Getting a Digitally Produced Project Ready for Print

When working with digital files, there are different colour formats that apply to offline and online media, and getting the application correct is very important in making sure that your project fulfils your needs now and into the future. If you will need to repurpose imagery in the future for different uses, making sure that you understand the applications of different formats will ensure that your work is still usable and will help to avoid nasty surprises further down the line.

 

The two colour palettes

It’s important to figure out from the get-go what palette you are going to use. There are two palettes that are commonly used – RGB & CMYK. Stands for Red, Green and Blue. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key. “Key” comes from the fact this plate used to contain “key information” about the print. Essentially, this is the colour used to regulate brightness, and generally this colour is black.

 

One applies to print, one applies to the web

Your computer screen emits light, whereas paper reflects it. This difference means that you can’t take the exact same approach to forming images.  For example, if you combine all the colours of the spectrum as light, you get white, but try mixing inks to get the same result and it’s not going to work!

 

You can recreate CMYK colours accurately in RBG, but not the other way around

With modern graphics chips, RGB can display a greater number of combination colours than CMYK can. This means that once you’ve taken a digital image and converted it to CMYK for print, you will have lost some colour information.

 

If you want to use Photoshop filters, stick to RGB. In fact, it may be best to just stick to RGB in general

Because of the nature of electronic filtering and effects, the process demands use of the RGB colour palette; this is simply the palette that computers work with. To convert from CMYK to RBG and back again is going to cause havoc with the colouration of your design.

It used to be common practise to start out with CMYK as the palette, but now that RBG can actually accurately replicate the same range of colours, if you are going to be repurposing the same art assets for the web as well as print (which you likely are) you can always make sure that your digital imagery (which will be in RGB) corresponds to the end colours that are possible using CYMK by just converting them before sending work away for print.

Whilst this can sometimes cause slight variation, there are many benefits to sticking to RGB for as long as possible. If you do this, it means you can avoid issues that crop up where all you printed media has slightly different shading than your online media.

If you would like to speak to the experts about your print requirements, please contact Danny today for more information: 
danny@positiveimagesuk.com

Which Type of Printing Gives the Highest Quality Finish?

When it comes to professional printing, whilst there are a number of options available, these can essentially be classified as variations of one of two processes: digital, or litho. However, if you’re just looking for a home printer and not worried about the professionalism, Canon PIXMA MG5750 review is an efficient printer with excellent print and scan quality and a low initial price. However, if you’re in an industry where you need professional prints, read on.

How does litho actually work?

Litho (short for Lithographic Printing) uses the principle of the separation of oil and water to actually get ink on to the page. It has its origins in the 1700’s, and whilst the process has been tweaked significantly over the centuries, the fundamental principle is the same.

The basic mechanism of this method is to create a flexible plate on which the image is overlaid in an emulsion coating. This plate is bent into a cylinder, and dampened. As water is repelled by emulsion, and ink is repelled by the water, the cylinder is then “inked” and transfers the resulting impression of the image to a final roller, which squeezes away all the water and lays the text on the image.

Each project is split into Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, with then each put onto its own plate and overlaid in sequence to achieve the desired colouration.

 

How does digital printing actually work?

Digital takes a different approach altogether, and works on the basis of using dots of toner or ink to achieve the desired outcome by speckling the paper directly with dots of ink or toner. In some ways it’s similar to the way you print at home, in that the print medium can be printed directly without plates.

Naturally, professional digital printing doesn’t use the humble inkjet printer that most of us have in our offices! However, the process is similar even if the actual printing machines are far more advanced and expensive than any home printer would be.

 

Some advantages of lithographic printing:

Lithographic printing allows you do a few things you can’t really do with digital.

 

1. Go big

Digital works well up to A3 size – after this point, most commercial digital printers start to run into difficulty.

2. Use unusual colouration and custom inks/finishes

Getting digital inks mixed to order gets very expensive. Equally, you’re not going to be able to include things like metallic ink and mixing it up different gloss finishes on the page, etc.

3. Use snazzy print mediums

There are more limited options in terms of the weight of paper that can be used with digital, and the surface of the paper must be receptive to digital inks which restricts texturing and other options.

4. Print in enormous volume

The costs of litho are in the set-up, which makes it cheaper to print in large volume than digital.

 

Some advantages of digital printing:

Digital printing does have a few tricks up its sleeve.

 

1. It’s cheaper for short runs

Because lithographic involves having to create a number of plates to be individually coloured and transferred, etc, it’s just going to cost a lot more to set-up a printing run. Digital, on the other hand, is more a case of “print and forget” without the set up costs.

2. It’s easy to vary designs and customise

No set up means more flexibility for adding variations to a batch of printed material, split designs and bespoke data messages, etc.

3. It’s quick

If you need something turned around very fast, minimal set-up time makes digital a quick solution.

But … which one gives the highest quality finish?

Lithographic printing has the edge in terms of sheer quality. It has the most durable finish and it’s superior at printing solid colours or accurately replicating gradients. That said, the gap between digital and litho has shrunk dramatically with the introduction of new technology.

 

Which method is right for me?

If you need to print a short run, or if you need to customise each end product with names from a database, or are looking to work very quickly, digital is definitely the format for you.

It’s worth remembering that whilst lithographic printing has the edge in terms of quality, you may find that with the advanced printing equipment we have, many people can’t spot the difference.

If you are in any doubt, give us a call and we’ll make sure you use the correct format for your needs.

If you would like to speak to the experts about how printed marketing collateral could help your business, please contact Danny today for more information: danny@www.positiveimagesuk.com.

Why Branded Collateral is Important for a Professional Brand

What is brand collateral?

When we hear the word ‘collateral’ it’s often associated with assets. Another meaning of the word is derived from its association with ‘lateral’ – ‘co-lateral’ meaning ‘running parallel to’.

Branded collateral works within both definitions. You are aiming to highlight your brand across a number of channels or locations in parallel with your advertising, and to fill the gaps left by your advertising to mitigate the risks of having all your eggs in one basket.

Simply put, branded collateral is not just advertising; it’s the cumulative touch points that your audience have with your brand everywhere else.

Online, your brand collateral would include your website, white papers, demos, web copy, blog posts, social media profiles, and any other digital interaction outside of advertising.

However, the term more often focuses on branded physical media, such as business cards from Printivity, and there is a good reason for this.

The human element

Taking B2B as an example, a recent report commissioned by PwC shows that when asked about the process of making business decisions, 41% of business leaders stated the most significant single factor that drives decision making is instinct. Second to this was the experience of others (31%), and thirdly was data (23%).

Therefore, cumulatively speaking, 72% of decision makers are swayed by their own gut feeling or the feelings of others. This means that the first impression people have of your brand is more important than anything else when it comes to whether or not they will do business with you.

When that first point of contact is a sales pitch, it’s your own appearance and presenting style that is judged. However, more often it is packaging, business cards, brochures or exhibition stands that form the first interaction that prospective customer has with your brand. What the branding conveys and says about you to them can make or break that interaction.

Consistency

It’s important for your customers or potential customers to be able to instantly recognise your brand whenever they come into contact with it. It’s not just enough to see it; recognition builds real brand awareness. When someone recognises a logo, colour or typeface as belonging to a certain brand, the brand will sit in their mind. This can only happen when people have seen your brand during their everyday life. Sometimes print media won’t be enough to help your brand grow and so looking at using other products to help with this could be your next step. For example, looking at these unique umbrellas that BrandedBrolly (www.branded-brolly.co.uk) can design for you could help to increase your growth quicker if you use them alongside print media methods too.

Print media for brand collateral

Print gives a lot of options for establishing interactions with your customers, such as:

  • Business cards
  • Packaging
  • Envelopes
  • Point of sale
  • Direct mail
  • Exhibition banners
  • Signage
  • Printed newsletters
  • Brochures
  • Letterheads
  • Etc

If you’re interested in expanding the scope of your printed brand collateral, we have the flexibility to match your needs, both for printing & materials, and also the packing, delivery and replenishment of the end product.

With our cutting-edge production technology, no matter how complex or high volume your project may be, your brand colour palette will always be printed consistently and to the highest quality.

If you would like to speak to the experts about how printed marketing collateral could help your business, call us on 020 8544 5500 or email hello@positiveimagesuk.com

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Let colour be your guide to success in 2014

Colour matching is crucial to maintain brand integrity, especially for brands where the colour is brand specific. Think about Barclays plc or our client Coca-Cola where the monolithic brand colour is instantly recognised by a wider public as unique to them. Close your eyes and think of Coke and you can see the red; it’s embedded in your knowledge of the brand and they are relying on you to associate with it.

Aside from exclusive brand colours, there exists the one and only international colour-matching system, Pantone, which launched a new range called ‘Plus’ in 2014, increasing the number of colours it manages to 1,755. Ask any good designer or printer and they will have a Pantone bible with colour matching swatches which they share when matching production specifications.

A new client to Positive, “ActivBod”, decided to adopt one of the new Pantone colours, No.2291, as an integral part of their new identity. They designed their new brochures and stationery then came to us to ensure perfect colour matching, checking out our ISO accreditation for colour management on the way and working with us to test print, then set up their colour standards and all in good time to roll out new marketing collateral.

“After months of working with other suppliers, we turned to Positive Images to see if they could colour match our tricky Pantone colour. They were not only incredibly helpful but also highly efficient. Our Pantone colour has been matched perfectly, the quality the print is fantastic and everything was delivered very promptly.

Thank you Positive Images!”

Kate Darch
Functional Fragrances

Is it Better to Print In-House or to Outsource?

Many businesses, particularly small to medium sized companies, are often unsure whether to outsource their printing requirements or to try and print in-house. If your company is considering moving their commercial printing in-house, you may want to consider the following:

  • Equipment costs – high-quality, professional printing equipment can be extremely expensive to purchase. Unless you’ll be printing large runs on a regular basis, it’s unlikely that you will ever recoup the initial expenditure in savings versus outsourcing. That being said, if you are looking for a way to produce easy prints in house, then go to brothermobilesolutions.com for a variety of printing products to meet the needs of your business.
  • Cost of materials It’s easy to over or underestimate your requirements when it comes to purchasing print supplies. Either way it can be costly in terms of time or finances. With an outsourced printer, you pay for exactly what you need and no more.
  • Training costs – One aspect of in-house printing that many neglect to consider is the human element. Positive Images UK have a team of skilled and highly experienced print professionals, who can advise on the right technique for the job, as well as operate all of the equipment. If you print in-house, how much resource would you need to commit to making sure you’re people know what they’re doing?

In terms of cost it is apparent then that in-house printing can be extremely expensive, but what further benefits are offered by a professional printing company?

  • Storage – You can adopt a just-in-time delivery method to ensure your collateral is delivered when you need, so as to free your storage space.
  • Time – Outsourcing your print requirements allows you to focus on what you do best… running your business. Deadlines and quality control should be the responsibly of the printer, freeing up more time for you.
  • Flexibility – With outsourced printing you can easily ramp-up or scale down your printing due to requirements.
  • Innovation – you can be confident that any professional printer has the most up-to-date software and print technology available, providing you with the best possible commercial printing solutions. For example PIUK use Web2Print; an innovative solution offering online product creation, print ordering and stock control which allows you to take control of your brand.

For expert advice on whether outsourcing your printing could save money for your business please contact Danny Sullivan by emailing danny@positiveimagesuk.com.

Winning Business with Printed Brochures and Flyers

In an increasingly digital world, we often get asked how printed brochures can be used to win business. Our response is always the same; just like direct mail, printed brochure marketing is still an effective acquisition channel when executed properly. Even old school methods like using Custom Water bottles to raise brand awareness are still effective, in fact they are a refreshing change from being bombarded with online adverts which is the norm now. Below are 3 ways in which printed brochures – and other printed marketing collateral – can help you win business:


Brand Awareness

Any savvy marketer will tell you the importance of brand awareness for a successful business. If a potential customer doesn’t know who you are then when they require our product or service, they don’t think about you. So it comes as no surprise to find that any company looking to raise brand awareness through digital methods would check out sites like https://snadisplays.com/, as this can help their business attract potential customers and make a memorable name for themselves. Additionally, brochures can be a form or direct marketing, blanket advertising or even re-marketing depending on how they’re distributed, but in any instance, they still aid in increasing brand awareness.

Any time a brochure reaches a potential customer’s hands we are extending our reach and placing our messaging exactly where we want it to be. The next time that the client requires services you offer, they may just think of you.

Also, don’t forget how they are going to be presented; perhaps invest in brochure holders from Shop Fittings Direct to place in your store, front desk, coffee table or wherever people will see it.


Tangible Marketing Asset

There is a reason that direct mail has a greater response rate then email marketing, because a piece of paper is tangible an often resonates with a potential customer far more than its digital equivalent. The same can be said for a flyer or brochure. Having a physical piece of paper is far more difficult to forget about or ignore than an email.


Added Weight to Offers and Discounts

Personalised offers or discounts can be a great way to encourage your customers to visit your website or to help to increase footfall to a physical premises. Regardless of the offer itself, taking the time to print it adds ‘weight’; that is to say it increases the perceived value of the offer in the eyes of your customer

If you would like to speak to the experts about how printed marketing collateral could help your business, please contact Danny today for more information: danny@positiveimagesuk.com

Lithographic vs Digital Printing

With the continual advancement in digital technology, there are many who argue that traditional print is dead. This couldn’t be further from the truth with the vast majority of commercial printers offering their customers both digital and lithographic processes to choose from.

Despite the plethora of advances within the industry, there is still a major demand for traditional techniques which deliver the quality finish our customers crave. That’s not to say there are some positives and negatives for each technique!

Litho

The lithographic printing process has evolved the 15th century. PIUK have invested heavily in both its printing and finishing capabilities, offering greater control throughout production. Even with modern technology at our fingertips, the core principle remains the same: the application of pressure to an inked surface resting on paper which produces a high-quality print.

This tried and trusted approach can offer a number of advantages, although much depends on individual requirements:

Positives

  • Cost of individual units depreciates for long print runs, making commercial printing cost-effective
  • Plates are long-lasting, which means that they can be reused again and again, further reducing costs for our customers
  • Litho printing produces sharper, cleaner images and type due to the use of a rubber blanket, which adapts well to each surface
  • Need versatility, no problem! PIUK can print up to 1mm thick across different paper and board substrates.

Negatives

  • For smaller print volumes, litho can incur greater costs than digital due to the production processes involved

Digital

Digital printing is an extremely popular alternative to lithographic printing, utilising the latest, most sophisticated digital presses we achieve a super-crisp finish. As the idea of digital printing is growing in popularity you may decide that you want to join the craze, and in doing so buying your own printing machine. Have a look at this pvc foam for sale to help make the most out of this product.

Positives

  • With no added drying time; digital is the perfect option for those tasks with tight deadlines!
  • There is no need to prepare plates as with litho printing, which further increases our ability to turn your projects around quickly
  • Modern digital printing returns a high quality finished product, which comes close to matching litho methods for quality over a shorter time-span
  • Are you utilising variable data printing? You certainly should be! VDP allows for the customisation of individual graphics or text on a print by print basis. The benefits of targeting your marketing efforts as accurately as possible are well documented – if you send an email campaign you address your customer by name, so what not with printed collateral?

Negatives

  • Digital printing consumables can be costly, which is why utilising a commercial printer like PIUK that has the ability to produce Digital and Litho projects in house is more cost effective.

Summary

Both litho and digital printing methods each have their own individual merits – there is a reason why they’re both still being used by printers across the world. Deciding which method is best for you depends on a variety of factors, such as; turnaround time, run size, budget etc.

For expert advice on choosing the correct printing method or any aspects of Print Project Planning please contact Danny Sullivan by emailing danny@positiveimagesuk.com