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Nano Bits. When Nano Meets Print.

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As a young printing equipment salesman in the 1970s and 1980s, there were a few key items of equipment that you needed in the car when you were out and about. Of course you needed a bag of coins to use in the phone box when you needed to make a call. There was a box of catalogues and brochures, along with price lists and spec sheets, and then there was also the indispensable A-Z map of the city you were visiting.

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In a move that has caused some shock waves in the UK retail industry, John Lewis the eponymous retailer beloved by the UK’s middle classes has announced a £2 charge for any orders under £30 placed online for “click and collect” at their stores.

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In a typical case of “well they would say that wouldn’t they” the US Postal service has just published a study that suggests direct mail is much more effective than digital advertising. Since nearly a third of their annual revenues depend on direct marketing, it’s hardly surprising that they sought to prove the effectiveness of the method of marketing. But the figures that they highlight are very interesting to view.

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I don’t very often go to the supermarket with my wife – she claims that we spend more when I am with her. I am sure that’s not true as I will always try to switch to the own brand products when she is not looking. But one of the things I have noticed on my rare outings, is that there seem to be lots more products available than I remember there were a few years ago.

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If you will pardon the unintended pun, paper has been getting a lot of bad press over the last few years. You know the sort of thing I mean – “Please don’t print out this email – think of the environment.” and explanations by the activists of the amount of energy consumed in the production of each sheet of paper.

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I was chatting to my old mum (nearly 100 years old and still as sharp as a tack) the other day about her shopping habits. Of course she doesn’t do much of it now and is well looked after in a care home around the corner from us. But she has very strident views on the changes in the shopping experience over the years, and the decline in customer service as supermarkets replaced our high street shops in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

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I was rather shocked to read the news over my breakfast the other day that Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of the ubiquitous search engine, had invested in a company that essentially just produces books.

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I doubt many users of computers and tablets will have heard of Hermann Zapf, yet his legacy is to be found in all versions of Windows and Apple operating systems in the form of the typefaces which are used every day.

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