Archive for December, 2012

Are We More Specialist In The UK?

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

With digital print rapidly making gains in some parts of the world is it time to reassess where the UK are internationally?  The Arab spring and the rapid commerce develops in the United Arab Emirates over the last decade have caused a surge in advertising and marketing and this has meant a surge in print in these areas of the globe, but since printing on this scale is relatively new to these regions is the UK more specialist?

The UK print industry

The UK print industry is a vital economic contributor and employer in all UK regions.  According to research carried out by Pira International it is the fifth largest producer of printed products in the world and contributes almost £1 billion to the UK’s balance of trade.  It has a turnover of $14.3 billion, gross value added of £6.4billion and employs nearly 140,000 people in around 10,500 companies.  The industry has a long history in the UK with the first printing press installed at Westminster in 1476 by William Caxton.  This long history enriches the services we can offer today. From the big printing companies to the lone craftsmen delicately finishing an item the UK print industry offers a rich variety of different services and is able to collaborate amongst itself to provide costumer’s with finished products which combine a whole host of expertise and craftsmanship.  Other areas of the globe may be starting to pour big money into their print industries, but can they really provide the same expertise over 500 years of printing gives you?

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia the Arab spring has encouraged publishing and advertising.  Last year the government ordered  a print run of 1.5 million religious edicts banning protests and last year municipal elections saw candidates spending over $267 million on adverts, bill boards and other outdoor advertisements.  With one of the fastest growing economies in the region, media organisations and businesses in general are getting bigger and this means more investment in print advertising, so much so that the Saudi industry is struggling to cope.  Khaled Sadiq, manager of technical and printing affairs at Al Yamamah Press Establishment told print week MEA,

“We are looking to buy machines that print more quickly, as most people now need jobs done fast – many companies are now looking to digital…Overall, people today are looking for more time savings, and higher-quality jobs”.

With increasing demand in Saudi Arabia businesses are starting to look outside the country to specialists in the UK to provide them with the high quality services they are after.

United Arab Emirates 

Like Saudi Arabia the UAE have a rapidly growing economy.  Dubai in particular, known for its exuberant shows of wealth, invests a lot of money in huge advertisements.  Advertisers spent $364 million in the UAE compared with an estimated $344 spend in the US.  Dubai hosts the world’s most expensive billboard costing 1.3 billion US dollars and Motorola have recently created what they believe to be the longest indoor advert ever which is on show at Terminal 1, Dubai International Airport.   Motorola have reportedly experience a “40% update in our sales in Terminal 1 as a result.”

With the print advertising sector clearly in high demand in Dubai various services have popped up locally by like Saudi Arabia the sector is struggling to meet the demand and businesses are starting to look elsewhere for professional printing services.

Leave The Baggage At Home: Pick Up Your Business Trip Print When You Get To The UK

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Coming to the UK on business? Forget lugging huge document boxes on plane for that important meeting and get everything you needed printed out at your destination.  Our digital printing services can print out all documents to the highest quality in no time at all so they’re all ready to meet you as soon as you step off your plane, and it won’t just save heavy loading.  There’s a whole host of reasons why sending documents digitally over to us is the better option.

Flexibility up to the last minute

If you’re going to a conference, international exhibition or presenting at a meeting and you need to print out items before you leave then you can’t make that one amend the night before or add in that essential point which pops into your head a few hours before your plane leaves.  If you choose to send your documents digitally over to us to be printed then you can make essential amends right up to the last minute, send it over before you leave for your plane and we can get it delivered to your hotel by the time you arrive.

No lugging items on a plane

If you’ve only got a few documents you might just decide to take them on the plane with you.  This is extra luggage which can be really annoying and also you’re more likely to damage it or lose it in the process.  Asking us to print out the essentials for you saves you hassle and worry on your journey.  This can go right down to things as simple as business cards.  Why take hundreds of business cards over with you when you can get them printed with us at exceptional quality and pick them up when you get here?


Less luggage or avoiding having to ship them over via fedex or the like is also more sustainable.  The reduced weight on the plane and the reduced carbon footprint of delivering them is better for the environment.  That’s not only a good in itself but if you start to send things over internationally to be printed in the country you can hold that up as good practise amongst your business adding to your green credentials.

High-quality print

Using an actual printing service rather than deciding to print it yourself when you get over to the UK ensures that everything will look professional.  If this is an international meeting then chances are it’s really important you make the best impression possible.  It’s probably not worth the risk of printing it yourself – if it goes wrong you don’t have anything to fall back on.  Professional high-end business to business service will guarantee you the quality needed to make the best impression.

If you’re coming to the UK on business then and you need printed items it makes a lot of sense to get everything printed over here for you.  It’ll save you stress, make you look professional and help the environment.

Fusing Internet Marketing With Print: QR Codes

Friday, December 21st, 2012

QR codes are a recent phenomenon which offer some exciting marketing possibilities.  From bus stop posters, to magazines to leaflets QR codes can be printed anywhere and provide the perfect fusion of print and internet marketing.  Do some great print marketing, get a potential customer to scan the QR code and carry on their experience with fantastic digital advertising.  So how exactly do QR codes work and what’s the best way to approach them?

What exactly is it?

A QR code (quick response code) is one of those little black and white boxes, a matrix barcode, which can hold loads of data.  Originally used by the automotive industry, smartphones which can act like bar-scanners have widened the possibilities for the QR code, and they are now used heavily in advertising.  A person downloads a QR app on their phone which can scan the barcodes and they are then taken to a website via their smartphone.

The best kinds of QR codes

What do you want your QR code to take a consumer to?  If it’s just a way to get them to your website then it might not be worth it.  Firstly, you need to make sure the site is optimised to work on a mobile phone.  The QR should take them to a landing page specifically designed for mobile devices.  If they scan and are taken to a desktop site they’re not going to bother with all the tricky navigation stuff and will be immediately put off.

The most successful QR codes are those which offer a consumer something.  An easy to use voucher, discount or the like will get you the best return on a QR code.  Some marketers like the “element of mystery” strategy whereby the printed marketing is minimal, sometimes just giving a consumer a card with only a QR code on it.  This might make them intrigued and more likely to scan, but you then really need to step up your game on the landing page itself as they might have no interest whatsoever in what you’re offering.  There’s something to be said for clever print marketing which gives a consumer an idea of what you’re about so visitors are actually relevant and have an initial interest in you for you to build on.

QR codes have genuine potential for the future of marketing especially since they offer the unique experience of going from the physical offline world, into the digital online world – surely a psychological experience which can be capitalised on by the right kind of marketing.  The QR codes are the perfect fusion of print services and online marketing; a consumer is more likely to trust your online presence if they’ve been given a QR code in the physical world so it’s well worth taking the time to invest in them.


Are You Reading This? Scanning Digital Text Vs Reading Physical Print

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

You are reading this 20-30% slower than you would have thirty years ago.  Why?  Because this is on a computer screen rather than in print.  Research has demonstrated that that it takes a considerable time longer to read text online than in physical print, so is it really wise for businesses to move their marketing entirely into the digital realm?

How do we engage with websites?

Well arguably, we don’t really.  Studies have shown that users don’t “read” websites so much as they scan them.  Internet habits involve quickly clicking through links, rapid re-searching on Google and switching off as soon as your mind starts to wonder. After all if you haven’t found something you like there are millions of other websites which might have what you need.  Users have no reason to waste their time reading or looking at content which doesn’t immediately satisfy them, even if sticking around for a couple of extra minutes would give them what they want.

This means that marketing in the digital world is a completely different game to print marketing, and if you make mistakes you could end up drowning in the huge sea of other websites who don’t offer anything more than you do, but who happen to have got the marketing right.  This is why complementing your online presence with an offline presence has a lot of merit.  Even if a user does stay with your website or click on your advert with studies showing that people are less likely to retain information from the internet, will your brand stick in their head less, since they can just come back and google what they found before to get to you.  Do they need to remember who you are if you’re so easy to find online?

What advantages does print offer?

Of course you could simply respond that it doesn’t matter if they don’t quite remember your name; if they can find you so easily they’ll Google the same term will come back anyway, but the truth is brand loyalty and brand identity are still completely essential in the marketing world.  The logo still reigns and reminding your customers who you are offline with brandish your identity into their minds and consolidate your online presence.  Here are a few advantages that print offers:

Credibility:  Living a life online is a really new experience.  It is only in the past five to six years that we’ve started to communicate, share, shop and be entertained online.  Radical changes have happened in no time at all and although we quickly get used to the latest social media site a lot of people are still catching up with the internet, even those who use it heavily.  Showing that you exist outside the realm of the digital where both legitimate and illegitimate businesses reach us every day lets your customers know they can trust you and that you aren’t just spam, viruses or fraudsters.

Engaging: If you’ve got something good to say your potential customers are more likely to engage with it if you present it offline.  A great marketing campaign would be consolidated both offline and online.

Less competition? As more and more people move their advertising online is this leaving a gap for the smarter advertiser?  Less competition means more chance to make a big impact.  Whilst your competitors may be off trying to perfect the right internet advert you might be best spending a bit of time on a great print campaign.

The world of advertising and marketing is certainly changing, but whilst others are off jumping on the latest trend of digital advertising it might be a good idea to step back and think about the consequences of putting all your eggs in one virtual basket.  Chances are in the future a balance between print and digital will come to define the marketing world, so why not get ahead of the game and start striking that balance before everyone else turns round and remembers just how good the traditional print road is.

Gilt Edges: A Timeless Classic

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Any piece of stationery or printed item with a gold or metallic edge has what we call a gilt edge.  Gilt edging has a long history and was one of the most prominent decorative finishing techniques used in early centuries.  Today a gilt edge exudes a subtle sophistication which goes with all sorts of looks from playful to formal making it a timeless finishing technique.

The origins of gilt edging

Traditional gilt edging was seen as the most elegant of all finishing techniques and for this reason it was often (and still is) used to ornament the most precious or important books.  Religious books like bibles or missals often use the “gilt on red” technique on the edge of each page and classic works of literature often come with gilt edges in hardback form.

But gilt edging isn’t just a technique used in bookbinding.  Any printed item can be gilded to add unique flavour or look and gold isn’t the only option.  Silver or colour options are also available depending on what style you want to create.

Contemporary gilt edging

These days gilt edging can be applied to any printed items and it’s often used to enhance the aesthetic of business cards, company brochures and like.  Gilt edging tends to give off a subtle air of sophistication but it can also be used to make print look really contemporary especially since it can be completed in a range of different colours.

Gilt edging techniques

There are various edging techniques out there which are used for different applications.  For smaller printed items, like business cards or invitations hand machines can be used and for most applications a hand machine will suffice.  The old traditional gilding techniques for finishing book pages can still be used for larger documents, but this is a very meticulous technique which can be time consuming and takes a lot of precision and expertise to get right.

Gilt edging is a great way to enhance the aesthetic of a printed item in a subtle, but effective way, so if you want to finish off some print with something simple but special then this technique could be the one for you.

Anchoring digital campaigns with the (not-so) humble Christmas card

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

WE were delighted when one of the UK’s leading marketing agency’s, Together, came to us with their latest marketing campaign and that ho, ho, ho, it included a printed Christmas card, no less!

What with all the headlines about the death of print and the possible dip in sending Christmas cards this year following the rise in the price of stamps, we understandably have had our concerns about the industry – despite knowing better of course.

We have always believed that print will remain an essential element of the marketing mix so it is always fabulous to hear this confirmed by our clients. Together, who are on the esteemed Recommended Agency Register and whose client roll call includes the National Trust, Thomas Cook and Nottingham Trent University, went one step further and told us that our Christmas card was to be the “anchor” of their campaign – yes! And what a campaign it is. Known for their innovation and years of breaking the festive mould, Together have launched a What’s Up Santa’s Jumper competition which in their own words is “so thrilling” it brought “tears of anticipation” to their eyes.

To explain, in a super quick turnaround (yes, if you are interested there is still time) we printed 500 pop-up Santa Christmas cards for Together to send to its clients which sets out a challenge to go onto their Facebook page, like it, watch a video and enter a competition. All the marketing channels have cleverly been used: print, broadcast and social. You can check it out for yourself here (and there is still time to enter!).

Partner at Together, Jonathan Turner said: “Being an integrated agency, the print element was always going to be central to the campaign.”

“We wanted the first touch-point to be print and for everything else to derive from that. With our work we are still looking at a 50/50 split between print and digital media.”

“We like print because it shows a very personal touch, more care and attention – something we very much wanted to convey to our clients.”

At Purely Digital you can understand our elation. We have produced a huge number of Christmas cards for our lovely clients in our time – everything from the traditional to the novelty (one year we produced a card as a festive Christmas cracker), and nothing is outside our talented team’s ability – but to hear it confirmed that print is a part of such a successful agency’s campaign really is music to our ears.

If you are a marketing company considering a campaign for Christmas, there is still time, just call the Purely Digital office on 01332 299553 and we will see what we can do.

Alternatively if you are considering another campaign and want to make sure it is entirely integrated, don’t forget print! It gives a personal touch! Just give us a call and we will be more than happy to help.