Print Business: for information, inspiration and insight

Three vehicles of knowledge are delivered in three formats. Information in the form of the website, the magazine for inspiration and the Monday Morning News Ezine for insight.

The aim of Print Business to help printers research their buying decisions, to help them make sense of the myriad routes available to them. It is not to recommend or advise but to help them understand so they can come to their own conclusions about what is best for them.

Editor Gareth Ward has been immersed in print his whole life. He comes from a printing family, he was editor of a major weekly print title before he was 30 and has been writing about print for three decades. He believes that the only way to truly understand the challenges and achievements of printers is to visit them in their factories and talk to them face to face.

It is this depth of knowledge that bring Print Business case studies to life. Each issue of the magazine has at least one printer profile, and often there are two, three or four. There is a section of this website devoted to them.

There is no better way to navigate the maze of information associated with running a print factory than to read about similar businesses and consider what they have done, and why.


Links lead to serendipity


The Explore more… tag leads to related material. These links are not generated automatically by algorithms but by print journalists. They choose the most appropriate links using their knowledge and expertise.

For example, if a visitor has been reading a story about a digital press, an Explore more… link may be about a different digital press, but might suggest suitable finishing equipment that the visitor had not considered.

The internet is a very fragmented place. Using a search engine which searches the whole of the internet can result in haphazard results. Many of the words and phrases specific to the print industry often have another meaning outside of it. A certain method of printing long runs was once simply ‘web’ but now has to be defined as ‘web offset’ as ‘web’ now means the worldwide web.

Imagine the variety of results from putting the word ‘finishing’ into Google. In a way, those who want to look for a solution to their finishing problems almost need to know what the answer is before they can find the answer. If the search criteria is too loose, then all sorts of general information such as definitions will appear. Too exact criteria could produce no results at all. The name of the machine may be on the tip of the tongue, but without that name, there is no help from Google.

The Print Business website has a section in News, Features (the technology) and Case Studies (those using the technology), where visitors can go to All Features. They will then be a search box where the letters ‘pur’ may entered and Finishing chosen from the All Features drop down menu. This will limit the search for PUR to be confined to articles classified under the finishing sector. The visitor has narrowed his search so closely that a quick scroll through the features will probably through up that elusive name.


My Print Business

Journeys through articles that are all relevant but with a sprinkling of serendipity can throw up all sorts of information that would be useful – later. How many times have we been distracted by reading a feature that is off topic but we may not be able to find it again, or even remember it?

My Print Business solves that. Once registered* and logged in, visitors will see something new under the picture panel. There is Create New Folder. Let us say that a visitor had been looking at cutting equipment, but happened upon a foiling machine, a subject at the back of his mind. He can click on Create Folder, call it Foiling, and that is it. The foiling article is stored for reading later.

To access it, the user can go to My Print Business Page, again under the picture panel. Here he will see all his folders with the articles in them. Clicking on the description will take him straight to the page.

If a visitor wants to add an article to an existing folder, that folder will appear in his My Print Business list. He just needs to click that folder. The folder icon will turn red to show that story is in the folder. To take it out, click the folder again and the icon will return to white.

*By registering for My Print Business, users will receive the Monday Morning News Ezine, occasional updates about Print Business and nothing else. Print Business does not pass on its data or send out third-party emails.


Keeping it simple (but sophisticated)

The Print Business website is designed for simplicity. Simple navigation, simple layout, simple to follow, simple to bookmark. However, the simplicity is surprisingly sophisticated.

The layout of the News, Features and Case Studies pages never changes. Visitors always know where to go next. The galley style text is optimised for reading. An average of 50-55 characters and spaces per line is the optimum so the eye can travel across the line and not lose its place. It is as close to an ink on paper read as it gets online.

The arrival of mobile-first website design has had a strange effect: many computer sites look the same. They have a series of large pictures with text underneath. This is excellent on a phone and not bad on a tablet. On a computer (desktop or laptop) the text stretches to the full width of the screen, which makes it difficult to read.

This done using Bootstrap, which changes the layout of the website according to the device on which it is viewed. There are many website templates that incorporate Bootstrap, but they do tend to look the same.

Print Business uses Bootstrap, but instead of simply shrinking the page to fit the device, it changes the layout to fit. On a computer, the main text is to the left of the red panels and photo gallery. On a phone the main text is first and the user scrolls down to the red panels and pictures. On a tablet, it displays as on a computer in landscape mode and as on a phone in portrait mode. And all keep that 50-55 character line length.

As 75% of sessions on Print Business are accessed via computers, it makes much more sense to have the best layout for those sitting at a desk. As most of the material is long format, it makes sense to prioritise those sitting at their desks. But the alternative is there.

And as things change, Print Business will adapt, to provide its readers with what they want. Good quality, reliable information, inspiration and insight.

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Forward Thinking Printers

Forward Thinking Printers

What does it take to become a Forward Thinking Printer? For a start, having a story chosen to be told in the pages of Print Business, especially if it makes the cover.

The type of printer who definitely doesn't do business by slashing their prices to undercut the competition and therefore undermining their industry.

The type of printer who is constantly looking at their businesses and their customers' businesses and striving to improve both. The type of printer who knows the value of investment in both equipment and people.

Here are some of our Forward Thinking Printer certificate holders:

Colchester Print Case Study
Colchester Print Group

ESP Colour Case Study
ESP Colour

FE Burman Case Study
FE Burman

Healeys Case Study
Healeys Print Group

Park Communications Case Study
Park Communications

Story 1 of 2

Gareth Ward

Gareth Ward

What does it take to become a Forward Thinking Printer? For a start, having a story chosen to be told in the pages of Print Business, especially if it makes the cover.

The type of printer who definitely doesn't do business by slashing their prices to undercut the competition and therefore undermining their industry.

The type of printer who is constantly looking at their businesses and their customers' businesses and striving to improve both. The type of printer who knows the value of investment in both equipment and people.

Here are some of our Forward Thinking Printer certificate holders:

Colchester Print Case Study
Colchester Print Group

ESP Colour Case Study
ESP Colour

FE Burman Case Study
FE Burman

Healeys Case Study
Healeys Print Group

Park Communications Case Study
Park Communications

Story 2 of 2