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A Guide to Document Binding

When considering the possible methods for binding important documents or publications, it's likely that the process will be looked at from one of two perspectives, or often a combination of both. The first is how the document should look, and the impression it will make on those receiving it. The second is how it will be used: this might range from a one-off read of a business proposal, or delivery of regular publications such as magazines or newsletters; to training material or user manuals that are going to need to be resilient when referred to on a frequent basis. With this pair of viewpoints in mind, and in no order of preference, let's now examine the four most common binding possibilities:

1. Perfect binding

This process is popular when producing publications such as annual and other financial and business reports, many magazines, and brochures to promote a company's products or services. The finished document will offer an attractive visual appearance, and in such examples as readers retaining monthly magazines, the printed spine offers swift identification of individual copies when stored on shelves. The process is more cost-effective than hardcover alternatives, and is accomplished by using flexible thermal glue at the spine and can bind up to 700 individual pages and their cover together.

2. Saddle stitching

This popular method can be found in calendars and catalogues, newsletters, and a range of booklets, usually with a total of no more than 64 pages, always in multiples of four. Beyond that number, it can be difficult and frustrating for an individual to keep the opened publication flat when reading or referring to it. This process combines a group of folded sheets together, and then staples (stitches) them through the common fold.

3. Wire binding

For large page numbers, this is a popular option. However, the accompanying drawbacks to keeping pages firmly in place and easy to access is that, once bound, it is very difficult to add or remove pages, as the wire combs themselves cannot be reused. Therefore, it's a good choice for a neat and secure report or presentation, but less so for product manuals which might need to be updated in the future. With these provisos, this method, using binds through a series of punched holes, is an inexpensive option for delivering information in a neat format, and can cope with more than 300 pages (using double-sided printing).

4. Comb binding

Similar in appearance and process to the previous method, but using plastic combs rather than wire, this is a hugely popular method of binding. It is in use in many educational, medical, as well as business establishments. With both manual and electric punch options, it can handle a wide range of page volumes. Unlike the wire alternative, the flexible combs can be reused and therefore publications can be changed and updated if needed.

Final considerations

As well as appearance and use, mentioned earlier, another consideration will be both the volume of copies required and the relevant costs. If you are considering which methods would be best for the documents or publications you are producing, our expert team here at Instant Print W1 are always happy to fully discuss the possibilities.

10 of the most visually effective restaurant menus

10 of the most visually effective restaurant menus

From websites to wine bars, graphic design and typography are taking over the world as a stylish and simple way to make your business stand out from the crowd. If you're looking to offer a modern vibe and impactful style, look no further than a beautifully designed menu to catch the attention of customers and impress them with your quality. Here are our top ten visually effective menu designs, and why we think they just work: 1. Batinse Restauranthttps://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/20688417661276...

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An Overview of Thermographic Printing

Thermographic printing is a popular technique which has become widely used on everything from wedding invitations to greetings cards and beyond. What sets thermographic printing apart from other methods is the fact that printers can use the process to make elements of the image or the font almost 3D whilst maintaining a natural aesthetic.

An Introduction to Thermography Printing

British Letterpress have stated that whilst the origins of thermography are unclear, it is known to date back to when engraving was the most commonly used method of font styling. Originally, engraving would involve using a copper or zinc metal plate. The grooves would then be filled with the desired ink before being transferred to paper using high pressure. The effect ended up being a print which was slightly raised.

Although the effect was aesthetically pleasing, new plates were needed for every project, meaning it took up a great deal of time. Although this method is still used, it is one of the most costly. Thermography was born out of a desire to speed the process up and cut costs. By using the moveable type printing presses, thermography was able to save customers and printers significant amounts of money.



How does it work?

Thermography is the combination of three straightforward processes. The first process is the application of the thermographic powder, occasionally referred to as embossing powder. The powder, which is made from plastic resins, is coated on the page, and attaches itself to any wet ink.

The next stage begins with vacuuming away any excess powder, meaning only the inked parts which are coated remain. Finally, once the excess has been removed, the transforming process can begin. This is where the substrate gets moved through an oven and is exposed to temperatures ranging between 900 and 1300C. The exposure to the temperature lasts for no more than a few seconds in total.

During the time in the oven, the rise in temperature causes the powder elements to melt, creating the shiny and raised effect many consumers will be familiar with.


What are the benefits?

The benefit of thermographic printing is mainly its visual appeal. For printers it's an inexpensive method, especially when compared to engraving, and it gives a more natural look than other printing options such as Spot UV printing. Those who use thermographic printing tend to use it on items such as greetings cards and invitations. Raised elements in the picture or font can really make a card or invitation stand out, and the natural feeling of the finished product adds a touch of sophistication.


thermographic printing


Important thermographic printing tips to remember


Intricate designs

While it has many advantages, thermoprinting is not suitable in certain circumstances. For starters, thermography is not the best method to use for halftones. The images tend to fill with powder which spoils the cards. Complicated elements should, therefore, be avoided to prevent this problem. It is also essential to stay clear of small fonts.


Damage and durability

The thermo image may scratch, making the overall look untidy. You will notice abrasion on the pictures and letters. While this is not a crucial problem, you may see your images become dull and unattractive over time.


Do not fold

Thermography uses raised ink, which is the beauty of the art, but because of this, you cannot fold the card, or the raised ink will crack, spoiling the design and ultimately the card.


Blister large solid colours

Thermography undoubtedly creates beautiful images, but if a picture has a large area with a solid colour, there's a high likelihood of a blister occurring. Other than this possibility, thermographic printing has no overall size constraints that should worry you.


Heavy textured papers not supported

Using heavy textured papers is also a problem with thermoprinting. The likelihood of trapping the powder mix in a non-printing area is high. The best paperweight is the standard paper, which weighs about 20lb or 75gms.



There are three heat-related issues you need to make note of. Thermographic printing is a heat process, and some laser printers use heat to print. When printing, the powder mix on your document may melt and damage both the material and printing unit. To prevent this, run enough tests and specify a paper that is laser guaranteed.

Secondly, too much heat may cause the paper to catch fire. Be careful to operate with the right amount of heat and avoid a rise in temperature.

Finally, if the heat is too low, your design will tend to appear uneven. Low heat means that some elements will melt, while others will not. Maintaining the right amount of heat is thus important for a perfect design.


Dry ink

For a well-balanced thermographic print, you need the right ink texture. The powder refuses to adhere to ink that is too dry. When this happens, you will end up with pictures that are half printed.


Best way to use thermographic printing

Print documents

Thermography printing is commonly used to print business cards, wedding cards, gift cards, and letterheads. Thermography is quickly overtaking engraved embossing in printing diploma certificates. It is a cheaper alternative when compared to engraving.


Highlight specific areas

Applying thermography to specific areas of a document is not just about beauty: it also gives prominence to the area it's used, naturally attracting the recipient's attention. If you want a name or contact to be prominent in a card, then this is an effective way to do it without being intrusive. This kind of special effect is hard to achieve with other methods of printing. It gives a more vibrant, professional and intense look than flat printing.


Natural look and feel

Thermography printing also gives a natural look and feel to a card. Machines achieve precision and elegance, but the card still looks as natural as a handmade card. This inherent elegant precision adds to the charm of the card.


Raises your social standard

Thermo printing is also a way to make a statement. Because of the elegance it exudes, thermoprinting makes the card look expensive. This look and feel is an important aspect when it comes to printing invitation cards. These cards are a representation of the person or institution. By using thermoprinting, you can present yourself as classy and refined.


Colours used

The powder mix is available in two types of finishes: clear matt and high gloss. These allow the ink colour to show through. Text and graphics can be printed in two or more spot colours. This means that you can have artwork with two or more colours. Metallic gold and silver are also available. Full-colour pictures can be achieved through four-colour thermography. This process combines the use of traditional printing methods and thermographic machines.


What makes thermographic print different from embossing?

Embossing is different from thermography printing mainly because of the process of making the three-dimension design. Both have raised images, but an embossed image is applied using a two-part tool, one male and another female. The image is pushed to a raise by the two parts. Thermo printing creates an image on one side. Embossing uses etched metals while thermography uses ink and powder to create the design. By the end of the heating process, the ink is raised and thoroughly dried. This reduces the waiting time before cards are sent to the slitter.



The key points to remember about thermographic printing is that it is much faster than engraving. The three simple processes which are used in thermographic printing can be quickly summarised, beginning with the powder stage where the powder is applied to wet ink on the page. This is followed by vacuuming to remove the excess before it heads into the oven for no more than 2-3 seconds to create the familiar, shiny appearance. In short, thermographic printing helped to revolutionise printing and is now commonly used throughout the world.

Graphic design roundup 2017

Graphic Design Trends of 2017 Review


The world of graphic design is continually evolving. Trends come and go and 2017 has been no exception. With a raft of new graphic design trends changing the face of graphic design over the past year, we thought we'd celebrate some of the best ones in our graphic design roundup of 2017. Whether you're a fan of the trends below or not, there's no denying they have been widespread over the past year.

Loud colours

In years gone by, graphic design has been all about washed out or muted colours. 2017 saw everything change. Over the past year more and more posters, websites and more have been embracing bright colours. Brands which previously shied away from bold colours were all of a sudden launching campaigns full of bright reds, oranges and greens. Whether or not 'the brighter the better' trend will continue into 2018 remains to be seen but there's no mistaking the fact that brands have gone big on colour this year.


loud colours

Authentic Photography

2017 saw the much-needed move away from stock photography. There is now a greater demand for content than ever, and as a result, quality images are required. The sheer amount of photos required means creators have generally been tempted to make them as generic as they can. That leads to overuse and as a result, the authenticity is destroyed. 2017 saw designers and content creators realise that in order for readers to buy into the content, it has to be seen as authentic. As a result, we've seen a huge increase in the number of images created in-house.

Hand-drawn Graphics

The need for authentic photography has spilled over into other areas during the past year. Brands have been looking for ways to increase their authenticity not just in their photography, but in their icons and graphics too. Hand-drawn icons and graphics have seen brands being able to establish themselves and separate their brand from the competition. 2017 saw a push back on some of the more clinical designs we've seen in recent years and the introduction of a little more fun. Hand-drawn designs helped brands to introduce fun without coming across as inexperienced or unprofessional.


graphic design



Last but by no means least, 2017 was the year of duotones. Although you may not be familiar with the term, we can guarantee you will have seen duotones in use over the past year. They work by combining two usually extremely bright or contrasting colours on a single image. Spotify were among the first companies to introduce duotones and now it can be seen across pretty much everything they do. Not only has their approach to duotones seen them stand out against other music streaming competitors, but the strong brand image it has created has made Spotify easily identifiable throughout the entire music industry. Once again, duotones is a bold graphic design technique, which was aided in its popularity by the general shift away from a toned back design.

So there you have it, 2017 was the year of loud colours, duotones, authentic imagery and it saw the introduction of a little playfulness into design. With 2018 on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how the ideas from 2017 are built upon next year.




How to Make an Effective Roller Banner

What Makes a Roller Banner Visually Effective


Roller banners are perfect for adding extra impact to your brand communications when you really need to stand out. Being both lightweight and easily portable, roller banners are often used at exhibitions, shows, or in point of sale displays. When not in use, the design is protected - rolled up inside a protective casing. To assemble, the banner is simply pulled up and out of the casing and attached to the top of the supplied stand.

Available in a wide range of sizes and finishes, roller banners are so popular as there really is an option for every budget. However, to really get the most out of your banner as an effective sales tool, there are a few key points to bear in mind:



1. Great design


Think carefully about what message you're actually trying to convey on your banner. Do you have a special promotion running? Or perhaps you want to highlight your USP. The trick is to keep your messaging simple - too much information will mean the banner ends up looking cluttered and busy. If it's difficult to read, chances are your audience won't bother.

Make sure your logo is at the top of the banner, to be easily visible across a crowded space. Your main message should be at eye level for immediate impact but don't forget to include basics like contact information and a call to action too.





2. Stand out from the crowd


Simple roller banners are great for quick impact, but to really set yourself apart, consider going one step further to make your display stand out from your competitor's. There are a range of innovative products available to upgrade your roller banner, like simple joining bars which link a number of banners together for an impactful seamless display.

The added strength allows for an LCD screen mounting too - perfect if you have engaging animated content to display. The more eye catching your banner display is, the more likely it is to be successful at attracting potential customers.

Systems such as these give the impact of a much larger modular display, whilst still retaining the flexibility of a banner stand.

stand out design



3. Attention to detail

It goes without saying that all your branded communications materials should be consistent. Make sure your roller banner is printed in your brand colours and the design and style are consistent with other materials you might be using. If you include images, these will need to be supplied at high enough resolution for large format printing - typically at least 300dpi, set up in CMYK format. The typeface should also be clear and easy to read from a distance, and set up at a suitable size. This will ensure a crisp sharp finish and create a professional first impression.

Along with the banner design itself, giving careful thought on where it is positioned will create the maximum impact from your display. Ensure it doesn't obstruct free movement around your stand, and that no other element like countertops or POS will cover the messaging.

Instant Print W1 supply a wide range of roller banners and can advise on the best solution for your project. Get in touch today to find out more.



detailed design



An Insight into Augmented Reality Window Displays

What is Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality, AR, is a technology which combines virtual images and elements with reality to create an altered reality. But what exactly is an Augmented Reality window display?

Augmented Reality

AR Window Displays

As a window display, AR can help provide interactivity and improved connection between window shoppers and your product. One example of this, which we will go on to talk about later, is John Lewis’s interactive window display which showcased its range of Smart TVs by using their displays to transport customers on the street into virtual scenes.

AR window displays

Why are AR window displays more engaging and attractive for users?

AR window displays are eye-catching and grab the attention of prospective customers quickly because of moving and interactive elements. Often they will automatically become involved in the display, forming part of the reality that the display augments. Once you have the attention of passers-by, the AR displays offer an interactive and personalised experience that can deeply connect with shoppers. Personalisation has been a retail trend for some time now, and AR is really taking it to the next level.


How can AR Window Displays link to mobile devices

If you wanted to showcase particular products through the use of an AR window display, one way to increase interactivity would be to provide additional information to a user’s mobile. AR displays can be created so that passers-by can scan the screen and access extra information about products, such as technical specifications, video tutorials, prices and special offers. It also becomes easy to convert that attention into sales, by linking to a website where purchasing is made quick and easy. Enabling customers to purchase from a screen in their hand there and then makes impulse buying easy.

mobile window displays

How are window displays with AR likely to increase sales

Consumer buy-in is enhanced by the level of interactivity and personalisation that AR offers. An in-store transaction is more likely once this connection has been made. As well as offering easy ways to learn more about products, and shop through mobile devices, the AR window display can itself be used to purchase a product. A recent award winning campaign by Debenhams saw a display used as a look-book for a fashion collection, with customers able to buy from landmarks round London. AR displays are also particularly useful for niche products, as the display provides additional information. Alongside the increased likelihood of sales, customer interactivity offers a unique opportunity to collect data on browsing and user habits, which can give key analytical insight.

John Lewis Augmented Reality Experience

Earlier this year, John Lewis used an AR display to showcase its Smart TV’s. Passers-by at the Sloane Square and Oxford Street stores were able to see themselves on screen and choose an experience to be overlaid, to create the virtual reality. Glass-mounted speakers were also used to provide sound for a more immersive experience.

Window Displays


AR marketing methods are changing retail as we know it and AR window displays are one exciting way to engage with customers this season. With increased interactivity, personalisation. AR offers greater convenience for business to customer communication, we are excited to see how AR takes shape in the very near future.



7 Game Changing Graphic Design Blogs in 2017

7 Game Changing Graphic Design Blogs in 2017

What Makes Graphic Design Blogs Effective: Whether you're seeking out inspiration or you're after some technical information, Graphic Design Blogs are a great place to start. We've sought out seven of the best blogs online, so the next time you hit a creative brick wall, or you're struggling with a particular process, be sure to check out one of these for help:   1. FormFiftyFive FormFiftyFive is an excellent blog if you need to get your creative juices flowing. Initially created by designe...

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5 tips and tricks that will make you a better designer

If you are a good designer, you will constantly be looking for ways in which to better your craft, and in doing so, you will have enhanced and harnessed your skills enough in order to please clients, resulting in repeat bookings.

If you haven't been doing this, then what are you waiting for?

We have put together 5 top tips and tricks that are guaranteed to make you a much better designer.


how to design


1. Welcome and provide feedback

By allowing other designers to look at and critique your work, you are only going to make it better using their feedback. To the untrained eye, your design could look great, but with a professional nip and tuck, it could be perfect. Sharing and receiving feedback is pivotal to a progressive career in design, so get talking.

2. Study your craft

Graphic design is not a trade, it is a profession, so you need to study it in order to excel. Although there are plenty of books and articles available online, look out for free and fee paying courses available in most major cities. Paying attention in class and geeking out will have a huge impact on the quality and professionalism of your designs going forward.

3. Listen to your client

There is nothing worse than providing a brief, for it to be met with something that seems to have been plucked out of the sky. By listening to what your client wants, you are guaranteed a happy customer. There is no harm in providing suggestions using your expertise, however. After all, that's what you have been hired for.

4. Work on something for you

Although you might think the last thing you'll want to do when you get home is to start work on another design project, it is guaranteed to keep the creative juices flowing and help to avoid feeding your personal preferences into client designs during the day. So choose a project and get to it. It doesn't have to be a lonely endeavor, either. Make it something for the home and get your housemates or better half to pitch in too.

5. Source inspiration

Whether it is an exhibition at your local art gallery, an image in your favourite weekly glossy or the decor at your best friend's wedding at the weekend, simply stepping outside and sourcing inspiration from the world around you will feed greatness into your designs. Keeping your eyes shut to the outside world will shut off any kind of creative flow and will cause your work to become repetitive. Grab a fellow designer or friend and take a walk. No excuses.


design inspiration


Instant Print W1 are based in Fitzrovia, at the heart of London. Get in touch with us today for a quote.

5 of the best window displays ever

5 of the best window displays ever

Here are our all time top 5 window displays.   A beautifully dressed window being able to attract new customers is no secret and, with some of the biggest players in the industry - including Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Selfridges, and Liberty, who are well versed in impressing their customers with visuals that surprise - upping their game, it seems other retail stores are following suit. As experts in exterior applications, wall graphics, and displays, we have put together our favourite windo...

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How to prepare a design for the Printers

How to prepare a design for the Printers

At Instant Print, most of our clients will make sure their designs are shipshape before sending them over, but over many years of trading, we’ve seen our fair share of howlers. We will always check our customers’ designs to ensure that they look shipshape before sending a job to print, but the end of the day, the job of the printer is to print, not to check, so we can’t always check thoroughly.   This means that if a bad design is sent through to us, sometimes it will go to print anyway. Be...

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