‘A’ what??? And what’s a ‘C’???

It's Only Paper

We are often asked what size is A4? Easy 210x297mm but how does it work? Well the higher the number the smaller the size. The size is changed by halving the long edge. So A5 which is the most popular size for leaflets is half the long dimension of A4 so: A4=210x297mm  and A5=210x148mm so what do you think A6 is? Yes you got it… A6=148x105mm. A6 by the way is the size of a Post card and many pads are A6.

So what is a ‘C’ size i.e. C4? The ‘C’ sizes are designed for envelopes so an A4 letterhead will fit unfolded in a C4 envelope and an A5 piece of paper unfolded in a C5 envelope and that’s it!

So What is D/L

The only fly n the ointment is why does a piece of A4 folded to 1/3 A4 fit into what’s called a ‘DL’ envelope? What does it mean if YOU know let us know!

As printers Promotion House buys it’s paper in the ‘SRA’ size range usually SRA2 = 640x450mm, this is an oversized ‘A’ size, so when we print on it we can get the trim marks, and any bleed (part of the design that goes off the page) within the paper so when finally trimmed the job is neat and has a professional finish!

There are other sizes within the metric system ‘RA’ which is slightly smaller than ‘SRA’ and there is also a ‘B’ series. But generally the ‘SRA’ is used for printing and the ‘A’ series are the finished size!

The technical stuff:

  • The definition of this size system is ISO216.
  • The A0 size which is the corner stone of  the paper sizes has an area of 1 Meter Square.
  • If you divide the height by the width of any size the square root is 2 which equals 1.4142.

Have fun it’s only paper!

Live long and Prosper

The Print Doctor


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This series of Blogs is aimed at taking a light hearted look at your printing and at the same time save you from making a terrible mistake and SAVE you money!

Part Six – Folders are expensive to produce but very effective a marketing tool… BUT there are ways to save money!

The Difinitive 'Scrooge' are you?

Money is tight and cash flow nonexistent but analyse what you need to market your products and services, folders are expensive but when used in the right way one of the most effective marketing tools! So don’t be like ‘Scrooge’ don’t be short sighted, read on….

Firstly you need to decide if your product or service needs a folder, it is fairly obvious that a gardener mass leafleting an area isn’t going to spend 75p plus each for a folder to promote his service! But if you business tenders for large contracts, or has different services or products then a folder would be perfect. You can tailor it’s contents, which leaflets etc to the particular prospect. The folder may contains more than one pocket, perhaps for a CD or D/L (1/3 A4) leaflet. The folder may have a capacity (thickness) so it can hold many or thick documents or pads

REMEMBER it can’t be stressed enough make the folder generic, strong on corporate style, but with NO information that can go out of date, you don’t want to spend a £1,000 or more on a folder with prices that will change or the chancellor changes the rate of VAT! You paid for these things you want to use every last one!

You try and cut it on a Guillotine

So what can be done to save money, well one of the big costs in folder production is making the cutter, if you imagine the pocket opened out and the folder laid flat on the table it is a very funny shape, and you can’t cut it out on a guillotine, so it has to be die cut to shape and you need a cutter! These can be re-used and last for ages and then even when worn, re-knifed. So Promotion House like all printers have a stock of existing cutters, choose one of them and save £100! Then someone has to make the folder up, it is scored at the same time it is die cut, but it has to be folded and the pocket glued! But we like a lot of printers we have a cutter that after printing and die cutting is supplied flat, and you the dear client can fold and make up to create the finished folder no gluing, no double sided tape just a saving, just ask your printer. Should save at least £100!

SAVE REAL CASH - thanks to the Print Doctor

So if your business needs a folder then you can save £200, thanks to the Print Doctor always in JUST ASK!

Live long and Prosper

The Print Doctor

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We All Have a Bad Year!

Well it’s my birthday and hows my year been? As the Queen would say ‘Annus Horribilis’ so we all have them!

It seemed like such a good idea at the time, buying another printing company to ad to PH! It meant we had a better machine portfolio and increased turn over! I was so sure I had all the angles covered! I spent 14 months negotiating the deal to acquire Wind Printers and had a great plan all worked out! Wind Printers wouldn’t fit into my existing plant but my dear friend Arthur had a farm and he created a superb unit for us, I would move Wind into it rent out the space I own and then move PH into it, simply!

But then the real tragedy my dear friend Arthur died…..   some people me, me, me that’s all they think about! No really he was a dear friend and I miss him terribly! But the deal was still OK I had it covered, I was buying there £8,000 per month turn over a month, it would just about cover there costs!… WRONG Thanks to the recession and some client loss not even £3,000 per month! Haemorrhaging money all year now, panic, panic!

By September it meant close it or the whole lot collapses by Christmas! Loss by now £28K!  OUCH!!!

There's Always a Crook

So we moved back here but was fate finished with me? Oh No! Just for good measure I then got sued for unfair dismissal by the employee who said he would come with us on numerous occasions, even helped plan the new layout then only said he wouldn’t move after it was to late then tried to claim nearly £10K.

Is There any Justice?.... NO!!

The judge accepted he said he would come on many occasions, never expressed any reservation, that we offered him his expenses, that he only told us he would not when it was too late, but then said he had still be made redundant… cost £4K

He took no legal advice just chanced his arm, down loading the forms from the internet in March (his computer even dated them) which was the original date of the move to Arthurs, I think you would agree a cynical ploy! Employment law sucks in the United Kingdom! It may cross your mind ‘ was this obtaining money by deception?’

Oh well such is life lets hope the new website works… take care guys and don’t get deceived!

Live long and Prosper

The Print Doctor

PS If she who must be obeyed says once more ‘I told you so’ I think my ears will BLEED!

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A Light Hearted Blog, poking fun at little brother!

That's not me.. is it?

Well it’s Sunday and my brain is in idle mode, I look out of my office window here in Kent the sun is beaming down and it is very warm even though it is 1st May the Royal Wedding was two days ago and the comparison with the past and the present is uppermost in my mind.

All printers think that the internet is a great gimmick, but it will never catch on and we feel sorry for all those web designers and all those people who spent their money on having a web site made (hang on didn’t we do that, yes we did, there’s one born every minute and we fell for it too!). As a printer I always have a mental picture of the internet as ‘just the latest fad’ just like ‘Deely Boppers’ you remember.. stars and glittery things on springs you wear on your head, well that’s the internet ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time!’

Deely Boppers - Were they really such a good look?

Now don’t get me wrong I assume it might stick around a little longer than Deely Boppers, but tell me how much use is your internet in a power cut, oh yes you shriek! Got him…. my lap top has batteries… well ‘numpty’ what about your broad band connection? Yes, yes you have a dongle but we all know how rubbish they are! In any case working in the dark and the average life of a lap top battery being about the same length of time as it took for your ‘made in China’ Deely Boppers to fall apart, you won’t achieve much!

And another thing, try sitting in a restaurant and reading the menu from a computer! Or sit in the bath with your big toe stuck up the hot tap trying to read a brochure or leaflets! WELL???? In the latter case (and don’t try it at home) electricity and bath water do not go well and if you are not careful you will fry your ‘Deely Boppers’ and that has to hurt!

I Just Wanted to Phone my Mum

Now I know what you are thinking… who is this old fart?  But I am can’t imagine a waiter coming to your table and writing your order down on the equivalent of a smart phone instead of a pad! And there’s another contradiction in terms smart phone, try using one with anything thicker than a spring from your Deely Bopper, certainly don’t bother trying to use your finger, or is it me? Do I alone have chunky fingers? Does it not occur to anyone that the old saying is true… ‘Jack of all trades and master of none?’ So why keep trying to cram more and more functions on a phone it just means it does them less and less well, and as for making a telephone call forget it, you will have opened the internet, started a game of Space Invaders and photographed your Deely Boppers with the built in camera all before you manage to make a call!

Oh well it’s just me….    Live long and Prosper

The Print Doctor

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This series of Blogs is aimed at taking a light hearted look at your printing and at the same time save you from making a terrible mistake and SAVE you money!

Part Five – Wedding Stationery – The Big Day – get the detail right!

Everyones Big Day is THEIR Big Day!

Today is the Royal Wedding, William and Kate as I write this are in the Palace tucking into lunch! A wedding is a huge event for any family, we may not all have a Queens ransom to pay for it but we want it to be ‘the best day of our life’! So where to start when it comes to wedding stationery believe me you want to keep the ‘in laws’ happy (or do they feel more like ‘outlaws’!).

The first question is design, you have seen leaflets for your local printer and you go and see him. The first choice is bespoke or off the shelf, believe me off the shelf will look great but it’s like a rented suit, not personal and not YOU! What is ‘off the shelf’ you ask the sage of the print world, ‘well’ he says ‘we have these books of samples, they look beautiful’, and so they are, they will have guilt edges and fancy lace die cutting, not cheap, but very polished and a lot cheaper than if you were paying for a one off design with guilt and all the rest of the fancy trimmings. But is that you? You will also be able to get all the ‘bits’ to match, cake boxs, serviettes, napkin rings, and anyone else can have exactly the same!

Uncle Dick Could re sight his Poem

Bespoke is you and probably cheaper than the rented suit! But more importantly it’s YOU. I have to say it will be a little more work, but it will be worth it! Think about what you want to incorporate, the colour scheme is first build the image you want to create. You can ad ribbons that match the dress. Maybe that poem by Uncle Dick, although probably not the one about the dwarf he re sights when drunk! You can use a drawing or dried flowers or leaves to suit the time of year (although you may have to stick them on yourself, it depends on your printer) or anything that makes it personal to you. You may not get cake boxs and serviettes to match but you can use the design in the day and evening invitations the service sheets the menus on the table and table plan. I have seen all sorts of designs even a theme using the old ‘love heart’ sweets. The one thing they all had in common was that they were more memorable than a rented suit!

Remember be creative – be yourself – it’s your day!

Live long and Prosper

The Print Doctor

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It’s  Easter Sunday and I am in philosophical mind about the Human Condition.

What defines us as humans and more over what makes us conscious thinking beings? I would contend that one of the main proofs of our intelligence is our ideas and free thought and these are manifested and are recorded as the written word. As Descartes famously put it “I think, therefore I am” But these would be as tumble weeds in the dust or wisps in the wind if it were not for the proliferation and dare I say it the commercialisation of the written word by the use of the printing press.

Human Ideas

I would argue that the printing press has proved to be the most powerful tool in the history of mankind for both good and evil! Religion, Science, Philosophy and all the great tracts of human knowledge would have gone unheard and unheeded if it were not for the printed word. But having given us the greatest tool for good the supreme being (whatever you perceive him to be) forgot to give us the ability and self control to use it wisely. But fortunately another of our defining features as human beings is our unerring ability to be optimistic and (with the exception of some defective individuals) basically at heart, good!

Does it make a sound if no one is there to hear it?

Consider: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The same analogy can be applied to human knowledge and the mass circulation of it in the printed word! If knowledge goes unread and therefore unknown does it have meaning? Does it have any value?

So the proliferation of ideas has to be crucial to our advancement as a species and it is with hope we move forward because although the printed word will be with us for many years to come the proliferation of ideas is exponentially increasing with the ultimate proliferation… the WEB so consider is the web ‘a web to communicate the salvation of the species or a spiders web of entrapment’ it will depend on the ideas we generate and the knowledge we send out into the world!

Food for thought this Easter Sunday and would you even know it was Easter Sunday if someone sometime hadn’t written it down?

Live long and Prosper

The Print Doctor

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This series of Blogs is aimed at taking a light hearted look at your printing and at the same time save you from making a terrible mistake and SAVE you money!

Part Four – Why doesn’t my ink work???

In an earlier Blog I banged on about Pantones, what’s a Pantone, too boring to go through again read the Blog. :) I also touched on Process Colours C.M.Y.K. which is the process used to print leaflets, magazines posters etc. But there are times when the ink just doesn’t work, and in this Blog I wanted to tell you about a couple of the problems I have come up against in my career so you might avoid the same problems.

Fools Gold?

It is impossible to make a metallic colour such as Gold or Silver out of the process colours and it is necessary to buy a ready mixed colour, beware they are metallic looking but WON’T look as metallic as ‘Gold Foil’ or ‘Aluminium Cooking Foil’. If you really want it to look like that then ‘Foil Blocking’ is the answer. That said they won’t look metallic at all if you print them on uncoated paper, if you do the ink soaks into the paper and silver ink for example just looks grey! Life can be a pain, because if you are producing invitations and you want gold or silver print then when you print on coated paper you will have trouble writing on the paper without it smudging!

All the colours of the Rainbow... but are they?

Another big problem with ink to remember is, that all inks with the exception of black are transparent. I remember the lady that would not accept that if we printed white ink on a special red paper she liked that the ink WOULD be white we tried over and over, but know he knew best. So we went ahead and printed and yes of course the text was pink, so we over printed it and it never ever became completely white even using what’s called Opaque White! She was the incandescent with rage! Some people! The only way around coloured type on a coloured paper is either to accept the colour will vary or print the background with the colour you want, reverse the type out and in fill with which ever colour you want or just leave it white… SIMPLE!

The only real gold... CHEERS!



Live Long and Prosper

The Print Doctor


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This series of Blogs is aimed at taking a light hearted look at your printing and at the same time save you from making a terrible mistake and SAVE you money!

Part Three – The Letterhead – Nobody Cares!!!

When I was a young apprentice clients would frighten the crap out of you by finding every little fault with anything you printed for them from their leaflets, pads and particularly their stationery and to be honest because of that we always strive to print everything to the highest possible standard so it was not a NOT a bad thing! Even the throw away menus, it is instilled into you as a young apprentice that nothing is ever perfect and to check and double check everything! SO…..

Why, oh why do the same clients now think it is the perfect way to present themselves to there client by printing there own letterheads on the computer at home?? Ever heard the expression ‘don’t spoil the ship for a hapeth of tar’? Is your reputation worth so little? Get them printed properly for your own sake. The artist spent years learning how to produce layout, choose fonts, and selected material, but you can do it without any training?? The printer spent £100K buying a printing press, makes printing plates, trimming on a guillotine, but you chose something better for £50 in PC World!

Oh and just for fun… imagine how pleased your client will be when he reads your letter over his coffee spills a drop on your letter and the ink runs all over his shirt! That should get you the contract … I don’t think!

So invest in your reputation and don’t please don’t print your own letterheads it is an investment to do it properly. Oh and by the way the same applies to business cards, they don’t look good with a perforation all the way around the edge!

God I feel better for that!

Live Long and Prosper

The Print Doctor

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This series of Blogs is aimed at taking a light hearted look at your printing and at the same time save you from making a terrible mistake and SAVE you money!

Part Two – The Leaflet – Junk Mail? or Information to Satisfy your Clients Needs!

Don't leave your arse sticking out you know what will happen!

Well the first Blog was OK but now he’s at it again! Blogging about leaflets! Pass me the Fire Bucket and let me stick my head in the sand…. the only problem is when you do that your arse is in the air and we all know what can happen when you are in that position… you and your business get shafted (an English expression meaning you get taken advantage of) that doesn’t really make it sound any better, oh well it’s serious stuff!

Ego Maniac or Shy & Retiring?

In these tough times your marketing budget has to stretch, so don’t waste the opportunity when you get your leaflets printed. ARE YOU AN EGO MANIAC??? Do you make General Geddafi look like an introvert? Then why plaster your or your company name across the leaflets you print? Your customer doesn’t give a toss about your name. Of course there are exceptions you may want to shout about the ‘Mr. Sizzle Sausage Company’ but keep your mouth shut about the ‘Adolf Hitler School of Gas Fitting’. But generally you are selling your product not your name!

Sell The Sizzle NOT the Sausage

And there is the key you hear the worlds leading marketing companies pontificate about Psychometrics, Demographics, Stereotypes what a load of CRAP! There is a one word key to marketing and it is…. SAUSAGESAUSAGE is the key, for example you don’t say ‘I have this Pigs Gut or Plastic Tube (isn’t that a condom?) filled with bits of pig meat (it is a condom) with bread crumbs, and looking like a guy does after a heavy nights drinking!’ No you sell the Sizzling Golden Brown Sausage filling the air with the scent of herbs, mouthwatering and wholesome and full of natural products. Sell the Sizzle not the Sausage – sell the advantage to the customer.

It's just not my day!

Cavemen, we are descended from cavemen, they didn’t know that a Sabre Tooth Tiger was called a Sabre Tooth Tiger, but you can be bloody sure they knew what it looked like! If they did not WE would not be here. Your leaflets are the same, I am old, but even when I was young I had a rubbish memory for names, but I always remember what somebody looked like and what they did and there’s another clue to success, 


even though you know what a sausage cooking looks like when you see it your mouth waters, for example if you are printing leaflets that are menus then the pictures are crucial you have to imagine the prospect sitting in his chair

feet up, and your menu has to make him shift his backside, choose the pictures carefully!


So there we have it, don’t be an ego maniac, sell the sizzle and make their mouths water… simply!

God I feel better for that!

Live Long and Prosper

The Print Doctor

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This series of Blogs is aimed at taking a light hearted look at your printing and at the same time save you from making a terrible mistake and SAVE you money! 
Part One – The Business Card, it’s an ad, a leaflet, a call to action all rolled into one!


Oh no he’s going to write a Blog about business cards! This should cure my insomnia! But before you start counting those sheep or dreaming about the love of your life or alternatively have a nightmares about her mother consider this! You get one chance to make a first impression and you don’t want that to be your flies undone! But something positive and the thing you leave with the prospect is your business card! So you must agree it is important!

'They look OK to me!'

The fashion and like all fashions it’s a daft idea – remember platform shoes guys – not good when you come out of the Disco on a Friday night…. Disco? Stop sniggering all the under 30’s wearing your jeans around your knees is not a good look and no your boxers aren’t that attractive! Sorry wandering off subject… but laminating what a daft idea, try writing a note on a laminated card.. you can’t, and covering a card in plastic is not a good move for the planet! So why pay more for it?

For the same reason why print your business card in a solid black or dark colour you cant scribble a note on it, and your prospect may have been depending on that note – especially if the tip for the 3.30 at Lingfield came in first!

'You too could look like a Cricketer's Crutch'

Much the same applies to using coated boards it’s great the way if you don’t seal them the ink come off on your shirt when you put them in your pocket and makes you look like a Cricketers crutch!

Remember also there is a back to the card so why not use it! It will cost a little more, but you could bullet point what you do in more detail and get more business which will more than cover the few pounds extra it cost to print the back! The business cards you give out are sales tools leaflets if you like so use them!

I am old but not that old, so why oh why do some people (and not just opticians) use such small type this a business card not an eye test, with type so small that even if you never abused your yourself you still can’t read it without the aid of Jodrell Bank (it’s a telescope dear keep up!). But you see it time after time so no text under 6 point Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

'Hows the new Wheel design going my boy?'

And finally I have seen it flaunted by it’s proud owner the very big or very small business card, look they gleefully scream like over excited Jack Russells look I chose this because it’s different! A square wheel is different, but we don’t use them because they don’t work! The little ones we lose and are two small except for the microdot text size and then old gits like me can’t read them even worse the over sized card which won’t fit in your business card holder – TWIT! The normal size is between 48-55mm x 85-95mm they are boringly that size for a reason!

God I feel better for that!

Live Long and Prosper

The Print Doctor

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