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5 tips for perfect Embossed Business Cards

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Embossing is a technique that creates a raised or indented pattern on your business card. We turn the text, pattern, shape or logo that you want embossing into a metal die that gets pushed into your card to leave an impression. Not all elements are suitable for embossing so here are our tips for getting the best from embossed business card printing.

  1. Embossing looks best when is is used as a separate design element. Don’t use embossing precisely positioned over printed elements such as logos, this may produce disappointing results as the embossed effect will not be particularly visible to the eye.
  2. Don’t go too thin. Patterns with shapes thicker than 1mm will always produce the best results, go finer than that and you may find your lines disappear in the card.
  3. Be bold. Make an impact with large text spelling out your company name or slogan. We don’t recommend embossing small text as it will be difficult for the reader to see. Avoid fonts with small fine serifs. Embossing can make text look smaller than usual so you may want to go a few sizes bigger.
  4. Don’t forget about the reverse. Anything you emboss on to the front of your business cards will be debossed on the reverse so be make sure that it doesn’t go over any fine text or important details. Where possible, try and encompass the debossed shape into the design.
  5. Create contrast with colour. Stick to one or two colours for the printed text on your embossed business cards to give them a modern and sophisticated look. Keep your colour scheme consistent throughout your marketing (stationery, leaflets, website) to develop a professional image of yourself.

7 Savvy Uses for Folding Business Cards

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Your business card is your number 1 marketing tool and many peoples first introduction to your business. Make the most of the extra space on a folding business card and your customers will keep it in their wallet or purse and will always have your information at their fingertips. Here’s some ideas on how to utilise the space effectively.

Offers and Discounts
Folding business cards have plenty of space to include your contact details and a special offer or promotion €“ Free consultation, 25% off your first order or buy one get one free.

Price Lists
A handy pocket size list of your services and prices will ensure your customers keep them close to hand, give them out two at a time, one for them and one to give to a friend – ask for a referral.

Mini Portfolio
A picture speaks a thousand words €“ use the extra space to include enticing product shots, show off your artwork or display your staff’s beaming smiles. You could also add your best customer testimonials.

Gallery
Show off your venue in full colour with smart photos that way they instantly recognise that they’re in the right place when they come to visit. Picture cards get attention and look great in high definition full colour.

Location Map
Just moved? Premises just off the beaten track? Make it easy for your customers to find you by adding a helpful map and directions. You could also include nearby bus routes, train stations or local landmarks.

Loyalty Card
Everybody loves getting something for free and your customers are no exception. Record with a stamp or pen on the business card after every purchase and reward your customers to keep them coming back.

Appointment Cards
Sick of clients missing their appointments? Use the inside of the card to fill in your client’s next appointment so they never miss a date, now they’ve got their appointment and your contact details at hand.

For more advice or design ideas, get in touch with your local printing.com full service studio.

Folding Business CardsFolding Business Cards

Spot the Opportunity with StarMarque

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It’s not just magpies that love shiny things -€“ we’re all attracted to them. Diamond necklaces, new cars, crystal glasses. They never fail to get our attention. Increase your chances of getting noticed by adding glossy StarMarque highlights to your marketing material.

So what is StarMarque?

We all know that adding gloss lamination to an image increases the intensity of colours. StarMarque is a special process which only adds a gloss coating to selected parts of the image or document.

We start with a matt laminated item such as a business card, folder or thick flyer. The matt base provides a great contrast for the next layer -€“ a special hi-gloss varnish. This varnish is only applied to the areas you want, hence the commonly used name “spot varnish”.

The end result is a beautiful flyer or card with both gloss and matt areas. This has the effect of accentuating and drawing attention to the glossy part of the design. Ask your local printing.com store for colour charts to compare the difference.

Who’s using StarMarque?

Damson Restaurant

Lots of businesses are finding that adding StarMarque to their marketing material is giving it a lot more weight and presence. The gloss highlights provide an additional visual stimulus because of the varied textures on the single printed surface. This adds depth and impact and sets the perception of high quality in the eyes of the recipient.

If you’re selling a premium product or are trying to position your business at the upper end of your market, create a striking first impression with StarMarque Business Cards, Presentation Folders, Thick Booklet Covers and Flyers.

Steve Pilling -€“ Restauranteur, Damson @ BBC Media City says €”Our award-winning restaurants offer modern British food and an extensive wine list, so it’€™s important our marketing reflects our brand… only StarMarque will do!€”

What works best?

StarMarque looks great added over the top of dark colours -€“ black, dark blue, purple, that kind of thing – that’s where the contrast is greatest. On a light background, the highlights will be less visible and they’ll be practically invisible on white – although that’s sometimes useful if you want to use it as a difficult-to-copy security feature.

Avoid using it over small text or small objects as there is little chance of it exactly lining up and that will be pretty noticable. Best to think of it entirely as its own design element and use it to enhance a piece, rather than simply putting it over existing elements.

What does it cost?

StarMarque is a high-end finishing option which is usually out of reach for most small businesses. It’s usually reserved for expensive marketing material and adding it would normally cost a small fortune. Not any more. With printing.com’s revolutionary techniques, you’ll share these high set-up costs with lots of other businesses and pay only a fraction of the normal cost.

Power dress your documents with folders

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Our Fast&Few® Folders are the perfect low-cost folder option for handing out at events or presenting documents in a professional way. If you frequently send quotations, estimates, tenders or proposals, Fast&Few® Folders add a professional touch without breaking the bank.

Combine a versatile Fast&Few® Folders with a set of adaptable inserts and you'€™ve got an Information Pack that creates a lasting impression.

Make the Information Pack fit the recipient, tailor the content of each pack to suit each client. Only interested in some of your products or services? Only include the relevant inserts. Got a new product or service? Add a new insert. Price change? Just print that insert again, rather than a whole brochure.

Our Fast&Few® Folders and Fast&Few® Gloss Leaflets can be ordered in quantities as low as 50 and are printed in a speedy 3 working days (or faster if required). Plus get them for half the usual price during May.

Create versatile folders with adaptable inserts

Here'€™s some ideas on how to make the most of our May offers.
Need more help? Speak to your local printing.com studio.

Power dress your documents with folders
  • Make your folder as versatile as possible by keeping the cover neutral.
  • Matching inserts can be updated as and when you need them.
  • Why not include an introductory letter to welcome your  customers.
  • Don’t forget the inside. Plenty of space for more photos and information.
  • Remember to include your contact details.
  • A price list is just one item you can include. Other insert ideas; order forms, invoices, enquiry forms, newsletters, quotations, work portfolios, proposals, products and services, company profiles, application forms, reviews and testimonials, information packs and press releases.

Give your marketing instant impact with Postcards

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Postcards are perfect for Direct Mail

POSTCARDS are a proven direct marketing tool. The beautiful thing about postcards is that the recipient can’t avoid reading your message. Whether you’re mailing them, handing them out in the street or selling them, there’s nothing quite like a glossy postcard.

Follow these tips and join the thousands of different businesses who use postcards to great success…

DON’€™T GET STUFFED
Don’€™t waste time, folding, stuffing and licking envelopes. Postcard + address label + stamp = easy!

WORK YOUR MAILING LIST
Whether mailing existing customers or new prospects, the quality of your list will determine the success. Your beautifully crafted message is useless if it arrives in the wrong in-box or lands on the wrong desk. Out of date data can also mean that you waste money sending information to people who have since moved on. Refine your data for a more targeted campaign.

MAKE YOURSELF IRRESISTIBLE
Why are you contacting them? Think of a powerful, limited-time offer and make it hard for them to refuse.

SAY IT IN 5 SECONDS
Keep it brief. Write a clear, punchy headline which tells your message without confusing (we can help). You’ll get a better response if you make your Postcards look like a personal message rather than a sales promotion.

CREATE INSTANT IMPACT
Use a strong image or headline and our high-impact, high-gloss lamination will add emphasis.

SAY NO TO UNREAD MAIL
Even people screening their mail over a recycling bin can’t choose to ignore the message on your postcard.

TURN READERS INTO BUYERS
Give them a call to action. What do you want them to do next. Phone? Email? Visit? Tell them! Really spell it out: €œcall this number€, €œfill out this form€ or €œscan this QR code€.

When is a Postcards not a postcard?
When you use them as…

• Comment Cards

• Refer-A-Friend Forms

• Mailers

• Surveys

• Feedback Forms

• Competition

• Price Lists

• Product Specs

Scratch your Way to Success

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Scratch Cards add fun and interaction to any promotion                                                                                                                 Your customers receive a multitude of messages every day, in a wide variety of formats. It takes a little bit of thought and planning to make sure your message stands out. If you give out leaflets or vouchers with discount offers on them, think about putting the same offer under a scratch card panel. The fact that the person has to spend time scratching off the panel means that they actually spend more time participating with your promotion -€“ that makes them more likely to buy.

Whether your goal is to increase sales, create a customer reward program, or engage your employees with an incentive scheme, scratch cards are one of the most versatile and fun ways to promote yourself. People love to scratch. Scratch cards have the advantage of being simple, well known and they offer the opportunity to give your customers something for nothing. This will increase your ‘stickiness’€™ -€“ people will keep returning if they know you’€™re offering them a chance to win money off or prizes.

Everyone loves gifts and prizes. People love to ‘€˜win’€™ things. They even love to participate in anything offering them a chance to win. Win prizes! You win! Winner! See how powerful these words are? It could be anything from a free pizza to free nightclub entry. It could be a discount on your products or services, or even just a free Curly Wurly.

There’s no time to lose -€“ start thinking about how a little bit of scratching could benefit your business. Contact your local printing.com team for some great ideas.

Top 3 reasons for using Scratch Cards…

1. They’€™re irresistible – everybody loves to win gifts and prizes.
2. They’€™re immediate – people know straight away whether they’€™ve won.
3. They’€™re intriguing – what’€™s under the panel? What can I win?

How to boost your brand with Stickers

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What’s the appeal of stickers?

They’re affordable, fun and you can stick them anywhere you like.

You can put whatever you like on stickers -€“ your logo, web address, a photograph, a cool illustration. What’s more, with our Fast&Few Stickers you can have a different design on each sticker on the sheet -€“ perfect to highlight different offers and promotions to your customers. They’re also great for labeling, organizing your paperwork and adding to gift boxes. Here’s a few ideas…

68x96mm Rectangle Fast&Few Stickers

37x37mm Circle Fast&Few Stickers

68x96mm Rectangle Fast&Few Stickers

45x80mm Rectangle Fast&Few Stickers

 

Got a logo? (talk to us if you don’t!) Put it on a sticker. Now you’re ready to put your mark on anything you like. Perhaps you’re planning a bit of guerilla marketing, or want to brand everything in sight. It’s great way to spread the word about your business.

Mailing stickers
Our Rectangle Kiss-cut stickers are ideal for mailing stickers. Let your customer know how important they are by adding “Urgent” or “Priority” to their package. They also make great return labels, just add your logo and address.

Filing labels
Create your own labels to stick on the outside of files, no more scribbling out the old title – simply pop a new label over the top and write on the new contents. They’ll look professional and keep everything neat and tidy.

Give them to your customers
Everyone loves a sticker. Give them out with orders, mail outs and invoices, your customer will stick them to their belongings and be reminded of you. Put together a few designs so they can pick their favourite. They’ll see it again and again as they go throughout their day. Excellent for giving out at events, launches and exhibitions.

Product packaging
Circular stickers are perfect for sealing wrapping paper or adding to gift boxes. They add a little bit of personalisation that will make your packaging stand out and look professional. Our Rectangle ones also make great labels for jam and chutney jars.

Name tags
Hosting a network meeting, taking part in an event or exhibition? Let everyone know who’s who by wearing rectangular stickers displaying their name alongside your logo and organisation. Now they’ll remember your name as well as your brilliant ideas.

Business cards
Stickers make business cards more intriguing. Try out a few designs on the sheet and hand out different coloured ones depending on your mood or what part of your business or services you’re trying to promote. They’ll make an impression be stuck somewhere handy to refer to later. Take a look at our top tips on how to Work Your Business Cards Harder.

Say well done
Stick some praise on your pupils with behaviour and motivational merit stickers. Encourage their attendance and punctuality by awarding them for 100% attendance in a month or being on time all week. Give them a boost by adding stickers to a chart for full marks in a test or outstanding homework.

June is a great time to boost your brand with stickers as Fast&Few Stickers are half price. Need help with design? Speak to your local studio.

Why it pays to go Green

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Why choose recycled paper?

Using recycled paper is a simple decision that can make a great difference. It’s also an easy and clear way to communicate your brand values.

Making your business more sustainable not only saves you money, it can also win you customers looking for companies with green credentials. Over 80% of UK companies now have a corporate social responsibility strategy, according to research by Future Thinking. Promoting your environmentally friendly methods can set your business apart from your competitors and attract new customers who want to buy products and services from an environmentally friendly business. There are lots of different ‘green’ logos you can use on your leafletsletterheads and flyers to show you care (ask us about which ones you can use on your marketing).

Printing on recycled paper saves trees, energy, water and landfill space compared to non recycled paper. This is because recycled materials have already been refined and processed once. Manufacturing the second time is much cleaner and less energy intensive than the first time. Recycled paper meets the same high technical specification as virgin paper and will run successfully on the most demanding photocopiers and office printers. Print on both sides of the paper to save even more.

It places less strain on global forest resources. Paper recycling optimises the use of a valuable material and reduces the amount of virgin pulp required. Although forests are increasingly managed in a sustainable way there is a need to reduce wastage by using more recycled content. Put the paper in the recycling bin, close the loop by buying recycled, and hey presto: virgin trees have been saved. According to Recycle Now, 67% of the paper and cardboard used in the UK is recovered for recycling.

Our recycled range is made from 100% post-consumer waste and is FSC certified meaning you can be sure that the paper you buy is environmentally sound and is promoting responsible forest management. Ask us about using the Recycled Paper logo or the FSC logo on your marketing. Our most popular Recycled products are half price during August – saving the planet and your pocket.

How to achieve trust – a key aspect of the designer/client relationship

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Assuming that the success of a design project depends largely on the quality of the designer/client relationship, what are the criteria for such relationships and how might designers and clients cultivate these qualities in their relationships to positive effect?

Trust seems like a good place to start and I caught a glimpse of how this quality works within a relationship during the Design Effectiveness Awards last month. It came from Ian Thompson, head of Thompson Brand Partners who, with Victoria Robertshaw, joint owner of Keelham Farm Shop, collected a Gold Award.

At the awards, winning agencies and clients get to go up on stage where a short interview takes place. During this interview, Ian commented: “There’s nothing like a client’s trust to make you up your game.”

This quote struck me as really interesting. It hinted at the interrelationship between client and designer, how the dynamic is not just about money and work passing in opposite directions. It suggested a level of dynamism and energy underpinning the relationship that, when understood and tapped into, has the potential to generate performance improvements for both parties and make the relationship really fulfilling.

I wanted to explore the source of this energy, to try and find out how it was created and start to place it into a map that could be useful to designers and clients looking to develop more successful relationships. I spoke first with Ian Thompson and then Keelham’s Victoria Robertshaw. Their descriptions of how trust works in their relationship sheds light on how this contributes to their success.

Here’s what they told me, followed by some pointers on what other designers and clients might do to achieve the same success.

A bump in the road is the perfect base on which to build trust

After a good start, the relationship between Thompson and Keelham hit a bump in the road. This bump was an opportunity in disguise. For Victoria it gave her the chance to look at other consultancies. For Ian it was the chance to review what had happened. He took a step back and wrote an honest letter to Victoria to say he was sorry it hadn’t worked out. Victoria’s experience with her new consultancy made her re-evaluate the quality of her relationship with Thompson. The new consultancy didn’t feel quite right. Ian and Victoria met up. For Ian their conversation made him more mindful of what the relationship was like for the client. Victoria realised she liked the way Thompsons worked and gradually they started to move back towards working together.

The client and designer build each other’s confidence

When Keelham wanted to implement new brand work on its Thornton shop, it asked Thompson to do the retail design. Thompson is a brand consultancy so this was not in its usual skill set. Taking on this work found it going outside what they would typically work do. Ian was honest and said so. Victoria’s response was simply: “Yes, you can do it. You are capable.” When Ian needs help from specialists he gets it. But Victoria trusts Thompson to be sat alongside her at the top table, “thinking brand”.

Ian and his team take Victoria through their thought process. “We show some unfinished ideas. We trust Victoria not to judge us on these ideas and she is comfortable with this. We present our workings. We’re not working to our agenda, it’s about what’s important to Keelham. If anyone at Thompson doesn’t know something, they hold their hands up. Our approach is about being open and honest; truth and trust go hand in hand.”

The designer needs to get the client and the client needs to feel “got”

For Victoria, “Ian just gets Keelham. He thinks of things that we haven’t thought of but are still right for us”. A good example of this is that Keelham has blackboards along the road that they put together themselves to make their customers driving along smile. They are part of Keelham’s pre-Thompson identity. When Thompson put together the visual ID it took inspiration from these boards for Keelham’s fonts. A small thing, you might think. But crucially important, because when a change is proposed to anyone for anything, it will be more likely to be adopted if it borrows something that they already feel close to. In that way, the change is in them already, it feels natural, not forced.

The importance of “thinking harder” to Keelham and Thompson

For Keelham, it was thinking about values. Keelham has been going since the 1920s. It was Victoria’s Grandad’s business, which her Dad built on in in 1970 when he opened the farm shop and then Victoria with her brother James in 2006. Keelham started to grow but there was no management structure, Victoria found that people were not making the right decisions. “They won’t get our values by osmosis. We need to get them down on paper as much now as for the future. So Keelham would continue.” This was a hard process and initially they did not get finished. But we need them. They are a framework to make decisions. As long as you’re doing that, then you’re doing the right thing.”

For Thompson it was about not stopping at the obvious. As part of a refurbishment of Keelham’s place in Thornton the consultancy looked at staff uniforms. It went to uniform suppliers who came back with ideas that were, to be frank, pretty uniform. Thompson thought about it and suggested they go for something more eclectic, interesting and on-brand. And it was cheaper. The idea came about from thinking harder about the question to get to a better answer.

Keelham Farm Shop
Keelham Farm Shop

What can designers and clients take from these examples?

They could swap their values up front. If your value system is the one that guides your decision-making, perhaps both parties should be sharing their values ahead of starting work. “Can you tell me about your values?” should be one of the early questions. As a client you will feel understood. You’ll be able to talk to your values. As a designer you’ll be able to understand and pitch the right idea from the start. From this point you both have a better chance of moving outside of your comfort zones together.

Designers to include their client in the idea, clients to look for themselves in the idea. As a designer, when you suggest an idea, check to see where it has come from and what is included from the client’s present positive situation in the execution. As a client look for yourself in the idea. Look for what’s right, not for what’s wrong.

Clients and designers to work hard to create and refine their values. Victoria has a monthly gathering where she welcomes new employees and goes through the values. She has workshops where these are explored. These are the places where the values have evolved and distilled. For example:

“Taste…. a paragraph of text” became “Taste comes first.”

“Affordability… everyone should have great food every day” became “For everyone.”

“Fairness… a paragraph about the history of the business” became ‘Just do the right thing”.

Both parties to rethink failure. See failure as an opportunity to create a strong memory of who you are and what you do. As Ian puts it: “The way someone fixes a problem is a measure of them. Life is not clean and simple but you have to act fast, act decisively and go to the ends of the earth to fix the problem.” For clients, listen to your agency. Assess whether it’s a blip rather than the relationship failing.

It’s all about the people. Trust is about saying and doing. So this means making sure that everyone gets to meet everyone that will be saying and doing. This applies equally to clients and their agencies.

Glenn Tutssel – “never underestimate the power of a drawing”

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When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?

My brother’s friend Philip Davies was at Cardiff Art College studying Graphic Design and I loved all the work he was doing with type and image. It coincided with my art teacher Douglas Sutton, in Wales, who was previously a commercial artist, believing in me. I had practised Judo (we were both Black Belts) with him not realising I would one day be mentored by him. You only need one person to believe in you to succeed. 

What was your first job? 

David Lock of Lock Pettersen taught me at the London College of Printing. I freelanced for them in the last year of my BA course and joined them when I graduated. They were great typographers so I learnt a lot. I designed corporate brochures and annual reports for clients like Esso.  

How would you describe what you currently do?

Having set up Brand Inspiration in January I want to concentrate on two things. One is to do great work on my own projects unshackled from shareholders and bonus pools. Great work brings financial success rather than thinking about money before creativity. The second is to leave a legacy of creativity both in my own work and with those I believe in. I am very proud to have worked with people like Garrick Hamm, Bruce Duckworth and Mark Girvan and now I want to mentor Taxi Studio to be masters of excellence. I am in the business of the big idea beautifully crafted.

What has been the biggest change in design since you started?

The Apple Mac. Technology has made design a commodity if driven by the wrong hands. In the right hands it can achieve greatness quicker. But never underestimate the power of a drawing. I show my clients drawings where I have concentrated on solving the problem with ideas not by superficial slick Mac printouts. 

What is your favourite project, that you’ve worked on?

Sorry, typical designer answer, but there are three projects. First: the work I did for Guiness’s sponsorship of the rugby World Cup. The idea of the rugby ball instead of the traditional shamrock in the top of the pint was a simple idea. Second: the design of Peroni, as it has become a classic. I crafted every element of the label and sales are still strong. Third: the creation of the Penderyn Welsh Whisky brand. As a Welshman it’s an honour to do work for a home-grown business that has become an international success. 

What is your favourite project, that you haven’t worked on?

I always wanted to redesign Gordon’s Gin and Martini. In fact I did some exploratory work on Gordon’s many years ago but it never came to fruition. Martini has lost its heart and I want to put it back! 

What was your biggest mistake?

Not going to work in New York for Michael Peters Group. It would have given me more perspective. And not setting up my own business sooner to call the shots. 

What is your greatest ambition?

To leave a creative legacy amongst my peers and be respected for my work. 

Who is the most inspirational person you have worked with?

Michael Peters got the very best out of me by driving me very hard. He could see potential in every project as a creative opportunity. Michael Wolff has been a massive influence on me recently as he sees the solution to problems so clearly. 

What piece of advice would you give to people starting out in design?

Read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. It’s all about the experience and time you put in and the reward you get out. Concentrate on doing great work, this business is not a job but a vocation.