Monday, November 23, 2015

The Importance of Envelopes

When it comes to business image and impression envelopes can be very significant.

Companies can typically spend £5 for a high quality brochure to send to their best clients and prospects only to post it in a thin manila envelope.

When the package arrives it can be damaged or put  to one side along with the bills!

Similarly you wouldn’t normally give someone an expensive present unwrapped or in a cheap carrier or paper bag.

It is through these little details and personal touches that a business or professional becomes a brand, and the presentation of your business stationery and promotional print is a very important part of this.

The importance of envelopes

Envelopes are so much more than just the ‘containers’ of your printing.

There are differing views about the wisdom of using plain or printed envelopes but the most important factor to consider is to use a good quality protective material.

Going through the automated postal system can damage the contents or simply give the wrong impression when the printing is received.

When a potential or existing customer receives your mail, the envelope is the first thing that creates an impression.

So it not only needs to have provided protection it also needs to stand out.
In case of direct mail campaigns, this often makes them the single determining factor of whether the recipient will even bother opening the letter.

So even if you have the most attractive and impressive catalogue or brochure, it may never get to see the light of day if it’s sitting insidiously inside a damaged or a boring or unattractive envelope with no personality!

The argument for personalised addressing on a high quality plain envelope is put forward by those who send mail to larger businesses where there are one or more administrative levels to penetrate.

Making the direct mail look important – with printed comments like “For addressee only” or “Private & Confidential” helps it go directly to the intended recipient.

Choosing the right type of envelope and where possible making it unique is just one of other the factors that can help make the correspondence more important than many people realise.

Colour is an important factor.  Some experts claim that a coloured envelope can increase response rates by as much as 40%.
Apparently, yellow gives the best response rate for direct mail and black is viewed as the most prestigious colour.

Subtle colours such as ivory, cream or grey reflect an elegance that seems to work well for some products and services.

Window envelopes work best when the envelopes are made out of deep coloured papers – simply for reasons of legibility and avoiding delays at the sorting office.

The volume of envelopes produced and printed has declined with the reduction in direct mail and post generally due to digital communications.
However, there has been a major growth in a declining market for full colour printed envelopes.

The envelope now carries more of a message as well as the company logos to create the right impression.

Seven things to consider before ordering envelopes

1.   Think about what the overall job from the outset, including what type of envelope or wrapping will be used at the end of the process.
2.   Investigate the wide range of standard envelope formats and styles to find the best off-the-shelf options.  If you select a bespoke size it often costs you more for the printed inserts as well as the envelope itself. Remember to postal cost implications of size – which is why A5 sized envelopes, have increased in popularity.
3.   If you’re going to go for a bespoke print format that will require a bespoke envelope, plan ahead accordingly and speak to suppliers about the timescales involved.
4.   Think about the weight and thickness of items such as brochures, and what sort of envelope will be required to ensure they arrive in good condition.
5.   Consider the sealing method – gummed envelopes have a far shorter life than the peel and stick variety because they dry out.  They also take a lot longer to seal!
6.   Don’t leave the envelope decision until last!  They often take longer to print than the materials that will go inside them.  Bespoke envelopes that need to be made up can add a week or two to the delivery date.
7.   Think about the most effective method of addressing the envelopes – direct laser print onto the envelope, labels and window envelopes all have their benefits according to particular applications.

Five reasons why envelopes are better than e-mail

1.    Personalisation:
There are so many types of envelopes in a variety of sizes and colours. You can print custom designs and even draw all over them to add a personal touch.

2.   Shows Effort:
Anyone can type out an email and press send, but show someone special in your life that you care by writing a letter and sending it in the mail. Think of Christmas or birthday cards – how many e-cards do you remember or save?  Then think of the comparative satisfaction of getting a printed card through the post.

3.   Include a personal object:
Envelopes hold gifts, mementos and personal objects, which are so much better to get in the mail than an animated image attached in an email, for example, insert a gift voucher rather than asking the recipient to print out one using their own printer.

4.   Strengthens connection:
It’s nice to let people know you’re thinking of them when using a well-made envelope. Not only does it look good it also shows your attention to detail – and is therefore a solid marketing move.

5.   Makes you stand out: 
     You’re going to have to be a little more creative than usual if you want to stand out from the crowd!  You can get as creative with the colours on the inside of your envelopes as the outside.Or you opt for the full colour printed envelope.

In summary, for buyers, producing a print job without considering what sort of covering it will need could prove to be an expensive mistake, and for printers this represents an opportunity to provide a valuable service.

An envelope that is harmonious with the finished job creates additional brand value, and can elevate the entire piece to another level.

For a few pence more they can have a stand-out product that will set them apart.

Remember, it’s not guaranteed the envelope will make a business a sale but it’s more likely the right envelope will get opened.

The cost of the envelope and the contents probably cost less than the postage alone – so it is important to consider all the implications.

For a quotation for envelopes get a custom quote at and we will advise you on the best options or call free on 0800 0346 007 to discuss your order requirements.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Importance of Letterheads

The Importance of Letterheads

It is said that a good first impression helps to open doors.

With professional printed business stationery like letterheads, you have the chance to impress potential clients and get your foot in the door.

A letterhead provides one of the most important parts of any brand’s image and communication.

It does this by using a simple and careful placement of the company logo and layout that matches your corporate design.

Your letterhead is an important legal document and it must not be underestimated when working on the design of a company’s corporate identity and stationery printing.

If you are a company you will usually include –

  • ·        the name of the business
  • ·        the legal status of the organisation
  • ·        the company registration number (if a Limited company)
  • ·        the registered office – if different from trading address.
  • ·        The names of directors or partners

If letterheads are also used as invoices some companies like to have their VAT registration number printed.

This information is not required on compliment slips or business cards.

A striking design for your business stationery can make your business look a lot more professional and memorable.

For businesses, co-ordinating the letterhead printing with your compliment slips and business cards will make your company stand out from the crowd.

And by continuing the co-ordination with all your other business print products is another way to impress your clients.

Full colour printing is now very cost-effective for small order quantities with digital printing and digital letterheads are now suitable to be over printed on laser printers.

This often saves you money on toner cartridges – as your text is usually just in black so you can use a mono printer or copier for your letters.

Writing letters is still a main part of business communication and is a skilled art form in these days of electronic communications.

There are still many individuals who prefer to write than send emails because it is more a more personal form of keeping in touch.

We may not use as many letters now – but they are still a pre-requisite for most of us as an individual or a business.

The traditional letterhead paper brands like Conqueror and Distinction have declined rapidly and have been replaced by largely unbranded digital papers.

We still print here by traditional methods on textured papers like laid, linen or hammer embossed finishes – and even some of these work well on a digital press.

The range of colours has declined dramatically as the paper mills have found it no longer economically viable to carry a wide range of stocks – and more particularly their matching ranges of envelopes.

Most paper supplied is now either smooth white paper in either a 100gsm or 120gsm thickness.  Envelopes are easier to match up and more economical to buy if they are just white.

But letterheads, remember, are there not just to make your content stand out; a letterhead can set you and your business apart from your competition.

There are some nice finishes that can still be ordered – such as foil blocking, embossing or thermography – but they usually involve a considerable extra cost.

So the design element is very important. Good design gives you a competitive edge – if you stick to the guidelines you won’t go far wrong!

5 Top Tips for the design and print of letterheads

A well designed letterhead can portray your brand as professional and will always give the best first impression to your business. You must ensure it incorporates your brand and uses consistent fonts and colours.

1.   Define your letterhead text.

First you must determine exactly what text you’ll use within the layout. Company name and logo are essential elements to include together with all relevant legal information and key contact details. Telephone, website and email are usually essential. Mobile numbers are included according to their importance in your business. Try and exclude anything that will date the letterhead.

2.   Select your letterhead font.

If a particular typeface had been utilised elsewhere within the corporate identity it may be appropriate to use that typeface within the letterhead design. Fonts should be selected to remain consistent with the company image at all times.

3.   Keep your layout design simple.

It is advantageous to have a professionally designed letterhead created by a graphic designer however you must ensure it’s easy to read for clients. Remember – simple is always best! 

It’s advised to leave plenty of white space for letter content.

4.   Use company colours.

Company colours are typically used to ensure the letterhead design remains consistent with other corporate branding. Use colour selectively for the purpose of emphasising the company name. With spot colour printing you should know the pantone reference colour – this makes your colour more consistent throughout the business and when you re-order your printing.

5.   Test your proof copy.

Before taking action it’s advised to print out a proof copy and carefully review it. Ensure all contact details are correct and ask for feedback off others on your design. Always ask for a printed proof on your first order. The great benefit of digital printing is that you can get a printed sample that will be exactly the same as your printed letterheads. Try this sample in your printer to see how it works.

Remember we have our own graphic designers if you need to get specialist help in this vital area of corporate design.

We also continue to offer a number of printed options and can quote for any quantity or specification.

If you want quick printing we are now printing letterheads in smaller quantities online – go to for more information on the prices and the alternative types of paper!

If you take this option we can supply the design of the letterheads for a fixed cost of just £40 plus VAT.

Contact me for any advice on the design and print of your letterheads or other items of business print – your call is free on 0800 0346 007.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ten top tips for producing a Newsletter

Newsletters are essential for many charities, clubs, care homes, community groups and businesses.

After all, newsletters are ideal for letting people know what you’re up to and why.


For smaller businesses newsletters are still the most powerful way of keeping in contact with your customers and employees.

Newsletter content builds a broader picture.
Especially if you distribute on a predictable schedule to inform readers of sales, promotions, new features, reunions, and events.
Think about the last newsletter you received in your inbox.  
Was it a newsletter you looked forward to receiving or just another piece to add to the daily content clutter?
If it was a piece of clutter, I am guessing the information included in the newsletter did not provide you with value.  
That’s not to say you can never sell your products or services, but the trust factor is the most important element – and that needs to be built up first.
Here are our ten top tips for people who need to create them :-

1.   Be consistent.
Your newsletter is a reflection of your professionalism and a key component is consistency. For most people, a monthly newsletter will work effectively – pick a certain day every month to send out your newsletter and have a “house style”.
Keeping a schedule to send the newsletter each week or month allows your audience to start to know when to expect it to come through.  Who doesn’t love becoming part of their client’s routine?

2.   Provide interesting content.
If you add value to your newsletters, people will actually start to look forward to hearing from you.  This goes to the heart of why people will want to read your newsletter… because it’s interesting or informative. Make your newsletter about subjects that appeal directly to your audience – they’ll know where it came from and respect you all the more for it!

3.   Balance your content.
90% of your newsletter should be educational and 10% promotional. Chances are, your audience doesn’t want to hear about your products and services 100% of the time. While they may love you and want to hear from you, there’s only so much promotion you can do before they tune out. A quality newsletter needs more than coupons and ads; it needs something readers can’t get from your blog or website.

4.   Be brief.
Set a limit of either 2 or 4 pages and focus on writing brief, punchy paragraphs. Let’s face it; no one wants to read groan-inducing newsletters that are dully written and far too long.  You should aim to strike a consistent balance between text and images in your newsletter – images should contribute to your message, not just clutter the page.

5.   Be creative.
Let your creativity out if the cage!  Use all different forms of imagery, interesting colour schemes, crosswords, word-searches, competitions or links to websites – anything that will enhance the interest, effectiveness and impact of your newsletter.

6.   Use e-mail and print combined.
Getting the word out need not be costly with a combination of email and digital printing. Email is now quick and easy. Once it is set up it will become a matter of pushing a few buttons to send your newsletter to everyone you wish to read it within a matter of seconds. Business email newsletters can also contain links to company videos, promo codes, and new features.

But, some people still love the touch and feel of a printed newsletter – so perhaps combine the two methods and post printed copies to your better customers or prospects!

7.   Keep Database Updated.
A critical part of your newsletter is the process of building and maintaining your database or email list.  There is nothing worse than sending the newsletters to a named individual who left the company some years ago – or even worse is now deceased!
Make updating a simple and easy process for recipients as well,

8.   Have a Clear Objective
Newsletters are about keeping your audience up to date with the latest developments in your company. But they must work and that means you need to have a clear objective and keep monitoring by encouraging feedback and engagement with your audience.

Try them for a fixed period of time and then review whether they have met the original objectives set.

9.   Design & Layout
Having a consistent design and layout unites the pages and makes your newsletter look professional. They will also save you time.

By incorporating your company’s colours, logo and typeface you can increase brand recognition and improve the likelihood that your newsletter gets read.

Follow all the other blog tips from Direct2Print. For example, using dark text against a light background ensures that the page is easily readable and not too busy.

Remember, breaking up your text can make it more legible – splitting it into 3 columns is usually a good choice for a letter-size newsletter

Finally – Number 10 - Share the Best Content

When creating a newsletter, one of the best (and easiest) practices is to obtain content from all sources.  Monitoring industry related blogs over the week and collecting and sharing the most relevant is a great way to add value for a number of reasons.

You establish relationships with other experts, providing your audience with the best information available saving them time and research, and saving yourself endless hours each week having to write all the content on your own.  A win-win-win!

If your organisation has a newsletter to print then our range of digital presses are ideally set up to ensure you the most competitive printing quote and we can help with an email programme.

Simply send us your newsletter to be printed on a paper type of your choice and leave the rest to us!

At Direct2Print we offer fast turnaround times and high quality printing.  For more details call or email us free on 0800 0346 007 or

Friday, September 11, 2015

Our digitally printed labels

Our digitally printed labels

Labels come in many shapes and sizes.

They are produced on all forms of materials including paper, card and vinyl.  They can be printed using toner, ink or a range of special finishes like foil and laminating.

As a digital print business we supply a wide range of printed tags and labels to affix to all different materials.

The paper labels are otherwise known as stickers – because of their self-adhesive qualities.

Traditionally we have just printed on paper – but there are still a wide range of options.

Typically the choice is usually between permanent or removable material and matt or gloss paper.

The majority of our standard labels are matt paper with a permanent adhesive for reasons of cost.

When you consider the multitude of size options you can see that there are possibly thousands of permutations – making the cost of holding stock a prohibitively high cost.

So when we set up our online print service we decided to concentrate only on the most popular shapes and sizes for the type of applications that lend themselves to our type of operation.

We can always obtain gloss paper and removable – but they may take an extra day or two for delivery.

We do not produce large quantities of other specialist labels online – but can order any quantity or type to suit client needs offline using our Custom Quote facility.

Digital Labels

Here at Direct2Print we can offer smaller quantities of labels and stickers to fulfil a multitude of wants and needs quickly and without any set-up costs.

Whether you need stickers for a child’s birthday party or labels for a food product, by simply sending us your artwork we can guarantee a high quality product in a short amount of time!

Digital printing means we can supply small quantities of labels on a flat sheet within a couple of days.

The artwork is set up to be printed on an A4 sheet. The number of labels on each sheet depends on the size and shape of the label.

With our digital online print service we decided to sell labels by the A4 sheet rather than the total quantity of labels.

Our Top 10 Applications

1. Warning Notices.

Hazards are all around us and labels are the perfect print product for warnings. Labels on a bottle of bleach, for example, inform you not to ingest the fluid and tell you what to do in case a baby accidently gets hold of it!

Warning labels are needed for all types of product produced by the small business. They are often printed with easily recognisable symbols and in colours to make them stand out.

2. Ingredients.  

Avoiding food poisoning or an allergic reaction is a main motivation behind the need for clear and accurate labelling.

Again legislation is very strict.

A food label including the best before date and potential allergens is very important to include on a product.

Also, steps informing you how to correctly prepare the item before you eat it are necessary as this will prevent any poisoning you may get from uncooked food.

We have prepared labels for “cottage industries” producing all forms of foods such as jam and marmalade jars, cakes and sweets.

3. Personal Identification.  

Labels are ideal for saving embarrassment at business events when you can’t remember someone’s name and you have to make an introduction!

For most people attending a business meeting, name labels can save your life by breaking the ice and preventing you from accidently calling somebody by the wrong name!

We have printed labels so that a name can be easily handwritten on for a number of networking events, conferences and training courses.

4. Promotional labels. 

Labels can be a great marketing tool and a way of communicating Offers or Coupons.

Whether you want to promote a new product or expand your marketing efforts, we can help you get custom promotional labels.

They can highlight a special offer – like 50% OFF NEXT PURCHASE.

They can also just be used to promote your brand – for example, we produce very small quantities of wine bottle labels that customers have used as part of their annual corporate hospitality.

5. Address labels.  

The popularity of mini-address labels seems to have waned with the decline in personal letter writing but the popularity of branded labels for packaging has soared with the growth of e-commerce.

It is also important to have pre-printed return address in case a package is not able to be delivered.

Waterproof labels are also advisable for packaging, as when sending parcels out to customers it is integral to do everything possible to ensure that the package arrives on time and intact.

6. Control Information.  

Labels often provide security details or technical information.

We have supplied printed labels for use when calibrating machines or for inserting dates on equipment or machinery readings.

Asset labels are also a valuable method of keeping track of property that is hired out or away from your direct control or supervision.

7. Price Labels.

A most popular application is simply sticking prices onto products.

Even small scale cottage industries can price up a handful of products with a label that carries the business brand.

We have supplied labels for auctioneers and retailers – although we tend to recommend removable papers.

There is nothing so annoying than trying to remove permanent paper from an expensive or delicate product.

8. Customer Service Labels. 

If something breaks down or is not working you need to get the suppliers information quickly and there is nothing better than having a label on the appliance to make that quick phone call.

We supplied a POS cash register supplier and they found it was the best source of repeat business for paper cash till rolls.

One of our gas heating and boiler maintenance customers always leaves a sticker as a reminder of when the next service is due.

Similarly, a motor dealer applies this information after a car has been serviced – and it works well.

They are even used by schools as a simple recognition of achievement on good homework, attendance or some other form of achievement.

9. Your link to the digital world.  

QR codes offer the link to the digital world.  A scan on a mobile smartphone can take someone to a website, price list or a wealth of information from something no more than the size of a postage stamp.

Similarly, bar code stickers have been used in virtually every industry known to man to improve the speed and efficiency of tracking, stock control and efficiency.

10. Finally – labels are used to cover up a mistake or error. 

How many times have printing errors been overcome by a sticker or label?

There is a special paper label material known as “Bluback” that makes paper less transparent.

Quite a few times we have used it to cover an incorrect telephone number on some expensively produced brochures or reports.

These are designed to be permanent and are virtually impossible to remove.

Remember that labels are the often first point of contact for the consumer, and they will be one of the things that stick in the customer’s mind after the transaction.

You will need professional standard artwork to get the best from your label design.

It’s great if you have your own already, we can work with that and our graphic designers can make minor adjustments if necessary, ensuring you get the best possible outcome.

If you need help contact our Customer Services free on 0800 0346 007.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Digital Presentation Folders for Your Marketing

First impressions are important, and that is what your printed marketing materials are all about.

Smaller businesses are sometimes at a disadvantage when competing with larger businesses.  Their printed stationery, brochures and marketing materials have to stand comparison with companies who may have a much larger print budget and can benefit from larger order quantities.

So when submitting a tender, some information or a proposal how can they present the information in the best way possible?

You may like to include a brochure, leaflet, specification sheet, quotation and even a business card - so the potential client has all the key information to hand to help the decision-making process.

One thing that people often use to contain all these items in one place is a presentation folder.

A presentation folder may need to contain a large amount of information – so they can come in different sizes and thickness for the enclosures.

This type of folder is also quite popular to use at an exhibition, or on a training course or when a meeting requires the distribution of different types of printed material.

What options are available?

We can always supply you with unprinted standard folders or ring binders in a standard range of colours and styles - but are they likely to impress and will they be discarded after the materials are presented or used for other purposes?

We can even get folders, ring binders and carrier bags with a clear sleeve on the front and the spine – so we can digitally print and insert your own covers.  But these covers can also be removed and so the folders and ring binders can be used again.

On the other hand, printed presentation folders can stand out and do not require you to have any binding equipment to hand.

You simply insert all your business communication into the glued flap.

The truly unique ones are those printed with their own branding and design.

They help draw the eye to the company name and identity and help you keep all the important information to hand at the same time.

And nothing says “organised professional” like coordinated presentation stationery.
If your inserts and business cards all look the same and are printed on high quality materials they cannot fail to impress.

So, as a small business make sure everything carries your corporate identity and it will then have even greater impact.

The Traditional Printed Option

Presentation folders have been traditionally printed on large offset litho commercial printing presses that have been able to accommodate the extra size needed for the flap.

They may then have a seal or gloss or matt laminate finish applied to make the surface feel smooth and provide extra protection.

The folder is then die cut and creased with a cutting tool and then folded and glued so the flap forms the wallet holder.  Some of these cutting tools have a business card sized slots added to allow for inserting the card into the folder.

The main disadvantages are the high unit costs and slower delivery.

The high unit cost associated with these folders relates to the size of flat printed sheet and all the finishing that is usually required.

And this is can be even higher if the folders are given a spot-UV finish or any form of embossing.

Then there is the time factor.  As we all need printing as a matter of urgency you would need to plan well in advance.  Delivery would normally be about ten working days.

So to make the order economically viable you would normally need to order at least 1000 and you would not usually be able to get them if you needed them quickly.

The Digital Alternative

Now digital presses can offer some pretty good alternatives for printed folders without the need to order such large quantities.

And with small format digital printing even the smallest companies can now offer good quality and professional presentation folders if you need only a handful of folders.

At Direct2Print we can print oversized A4 or A5 folders on various types of card and can provide an optional gloss or matt laminate finish.

The minimum online print order quantity is just 20 – although in some situations we have printed just one or two for some really important sales presentations.

We print on a single side or on both sides – depending upon the amount of information you need to communicate.

However, we do not print or supply folders with a glued flap. Instead we simply add a clear self-adhesive plastic pockets at a fraction of the cost.

Plastic pockets are available in various sizes to accommodate different quantities of loose sheets of paper.  They are also available as special sizes for inserting a CD or a business card.

And these solutions are totally flexible.  In some cases the customer purchases the pockets separately and can add them according to the needs of each presentation or meeting.

Some prefer to “mix and match” different sized corner pockets on each of the inner sides of the folder.

You could even staple or clip the information to the inner cover for an even simpler solution.

Remember it’s not only the first impression that makes the difference in these situations.

You also you’re your audience or clients to remember you and what you do after the event.

Whether you’re presenting to a board of directors or giving out free samples – a fully branded and customised folder will work wonders for you.

An impressive folder will be something they don’t want to just throw away – and they will be a slightly smaller size to make them easier to file away and keep in a safe place.

So for those important occasions when you need to present important business information, the digital presentation folders are now within the budget of any business.

Giving people a presentation in high quality, well designed folders improves the image or your company.  So whether you are a self-employed tradesman or a small business – your chances of converting the sale will increase with a professional presentation.

And being able to order small quantities and in a couple of days from Direct2Print now opens up a whole new range of opportunities and possible applications.