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My Favourite Print Blunders

I have spent a very enjoyable half an hour in the office scrolling through countless amusing print fails. Some of them are down to rookie errors, some are just complete howlers. Take a look at some of my favourites below, and be sure to avoid these mistakes! Else you might end up in my next funny print errors post…

This one is just plain ironic. When advertising THEIR product as something to aid children’s learning, they came up with this:

 

 

 

Whilst this is just a simple typo, its placing couldn’t be much less ideal. Take a look at the bottom for the pinnacle of irony.

 

 

People can often underestimate the importance of grammar. Here’s a slightly morbid example to illustrate my point.

 

Again, the context does not help the case here… nightmare!

 

This last one isn’t really print related, but it shows the importance of checking what you’ve written before submitting! Back in 1904, a drink called ‘Ovomaltine’ was released in Switzerland. Later, this drink was exported to Britain, but on the trademark application the name was misspelled. Instead of ‘Ovomaltine’ they wrote ‘Ovaltine’ – which is why Ovaltine is called Ovaltine in English-speaking nations today.

Check your spelling!

By Tom Maskill at 26 Jun 2017

The Importance of Brand Guidelines

The ultimate goal of any brand, when it comes down to it, it to generate something called ‘positive brand equity’ – basically when people see your brand they respond positively to it and are more likely to buy than if it was under another brand. This juxtaposes negative brand equity, where the opposite is true.

In order to achieve this, homogeny across the brand is crucial. My background is in marketing, and I’ve so often seen, especially with smaller businesses, when it comes to a rebrand it’s done in phases. Why you’d rebrand your business in stages continues to confuse me (unless maybe the upfront cost is a barrier? But even then at the very least you can remove your old branding from things). In my opinion, all rebrands should be done in one day, better yet, over a weekend so on Monday morning everything is new. All company literature, signage, pens, mouse mats, business cards, leaflets, flyers, online adverts, social media sites, mugs, notepads, posters, billboards, wallpapers, banners, tattoos, hairstyles and whatever else you have plastered your branding on should be changed at the same time.

I’m sure you’ll have seen before, a changeover in logo design taking weeks to filter itself through the system. The same goes for any changes in company policy when it comes to customer service processes. For example, if something as simple as the greeting given over the phone switches to something new, and it takes a while for the staff to changeover, it can come across as inconsistent and unprofessional.

The creation, distribution and implementation of clear and concise brand guidelines, then, is crucial for ensuring the values of your brand are upheld throughout your company, helping to create this positive brand equity. Simply taking 20 minutes and sitting everyone involved in upholding your brand values down and reviewing the brand guidelines will go a long way to eradicating any inconsistencies in branding.

Font size, type, colour and the like can all be included on a one-page brand guideline overview along with all of the commonly used branding tools (phone intro, keywords etc…). An extended brand guideline should include things like standard printing processes (what type of paper your brochures are printed on, how big they are etc…) which ensures continuity of the brand.

Basically, get yourself some clear, concise and universally used brand guidelines to spread and implement across your company. Assuming you do a good job for your customers, this will all help towards creating large and sustainable positive brand equity.

By Tom Maskill at 23 Jun 2017

Control v Generativity in Print Spec

First things first – clarify what control and generativity is. For the sake of this blog post we’ll say that control refers to having control over what types of data are put in to a print spec (so, for example, you select paper weight from a list of discrete options rather than typing whatever weight on an undefined continuous scale). Conversely, highly generative processes would refer to ones with no such parameters, and hence are more suited to extremely unique efforts, as you could, in theory, type anything you want into your print spec.

The issue with print it, and it’s a growing one, is that there are so so many different variables which go into every order of print.  As such, the typical generative methods of specifying orders are becoming more varied, and more subjective to printers. In turn, this can lead to a mistranslation when converting the buyers wants into actionable print specs.

To avoid this, some system is needed whereby print buyers can specify exactly what they want ensuring each criteria is directly actionable by printers – ensuring no loss in translation. The difficulty with this is the system must allow some form of flexibility in order to allow buyers to take advantage of the huge variety of options open to them.

At this point, it becomes clear that different print buyers will need different systems. Some, who predominantly buy relatively ‘straightforward’ print (and even some complex print) would likely be better served by a system which favours control over generativity, as it would mitigate any translation issues between buyer and printer, allow anyone (even without extensive print knowledge) to accurately and efficiently specify orders, and allow for quicker re-ordering and quotation collecting.

Conversely, buyers who exclusively buy highly unusual, highly complex print would be better served through a generative system. Whilst the buyer would likely need a strong understanding of print, the freedom offered with a generative system would allow for new and innovative print products to be created.

It’s probable that most buyers fall somewhere within the spectrum of these systems, but whilst it’s very possible for an experienced print buyer to specify unusual print jobs with printers, those looking to quickly order print for the best price, whilst not necessarily having extensive knowledge of print, are currently chronically underserved, with no universal control based mechanisms available for specifying print, requesting quotes or generating orders.

This is the gap that Printelligence hopes to fill.      

By Tom Maskill at 23 Jun 2017

3 top tips for maximising ROI on your print

Designing something beautiful, elegant and meaningful as well as having your promotional item printed nicely naturally improves chances of conversion – you appear more trustworthy, professional and talented. But lots of organisations can do this, so how can you stand out and really maximise your return on investment for print? Here are our top 3 tips for doing just that!

  1. Give your target audience a reason to engage

As eye-catching as your product might be, it’s going to need to have something more about it than just looking nice.  Direct calls to action can help here, as can a clear incentive to read further (competition? Offer? Promotion?). How about a little gift? It’s been well documented that ‘lumpy mail’ has far higher open rate than regular mail – why would the same not be true for an unusually shaped promotional item? Make your audience curious or eager to read more, and engage further with your product.

  1. Be creative with how it’s printed

Unless you live in a green world of print, as we do, it’s sometimes hard to appreciate advances in printing techniques, practices and technologies. As such, some print buyers can miss out on taking advantage of some really cool print techniques. My personal favourite is heat sensitive printing, take a look at the below for an awesome example. It’s always worth researching unusual print options to see if these can help you stand out further.

  1. Thinking closely about costs

What are the individual costs which go into producing and delivering your printed product? Breaking down individual components and identifying where you can save costs through printing smartly can help. For example, if your printed products are going to be distributed via post, collate the max dimensions/weight for each price bracket. It may be possible to marginally reduce the font on your product and the paper weight, reducing the overall size and weight of the product, qualifying the item in a lower band for delivery. This would save massively on cost per unit without sacrificing much in other areas. You’ll likely get the same response rate, but for a lower cost, maximising ROI.

Best of luck!

By Tom Maskill at 16 Feb 2017
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