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Cutting corners doesn’t pay…

I know I’ve written blogs around the topics of design, useful tips and quality of reproduction before. But this seems to raise its head frequently and needless to say, things don’t change. The adage of what goes in is what comes out. Whether it be mail merge data, which hasn’t been prepared correctly, or the consistency is random; flyers that are produced without any thought to the target audience or how they will be engaged with are just a few of the many challenges to great results. The small nuances are the finer detail which is all part of what we do. Some might say it’s the 80/20 rule, but of course, it’s the last 20% that makes the difference.

So here are a few thoughts regardless of what your project is…


Failing to plan is planning to fail as the adage goes. Print is a pivotal point in a marketing cycle, being scattergun with it doesn’t help you. Having a production plan, including textual copy reviews, branding coherence, ensuring imagery is spot on, now’t worse than text saying one thing and your imagery speaking the opposite.

Know your audience

Absolutely critical, mapping this out will provide you with the key approaches to ensuring you successfully engage your decision-makers. This pen portrait will ensure you know who you are “talking to”

Use your budget wisely

This is where your 80/20 rule shows the most. Cutting corners can do more damage than the difference in the saving. Good design artwork doesn’t have to cost the earth. Good printers have experienced designers in-house. If part of something more critical, a graphic designer will add more flair to a larger project. Rule of thumb, design/artwork studio time within a print house will be £25-£35 p/hr whereas creative designers will be £40-£75 p/hr. Getting your design/artwork right will drive the results, so this is money well spent.

Ensure great reproduction

When a printer has been involved with a job from the start, if they have a good background with traditional “repro” as it was called, they will optimise images to ensure great reproduction. Or as one client called it “Sows Ear into Silk Purse”. See the blog on the Lost Art of Repro

Print has never been as affordable

True fact, print comparatively is more affordable than it was 10-20 years ago. So don’t try haggling, you just rub the printer up the wrong way. The advent of digital print has reduced the cost of entry. However, set up fees; disk/file handling charges still apply, as it still requires someone to get your file ready for print. The downside of short-run print (small quantities) is that finishing set up costs for lamination, foiling, creasing, folding and other bindery work.

Working with a good print provider will help you to control your project costs, they will suggest ways to ensure you can measure the performance of your printed item. Printers are real-world people, with significant experience of working across media to ensure integration. Yes, you can ship your file to a big internet shed, have it squirted through a machine, and we know the chances of total satisfaction won’t be as high, a local printer does a lot more than you probably realise, above all they are human, and love engaging with people like you.

Lets get back to exhibiting your business!

HAD-Print is all about service and support. With decades of experience and specialist partners, who are like ourselves, experienced and skilled in unique disciplines. We bring together a package approach for small and medium-sized businesses to promote themselves in the best possible light.

So after 12-18 months where you’ve had enough of the Zoom meeting, done endless Teams 1-1’s you’re now longing for something different. Yes! The physical engagement. One of the top experiences or highlights for any business is being seen at the right trade show or event.

Here are our top 10 tips to ensure your presence and stand is a success:

Be clear with your objectives

Before you even book a stand be sure of your business goals, ensure the event has the right profile to tick the boxes on the audience’s demographics.  Are you launching a product, promoting your products or services or seeking new business?  Make sure your targets are SMART with your targets and event budget.

The early bird catches the worm

As the phrase goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail”. Booking early will allow you to get the best location and take advantage of early-bird rates. This will also allow plenty of time for the design, production, delivery and installation of your stand and promotional material.

Brand consistency

Exhibiting will require your brand to be reproduced consistently across all.  We can help you achieve this, with specialist print designers and our associate exhibition stand designer, getting consistency is easy with us. We work with your brand guidelines with brand colours, typography, logo positioning and imagery to maximize the results.

Shout about it and spread the word

An exhibition/event is a great opportunity to get seen and build new business. Consider promoting the event on your company’s website, email signatures, newsletters and social media. It’s a great opportunity to send invitations to prospective customers via post – building this into a VIP package for when they attend your stand.

Stand design

Be seen for the with eye-catching media walls/graphics, lightboxes, a bespoke exhibition displays are all great ways to entice visitors to your stand.  Arrange a meeting with our associate exhibition designer to discuss your ideas and develop your concept.

** Top tip **
Even on the smallest of spaces, adding height can help you be seen more. Most exhibition halls do have height and stand schemes that are 2.5m high. Chat with us for some canny ideas on how to achieve some height, on a sensible budget.

Marketing collateral

Make sure you have plenty of marketing materials to give to visitors.  As well as brochures, leaflets and business cards try some fun promotional items.  Items that have an onward life tend to achieve more brand presence moving forward. So items like re-usable shoppers a good start, as they are environmentally friendly and get more use than just the exhibition. 

Choose your team

Choose who you want to represent your business and brand wisely, after all, “People like people like themselves”.  Apparel can also be a great way of putting people at ease, both your staff and potential customers. Branded t-shirts are a good way of making your team easily identifiable to visitors.

Make it fun

Exhibitions are interactive events, so try and make it fun! Dull and boring doesn’t cut it.  Competitions and challenges with prizes can be great ways of enticing visitors to your stand, starting conversations and collecting data.

During the event

Encourage your team to appear friendly and approachable.  Set up a rota to ensure your stand is always manned and don’t forget to collect contact details for that important follow up.

Follow up and connect further

Make sure your team follows up all leads as soon as possible after the event.  Automated omnichannel marketing campaigns can ensure all leads are promptly contacted across a variety of media, such as email, text message and direct mail thank you cards and opportunities to set up valuable 1-1 refresher opportunities.

HAD-Print produces on-site in Halifax, West Yorkshire all of the above to support you with your physical items for exhibitions and events. We have a specialist Exhibition Stand Designer in Wayne Clarke at Clarke Concepts who can further develop the design of your built exhibition stand. Coupled with our partner installer we can support you from start to completion on your exhibition/event journey.

Proofing perfection – get it right first time.

Once upon a time (well that sounds like a children’s story), the process of “proofing” was a critical process of producing an item for print. We are in changing times, and every penny counts in a budget, so a costly mistake can be the last thing you need. In a day and age, where online content is always updated and evolves, sloppiness creeps in. A piece of printed collateral will have a longer life span than a piece of digital content.

It may seem like there is never time to proof something thoroughly the first time, but when it is not done, you may end up making time to do the entire job a second time. Just what are some of the things that should be checked during the proofing process? Here is a list to perfect your proofing strategy:

Proof the textual content.

The first place to start is the text. Review all text for spelling and grammatical correctness, check punctuation, and most importantly, the accuracy of the content. One of my early bosses encouraged us to read the text backwards, so read it properly, then go to the end of the paragraph and check every word. If you have written the text and revised it copiously, get a second pair of eyes to be your critical friend and read it. Good editors/copywriters don’t charge too much for this service.

Check the image quality.

Image quality expectations change vastly with different types, colour is a critical item as well. What might view ok on your computer screen, could reproduce differently in print. An experienced pre-press technician or digital printer will guide you through ensure modest colour management. They will ensure calibration from screen to print and different paper stocks. Worth noting that a screen uses subtractive colour (RGB) and we print using an additive process (CMYK) so colours will vary. For high-level image quality jobs, it may be wise to have physical proof rather than just an on-screen proof, as digital printers, we can proof your job on the paper stock. Or provide benchmarking for colour with standardized materials.

Confirm the overall look and feel.

Pages can look very different on screen to when they are printed. Look over the typography, and the quality of reproduction, ensure you are happy with the detail. Ensure placement of images, illustrations and text. Don’t forget to check hyphenation and line arrangement (as us about Widows and Orphans), page format, and bleeds.

Whilst the print process has dramatically reduced in its timelines, the proofing process is something which you cannot afford to reduce. It is the difference between making a modest impression or an excellent impression with your reader.

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