unlike litho. The personalisation could be a complex combination of different text and images. An example might be a postcard advertising a car with an offer personalised to fit the recipient’s profile.
Digital printing in large volumes only occurs when personalisation is the most important aspect in the project, so think mail order catalogues with customer specific offers and special enhancements to entice new customers to buy.
Digital print is used to print a ‘proof’ copy for you to approve before you commit to the larger litho print run.
Blueprint’s litho press is a Presstek Direct Imaging press, this state of the art press, images the plates inside the press, enabling perfect registration of all the printed colours, eliminating ‘out of focus’ print sometimes seen in newspapers etc. This new technology allows our printing to be produced with more detail and more vibrant colours than other print companies.