The History of the Christmas Bauble
The holiday season is a time when we all look forward to adorning our Christmas trees with the most beautiful and unique ornaments. With a fascinating history and an important and established present, Christmas photo ornaments and decorative baubles are worth getting to know.
What better way to understand their significance than by delving into the history and manufacturing process of the Christmas bauble? From the origins of baubles as simple fruit decorations, to their innovative modern-day variations, this blog will explore the evolution of this cherished holiday tradition.
What is the History of the Christmas Bauble?
The history of decorative baubles or ornaments dates back to 16th-century Germany, where it was a tradition to decorate fir trees with apples, nuts, and other fruits during the holiday season. These decorations served as a reminder that spring and warmer weather would come again.
These traditions soon began to spread across the globe. In the US, it’s believed that the adoption of this tradition can be traced back to a picture of Queen Victoria and her family sitting around a decorated tree that was taken in 1842. However, they took Christmas decorations a step further by adding strings of popcorn and foil to their trees.
When Were Christmas Baubles Invented?
Christmas baubles can also be traced back to Germany. In the 1600s, a man named Hans Greiner began creating decorative glass beads that could be hung up on trees. This soon became popular, and designers began experimenting, creating glass decorations shaped like fruit and nuts. Eventually, people began adding silver nitrate to these decorations as well, which were then painted and topped with a hook.
In the US, entrepreneur F.W. Woolworth saw the potential in these decorations. In 1870, the first glass Christmas ornament (as it’s called in the US) was brought to market, and by the early 1900s, these decorations were being sold across the country.
At first, these decorations were made by blowing into a mould and then painting or decorating them by hand. However, with the rise of mass production in the 1910s and 1920s, they soon became widely accessible, and manufacturers were able to produce glass baubles in a wide range of colours and designs.
During World War II, the production of glass ornaments was halted due to shortages of materials and labour. However, after the war, the tradition of decorating Christmas trees with ornaments thankfully continued, and new types of baubles were introduced, including plastic and metal.
The Christmas Baubles of Today
Today, decorative baubles are an essential part of Christmas tree decorations, and they come in a wide variety of styles and designs, ranging from traditional to modern and from handmade to mass-produced. They also now come in a wide range of materials, colours, sizes and designs - you can even get customisable photo baubles.
What is a Photo Bauble?
A photo bauble is a type of decorative Christmas ornament that features a photograph or image, usually of a loved one, a happy memory, or a furry friend - they also make for a particularly special baby's first Christmas bauble. These photo ornaments offer a unique opportunity for you to add a special touch to your holiday decor or gift-giving.
Personalised Christmas baubles are typically made of lightweight, shatterproof materials like acrylic, with a clear section where the photo is inserted. The photo can be easily swapped out, allowing for different images to be displayed year after year.
Our personalised photo baubles come in a range of sizes and shapes, from traditional spherical ornaments to star-shaped designs. We also offer a wide range of materials, from glass ornaments to wooden ornaments. They can be hung on a Christmas tree, displayed on a wreath, or used as decoration on a gift package.
Photo baubles are a wonderful way to cherish and celebrate memories, and they make for a thoughtful and heartfelt gift for friends and family.
How are Christmas Photo Ornaments Manufactured?
Adventa is unique in the way we manufacture Christmas Ornaments. The main process is fairly common – injection moulding. The mould tools have to be carefully maintained to retain a high gloss polish, which enables the excellent clarity of the clear components.
Also, the high level of unique automation we have perfected over decades ensures that the product comes off the production line without blemishes. Due to the unique design we have developed, we protect it by registering the design. Additionally, we have very high quality control standards that ensure the parts of made well and fit together perfectly.
TL;DR - Photo Baubles and Christmas Photo Ornaments
Photo baubles are festive and beautiful and allow you to celebrate your life and your loved ones as well as the festive season. Perfect for trees, wreaths and gifts, our Christmas ornaments offer a wide range of uses. And because we value your time, we even offer retail-packed baubles so that you can have these lovely ornaments on your shelves without hassle.
To find out more about our product range, or to ask any questions you might have, get in touch with us at +44 (0) 1686 625 100.
Cardboard Canvas Guide
Cardboard canvases are low-cost and versatile, suitable for a range of creative mediums. Find out everything you need to know to create with cardboard canvas, as well as why you should stock them.
What is cardboard canvas and what are its advantages?
For hundreds of years, canvases have typically been made from fabric stretched over wood panels or bars. This traditional stretched canvas has been challenged recently, with many now making them out of different materials, such as cardboard, which is considerably more environmentally-friendly than chopping down trees.
Surprisingly, some of the biggest advantages of cardboard vs wood are the cardboard’s superior strength and the tension that can be achieved with the canvas medium – if using the correct material and method.
Another main advantage is the premium quality corners that cardboard canvas produces, where it enables you to ‘tuck’ the medium inside the corners, whereas with a traditional wooden canvas, it is folded exterior to the frame, which makes it very challenging to get a neat corner (similar to a gift wrap corner). Therefore, cardboard is often significantly neater than the wood alternative.
In addition to this, cardboard is a lightweight material that can be used to display stunning photographs in gallery format or painted to make your own beautiful art project. So if you’re wondering, “Is cardboard a good canvas?” the answer is yes, it is versatile, neat and affordable.
How to make a cardboard canvas from cardboard?
Some art and craft hobbyists have had good results in creating DIY canvas frames without wood, from hand-cut pieces of cardboard. They’ve created amazing cardboard art projects from just a few simple materials and tools.
However, if you are looking for more high-volume options, where time and consistency are important, there is the Adventa Quickpro system. We’ve designed these art boards to be constructed in just a few simple steps, so they can be created in small or bulk quantities.
For canvas making, there are two designs with the Quickpro system: for smaller production i.e. for copy shops and small printers, the version that only requires a manual stapler is best to use. Truly the ultimate DIY canvas board!
The Auto Stapler is for higher volumes of +100 per day to speed up production. See the auto stapler in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2Li6Z7k6xo However, the new version has an integral corner cutter which makes it even faster.
In our experience, it is much easier to produce a professional premium result in cardboard than wood! It’s faster, neater, and more affordable, and the warped cardboard panels are lightweight and easily stored. What could be better?
What mediums can I use on cardboard canvas?
One of the big advantages of cardboard canvas is that you can use many different mediums if stapled correctly.
The two main types of canvas are cotton and polyester. Both are ideal for the cardboard canvas, but polyester is the most common and will give very good results when printed with the popular entry-level aqueous inkjet wide format printer.
Also, papers work well, including embossed, satin and glossy paper. Normally, it is best to avoid laser printing as the toner print can crack on the edges. We find inkjet best.
Some companies have produced them by printing directly onto cardboard to create a printed cardboard ‘box’. However, this is difficult to market as a ‘canvas’ because it has no genuine canvas attached.
What kind of paint can I use?
If you are creating classic cotton canvas panels, a wide range of painting techniques and types can be used on the finished canvas. Acrylic paint, oil paint, acrylic gesso, spray paint and more can be used. If you’re looking for the best paint for your cardboard canvas, however, we recommend acrylic paints in thin layers.
How to hang a cardboard photo canvas
Similar to traditional stretched canvases, cardboard canvases can also be hung up using conventional nail or screw wall fixing. A feature that some companies like about cardboard canvas are they are so safe to hang in young children’s rooms as, if it does come off the wall, it is very unlikely to cause any damage due to its lightweight nature.
The Adventa Quickpro Cardboard canvas makes mounting easy, as it has holes for both portrait and landscape formats. This is a great feature as you don’t need to stop and think about what orientation to make your cardboard canvas!
Thanks to being lightweight, you can also use specialist removable adhesives. Examples include 3M Command and also the proven option from Adventa. Adventa have the unique StickY-Hook, which pushes into the back integral hole and you can wall mount your canvas easily and relocate whenever you like! Simply visualise it in real-time before settling on its final position!
Want to stock Adventa’s cardboard canvases?
Our commitment to innovation, automation and quality products has made us an industry leader in designing, manufacturing and supplying unique, easy-to-use blank products to suit any requirement. Since 1983 we have been providing solutions for companies like yours, and we are proud to present our cardboard canvas range, which provides an excellent flat surface for photographs or paintings mounted on gallery-quality canvases.
To find out more about our fantastic product range, feel free to browse our website or get in touch with us at +44 (0) 1686 625 100.
Top 10 challenges for personalised gift companies
Personalisation has seen significant growth in recent years, with research estimating that the personalised gift market in the UK alone would reach £1 billion in 2022. This has been supported by customer research, which shows that consumers are willing to spend more on products that can be personalised.
While many businesses have started to take advantage of this recent trend, some businesses are still struggling to understand what personalisation is, how the process works and how they can begin to meet personalisation businesses. Here, we answer all these questions.
What is the personalised gift market worth?
Recent research estimated that the personalised gift market in the UK would reach £1 billion in 2022. While this is yet to be confirmed, the personalisation industry has certainly seen a boom in recent years.
Customer research further supports these sentiments, with data indicating that consumers are happy to spend between 7% - 20% more on products that offer customisation. Additionally, consumers have indicated that they are more than willing to provide brands with their personal and preferential data if they [the brands] take product personalisation seriously.
How do personalisation businesses work?
Personalisation businesses in the UK typically work by using data and technology to tailor products, services, or experiences to individual customers.
This can include using data on customers' preferences, past purchases, and behaviour to make personalised recommendations, customising products or packaging, or creating personalised marketing campaigns.
By leveraging customer data, personalisation businesses can offer more tailored and relevant experiences, which can help to increase customer engagement, loyalty, and revenue.
Examples of personalised gift businesses
There are several different types of personalisation businesses, each with their own unique approach to personalisation.
1. Pre-printed Retail Gifts
For decades pre-printed gifts have been available in gift shops on spinners and racks. Examples include History and Heraldry one of their original products was square magnets similar to https://www.adventa.com/gb/adventa-square-fridge-magnet . This has the big challenge of stock control, popular names selling out and new trending and more ‘wacky’ names never being available.
The Share-a-coke campaign was a simple but clever concept that had a big impact on sales for a well-established brand. This had no obvious stock control issues, but the likelihood of finding your name always seemed slim!
- Print in-store Retail gifts
This has been done for a while in Sports shops to add you name to the sports kit. Other examples include engraving or personalised label in pop-up stores in premium department eg Selfridges stores specially at Christmas. Challenges here are with staffing costs, unreliable software, slow print/personalization process, expensive space and with our local sports club lack of stock on some letters of the alphabet!
One system that has really perfected in-store personalised gifts is www.my-moments.com it is space efficient and fast, plus has the massive benefit of not having to commit to printed inventory that may or may not sell, designs can be added or switched off remotely – a dream for stock control!
- Individually named Promo gifts
This is the next step from solely printing a generic brand logo or message, actually including the recipient’s name on the product creating an awesome reaction and a much higher ‘keep me’ factor! Fun examples include desk calendars using software like XmPie to spell your name in flowers or balloons, etc! Challenges with this system is that it relies on data being accurate, from experience expect last minute requests for additional names which become a hassle, slow and expensive. Adventa have a wide range of products that can simply and easily be printed and created on demand from an office toner printer, simply get a design preset, see the Uprint system in action here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqxoHS5Mjzc
- Online Personalised Gift Companies
These companies represent the biggest part of the market. Examples include Zazzle and Funky Pigeon. An endless range of products is available, check out these best-selling lines where the blank products are mass produced and supplied wholesale to printers from Adventa including Canvas, Drinkware, GlitterBlox, Keyrings. The challenge with this business model is being ‘lean’ in the process. Order values may not be huge and each one is different! Make sure you invest in proven software and consider the whole process from order to dispatch, cutting out ‘touchpoints’ can make or break an print-on-demand gift production process. Check out this neat process example here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2Li6Z7k6xo
Another challenge is the seasonality of demand, expect huge peaks around events like Mother’s day and specially Xmas where extra temporary staff will be required to produce Photo Baubles and Domes. Well worth considering the reliability of your supply change, we know at Adventa how important it is to cope with unexpected peaks in demands!
- Technology and software businesses
Several companies have developed personalisation technology and software that can be used by other businesses to deliver personalised gifts, services, or experiences. If you are looking for software make sure you get a couple of references you can speak to, as from experience software ‘features’ promises can turn out rather hollow! Many major companies end up taking this in-house to deliver the results they need.
One neat feature is to cross sell at the basket, once consumers have spent time creating a design of say a greeting card there is a high chance they will want to simply add another product like a keyring with the same design. It is specially powerful if you can actually visualise their artwork within the extra product.
Where can you connect with personalisation businesses?
With an increased demand for customisation from customers, businesses should be looking to see where they can incorporate personalisation into their product offerings. However, for many brands, the cost of carrying out customisation directly is not feasible.
This is why it’s essential to connect with other personalisation businesses that specialise in carrying out such activities. Events such as the Personalisation Experience (part of FESPA) look to bring brands together with printers and other businesses to see how they can make personalisation a reality in their businesses. You never know, Adventa may even be able to help get you a free ticket!
How can Adventa help your business with personalisation?
At Adventa, we specialise in delivering a range of customisable products, such as wall art, desk decor, candles and more. These products are specifically designed for lean manufacturing. Contact us today to see how we can help your business on its personalisation journey.
Adventa also offer a group innovation brainstorm video call – it is amazing what focusing the mind can really achieve! We share experiences and successes, you can tell us about your challenges, we put ourselves in your shoes to deliver solutions and create new and unique products.
The personalisation market has seen a significant boom in recent years as customers increasingly seek out customisable products and services. There are various types of personalisation businesses that each operate differently. Brands should consider the benefits of implementing personalisation, such as increased customer loyalty, engagement and total revenue. However, this should be carefully weighed against the associated costs in order to determine whether it’s feasible.
The benefits of green manufacturing & green products for our society, economy & environment
In today's world, environmental issues are becoming increasingly prevalent, and it's crucial for businesses to take action. One of the ways to do this is through green manufacturing and green products.
In this blog post, we explore the benefits of green manufacturing, the ways it can be implemented and the potential benefits of green products for both consumers and businesses. Join us as we delve into the world of green manufacturing and products and learn how they can help to create a more sustainable future.
What is green manufacturing?
Green manufacturing is the process of producing goods and products in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. This can include using renewable energy sources, reducing waste and emissions, and various other methods. The goal of green manufacturing is to minimise the environmental impact of manufacturing while still producing high-quality goods and products.
How can green manufacturing benefit your business?
Helping the environment is not the only benefit that comes with green manufacturing. It can also enhance your business's reputation, something which has grown in importance for consumers in recent decades.
Additionally, it can also assist your business when it comes to your employees. Businesses that introduce green manufacturing practices tend to have more satisfied, motivated employees. These businesses also tend to attract good talent.
Lastly, green manufacturing can be financially lucrative too. Many countries are aiming to achieve certain sustainability goals in the coming years and to motivate businesses to join in the cause, these governments have introduced more and more tax incentives for green businesses.
How do you implement green manufacturing?
Green manufacturing can be implemented in a variety of ways, depending on the specific industry and manufacturing process.
Using renewable energy sources
This can include solar, wind, or hydropower to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
Recycling materials, using sustainable packaging, and implementing lean manufacturing techniques to minimise waste and increase efficiency are all ways your business can reduce waste.
Incorporating sustainable materials
Examples of sustainable materials include recycled materials, bioplastics, or other eco-friendly alternatives. Using these in the manufacturing process will be highly beneficial in reducing your businesses carbon footprint.
Implementing energy-efficient processes
These processes can include using energy-efficient equipment and implementing power management systems to reduce energy consumption.
Promoting sustainable transportation
This can be achieved in various ways, such as reducing the transportation footprint by locating production sites near raw materials and customers or by using electric or hybrid vehicles for transportation.
Measuring and reporting environmental performance
This can include measuring and tracking energy, waste, and emissions and reporting on the company's environmental performance.
It's important to note that green manufacturing implementation may vary depending on the industry, product and location. Some industries may have specific guidelines and regulations to follow for green manufacturing.
What are the benefits of green products?
Green products, also known as environmentally friendly or sustainable products, offer a variety of benefits for both consumers and the environment.
Having said that, it's important to note that the benefits of green products may vary depending on the specific product and industry. Some products may offer more benefits than others, and the benefits may also depend on the specific implementation of green manufacturing.
Green products can contribute to a reduction in environmental impact, depending on the green manufacturing practices implemented. This can also positively impact your brand’s reputation as consumers view companies that produce and promote green products more favourably. This, in turn, will likely stimulate increased consumer demand and brand loyalty.
Sustainable products have also been shown to have positive benefits on the health and safety of consumers due to the usage of healthier ingredients.
Businesses that move towards manufacturing and selling green products will also likely notice other benefits, such as cost savings and new business opportunities. Lastly, eco-friendly products can help companies comply with environmental regulations and avoid costly penalties.
How Adventa can help your businesses to become greener
In conclusion, green manufacturing and green products offer a wide range of benefits for society, the economy, and the environment. By implementing green manufacturing practices, businesses can reduce their environmental impact, increase employee satisfaction, improve brand reputation, and save money.
Additionally, green products offer many benefits for consumers, such as improved health and safety, cost savings, and increased consumer demand. As environmental issues continue to grow, it's important for businesses to take action and adopt sustainable practices.
At Adventa, we are committed to producing green products. We are continuously looking for ways to fine-tune our manufacturing processes so that we can reduce our environmental impact while still supplying our customers with the highest quality products. Contact us today to see how we can help your business.
Should Your Business Do Valentine’s Day Marketing?
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, which means that one of the biggest marketing events is too. There can be no doubt about it, the day of love has become a great opportunity to market, sell, and attract new customers.
That being said, is it still as big an opportunity as it was five to ten years ago? And should your business give in to this marketing opportunity, or should you rather continue your successful marketing strategy?
In this blog, Adventa looks at how much Britons spend on Valentine’s and whether it's worth changing your marketing strategy during this period or not. We will also look at Valentine customer activations to try and determine whether you should buy Valentine-specific products to sell to customers.
How Much Do Consumers Spend on Valentine’s?
Valentine’s Day is a big spending holiday all over the world, as the focus is on gifts and tactile expressions of love and affection. Flowers, chocolates, soft toys, photo frames, heart-shaped trinkets (check out the Adventa heart-shaped wholesale keyrings) and jewellery have put back UK spenders by approximately £1.3 billion in 2022. This number has not been confirmed, but we can look at more specific statistics for previous years.
According to Finder, 2021 saw over 40 million Brits (76% of the population) celebrate Valentine’s Day. This was actually a significant drop from the previous year. In lockdown, love soared, with over 41.4 million people celebrating Valentine’s Day in 2020.
In 2021, the total spent on Valentine’s Day gifts and goodies was £926 million (£23 per person). 2020 saw an impressive £1.45 billion (£35 per person) spent. So, going off this information, you may consider that 2023 may be a lower spending year, and you may be right. With the cost of living crisis causing people to tighten their belts all over the country, love might not be on everyone’s minds. However, this may simply mean that some won’t take their partners on extravagant dates. Small gifts and meaningful presents are likely to maintain their importance.
Valentine Customer Activations to Try
Customer activations, in marketing, is the implementation of campaigns, events, and experiences that resonate with the audience, engages them, and generates awareness of your brand. The activation process focuses on guiding customers on the path to purchase, often through an interactive experience.
Making use of customer activations during the Valentine’s period will encourage customers to choose your products above other options. It will also give you a chance to interact with your customers, which will set you up for the year ahead too.
Here are a few online and onsite customer activations your business can try for Valentine’s Day:
- Create an interactive social media campaign
- Create a social media contest to improve engagement
- Encourage loyal customers to spread the love with referrals
- Celebrate different kinds of love on social media
- Celebrate love within your business on social media
- Create engaging, heart-warming video and photo content
- Offer customers exclusive savings or a loyalty program
- Interact with customers to show them how to use your products
- Create a beautiful, love-celebrating aesthetic in your physical store
Why You Should Consider Buying Valentines Day Specific Products
What does your store sell? If you’re in the business of selling flowers and candy, you’re set for a successful Valentine’s period. But if you don’t sell anything Valentine-related, you may want to consider investing in lovely gifts.
The statistics indicate that, in 2021, approximately 40% of UK women were expecting to be given flowers for Valentine’s. Many UK women were also expecting jewellery or candy.
Then there are the cards. Over 25 million cards are sent for Valentine’s Day every year, which is truly impressive. So if you print cards, you might just be in business. Better yet, however, would be image-holding products like the Heart Blox or the Glitter Blox. These let lovers display pictures with their loved ones, making an excellent gift for card lovers and gift enthusiasts alike. Many successful print-on-demand card companies prove the value of adding value to the online sale by offering the card design in a simple product like the key chain or HeartBlox.
Final Thoughts on Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas
Valentine’s Day presents a fantastic opportunity to market and interact with customers. Show your customers some love this year with well-thought-out campaigns, interesting customer activations, and some seasonal gift options. We definitely find this holiday worth investing in.
How to Market to Millennials & Gen Z | Photo Business
Millennials and Gen Z are two of the most lucrative and influenceable customer demographics. These customers are spending more than any other generation, and if you haven’t started marketing to these demographics yet, it is time to start.
Millennials and Gen Z are very photo focussed. The rise of platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok has made images more important than ever. However, Millennials and Gen Z fall into the category of having hard-copy pictures of their childhood, with very few printed photos of their adult lives.
Now, people are turning more to printed images, which display precious moments. In this post, Adventa looks at how to market to these demographic groups in order to capitalise on the photo-focused generations.
Why Market to Millennials and Gen Z?
Millennials and Gen Z hold greater spending power than any generation before or after it, making these groups an ideal, albeit broad, target market. With these groups responding to different marketing strategies than others, it is important to create strategies that specifically target these groups. Here is why your business should invest in specific marketing strategies for millennials and Gen Z:
- Millennials and Gen Z change brands, making it easier to attract them to yours and harder to keep them as loyal customers
- These demographics use devices to buy and consume content
- These are two of the most lucrative target markets, with a high buying power
- They are tech-savvy with high digital literacy, so organisations need to use technology to sell
- Fast growing clientele groups
Tips to Appeal to Gen Z and Millennials
There are a number of ways to target the younger generations to get them to your photo business, in-store or online. Here are our top tips for appealing to millennials and Gen Z in your marketing strategies:
- Make use of visually appealing content: You have, after all, a photo business, so display your products and services in a way that expresses your brand identity and what your business can create. Look for ways to promote upsells, to encourage this group to put their photos to use, eg Air Frame
- Create a website: While brick-and-mortar stores have their place, and most photo businesses require customers to come in-store, having a website is always a good idea. Your website can showcase your client's work, products, services, and brand identity. It is a fantastic opportunity to market to millennials and Gen Z and also informs potential customers that your business can support customers in what they are looking for.
- Use platforms like Instagram and Pinterest: Since you deal in imagery, use image-focused platforms for marketing. Creating a brand-expressive Instagram account and Pinterest board shows potential customers who you are. It also allows customers to share their images and tag you, providing your business with free marketing. Lastly, Gen Z and millennials are on these platforms regularly, so they are good ones to target.
- Pay attention to customer reviews and feedback: Technology has made it easy to find out the quality of a business. Potential customers can find out a lot about your business from the reviews past customers have left and tend to rely on these heavily. So it is important to ensure that your reviews are positive and that negative feedback is addressed and dealt with.
- Showcase your brand identity and sense of humour: Brand identity is becoming increasingly important in marketing strategies. People want to make use of organisations that they relate to, with values that they support. Showcasing your brand humour also allows customers to connect with your business. Humour is automatically interactive and engaging, which is an ideal way to market to millennials and Gen Z.
- Respond to customers quickly: Last but certainly not least, it is important to respond to customer queries and requests quickly. We live in a fast-paced society, and people expect speedy results. Quick responses are always appreciated and will keep your customers from looking for another photo business, as you will already have helped them.
Conclusion on Marketing Your Photo Business to Millennials & Gen Z
Millennials and Gen Z like companies that are creative, interesting, and offer something new to their customers. So, in order to successfully market your photo business to millennials and Gen Z target markets, you need to showcase who you are as a business. Follow the tips provided above, be clear about your brand, and make use of photo printing innovations, and success will follow.
What is Lithography & How Does it Work?
Lithography is one of the most well-known, time-honoured methods of printing. Used for a broad range of printing needs, this medium produces clean, interesting prints and is very popular for these reasons, amongst others.
In this post, Adventa defines lithography and how it works. We will also explore the history of lithography and look at alternative printing methods and how they compare to lithographic prints. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about lithography.
What is Lithography?
Lithography is a method of printing that is ideal for long printing runs. Often used to print packaging, books, posters, magazines and more, this medium is well suited to a wide range of applications.
The word ‘lithography’ is derived from the Greek words lithos, which means ‘stone’ and graphein, meaning ‘to write’. As the lithographic process originally involved scoring a flat stone with a pencil, this name is perfectly expressive of the method.
Lithography has a fascinating history. This method of printing was invented in 1796 by a German author and actor, Alois Senefelder. Senefelder accidentally discovered this printing method. He found that he could reproduce his play scripts by writing them on slabs of limestone with a greasy pencil and then printing them onto another medium with rolled-on ink.
With that, the lithograph technique was born. It was mainly used for musical scores and maps at that point before more uses were discovered and developed.
How Does Lithography Work?
Lithography is a planographic printing method based on the fact that oil and water cannot mix, which is called immiscibility. A special type of pencil is used to write or draw on a stone or metal plate with a smooth surface. The surface is treated to repel the ink where it has not been scored by the pencil. Ink is then rolled onto the surface and either transferred onto a rubber plate first or directly printed onto paper or alternative material. The rubber plate (or blanket) is generally used for printing on material that is not completely flat and smooth.
What Are The Alternatives To Lithography?
There are a number of different printing methods available, and each method suits different applications best. The common alternatives to lithography are:
- Digital Printing
- Screen Printing
- LED UV Printing
How Does Lithography Compare To Other Printing Approaches?
As mentioned above, different types of printing methods suit different applications. Below we explore how lithography compares to other common printing methods.
Digital Printing vs Litho Printing
Simply, lithographic printing uses wet ink and printing plates, and digital printing uses inks and a press similar to a large office printer. Lithography requires more money and time to set up but is very affordable to run from then on, so it is generally used for longer runs. Digital printing, on the other hand, is most convenient for shorter runs, as it is cheaper to set up. However, the unit price becomes more expensive when compared to lithography’s long runs.
Flexo Printing vs Lithography
Flexographic printing is a printing technique that uses flexible relief plates. The plates act like a large stamp, transferring images onto boards. Flexo printing differs from litho printing primarily in the quality of the print. Litho printing is better for full-colour printing and can accommodate more detailed patterns and finish options.
Screen Printing vs Lithographic Printing
Screen printing, also called silk screening, involves transferring ink through a fine mesh screen onto the substrate. The ink, or dye, is applied in specific locations on the garment or alternative material, as some areas are made impermeable to the ink with a blocking stencil. In the past, silk screens were used.
Screen printing is a slower and more expensive process than lithography. In addition to this, litho printing results in more defined, detailed prints than silk screening.
LED UV Printing Vs Litho Printing
LED UV printing is similar to other methods, but with this option, ED-UV inks are dried (cured) instantly using UV light. With LED UV printing, ink set-off is eliminated, making this an extremely clean printing method. This printing method is more expensive than lithography and requires more materials, but it works excellently for large runs, and the immediacy can be very beneficial.
We are experts in printing and manufacturing. If you’d like to get more of a handle on what we do and how we do it, get in touch.
Advancements in technology have increased the range of photo printing possibilities available to us. When it comes to printing anything, be it special memories, work projects or artwork, it’s crucial to understand the different types of photo printing methods so you can choose the right solution for your needs. In this post, Adventa explores the various types of photo printing, and the options best suited to different applications.
What Does Photo Printing Mean?
Photo printing involves the process of transferring an image onto different materials, such as paper, canvas and clothing, using specialised printers. This allows an individual to create copies of images and display, preserve and share them with others.
Types of Photo Prints
There are four main types of photo printing options. These are digital printing, lenticular printing, sublimation printing, and giclee printing. Each has different advantages and applications, which we will look at in more detail below.
1) Digital Printing
Digital printing uses a high-volume laser or inkjet printer to print detailed images. This high-quality option is popular for both its ease of use and its impressive output. Digital printing is well suited to a wide variety of uses ranging from small to large scale, simple to extremely detailed. There are three main types of digital printing methods: laser, offset and inkjet printing.
1.1) Laser Printing
Laser printing involves an electrostatic digital printing process. The process involves repeatedly passing a laser beam back and forth over a negatively-charged cylinder called a "drum", to define a differentially-charged image. The laser printer uses an electrical charge to attract toner particles onto a roller, which is then transferred onto paper and fused using heat.
Laser printing is quick and consistent, producing precise images and text. This makes it well-suited to various applications, especially office documents, reports, and graphics. However, it does not work well for photograph replication.
1.2) Offset Printing
Offset printing, also known as offset lithography, is a widely used commercial printing process or method. It involves transferring images from metal plates onto rubber rollers or blankets and then onto the printing surface - usually paper. The print media doesn’t come into direct contact with the metal plates.
This indirect printing method is known for creating consistent, high-quality results, which makes it ideal for large-scale printing, such as newspapers, magazines, brochures, and packaging.
1.3) Inkjet Printing
Inkjet printing is a very popular digital printing method. During the process, tiny ink droplets are propelled onto a printing surface (usually paper or fabric) to create the image. Inkjet prints are known for reproducing vibrant colours and intricate details, which makes this type of print ideal for a variety of applications ranging from high-resolution photos to office documents.
2) Lenticular Printing
Lenticular printing is a specialised technique that's used for images where the photographer wants to create an illusion of depth or movement. The process involves the use of lenticular lenses, which function like magnifying glasses, to enlarge certain elements of the image. This results in the image changing shape depending on the angle you’re looking from.
Lenticular printing's primary advantage is the optical illusion it creates. This makes it very popular for marketing and promotional items, such as posters, business cards, and product packaging, where the aim is to captivate and engage viewers. However, this type of printing is fairly expensive due to the specialised equipment and materials needed.
3) Sublimation Printing
Sublimation printing is generally used to print designs onto garments but can be used for a broad range of applications. Sublimation printing requires specialised equipment, including a sublimation printer, certain inks and heat.
The process starts by printing the design onto specialised paper. Heat is then applied to the design, which opens up the pores of the fabric. This is where the magic happens: the ink, when exposed to heat, turns to gas - this is often done using a heat press. Then, with applied pressure from the heat press, the ink cools and returns to a solid form. This process combines the ink with the fabric permanently, making it less prone to fading.
Sublimation printing is a versatile printing style but is most commonly used for sportswear, promotional items, and personalised gifts. While it’s known for creating vibrant prints on clothing, it’s important to note that sublimation printing works best on polyester or polymer-coated substrates, not natural fibres.
4) Giclee Prints
Giclee printing is most often used to reproduce fine art into prints. Through the use of enhanced technology, as well as specialised pigments, ink and paper, inkjet printers use small spraying devices that can match the colour of the original and apply ink precisely.
This accuracy gives artists an opportunity to reproduce their art precisely in a high-quality print. Giclee prints are also known for their longevity, as they do not easily fade. This method is most often used when making lower quantities of a high-end print.
TL;DR - Types of Photo Printing
There are many different options for printing photographs and graphics, namely digital, lenticular, sublimation and giclee printing. Each of these methods uses certain materials and offers its own pros and cons. Now that you understand the different types of photo printing, you can choose the one that is best suited to your printing needs.
10 Benefits of Using UK Manufacturing Companies
With quality and commitment becoming increasingly important for businesses and consumers, there is a push to use more UK manufacturers. The “Made in the UK” sticker is becoming a major symbol of quality across the country, which is a trend that has our full support.
In this post, Adventa looks at the benefits of using British manufacturers for your products, parts and more. After reading this blog, you should be able to weigh up these benefits against the rationale of why you are using your current supplier.
10 Benefits of Manufacturers in the UK
There are many advantages of using a manufacturer in the country of your operation, and even more so when working with companies that are held to high UK standards. Below are the ten main advantages of using manufacturing companies in the UK:
1. Improved communication
Working with a supplier in another country can quickly become frustrating. With differences in time zones, languages, and domestic markets, it can be very challenging to be on the same page as to your needs.
Being able to meet in person, have a conversation over the phone, or remain in regular contact is extremely beneficial. In addition to this, a local manufacturer will have a complete understanding of your market.
2. Smaller minimum order quantities
When using an international manufacturer, you are often required to order large quantities that can fill containers or trucks. Using manufacturers in the UK allows you to place small, regular orders instead, so you don’t have to sit with dead stock if you make an error in your order quantity. This gives organisations increased flexibility and cash flow control.
3. Product development and innovation
Often overlooked but a huge strength at Adventa! Working with a UK manufacturer gives you access with expertise in both product design and lean manufacturing. Any leading UK manufacturer will consider how they can improve on an existing product both in terms of their own production efficiency but also in terms of the users efficiency and consumer appeal. It is well known fact that many of the world’s biggest producers are good at copying put poor at product design. This is even more important if you are wanting a custom product!
4. Shorter lead times
Along with reduced transport costs, lead times are also reduced. UK suppliers can produce products faster because the goods simply spend less time being transported to you. Instead of being loaded onto a ship to be transported across the Atlantic, products are simply sent by trucks or trains. The research and development phase is also more streamlined, as you can communicate better with suppliers.
5. Reduced carbon footprint
As less movement is needed to transport your products to your doorstep, making use of UK manufacturers will also reduce your organisation's carbon footprint. UK manufacturers are also held to the country's carbon emissions standards, so less pollution is produced. Lastly, many UK suppliers, like Adventa, are focusing on their own sustainability. Making use of sustainable suppliers will make your products more environmentally friendly too.
6. Greater quality control
As with carbon emissions, UK manufacturers are held to UK standards in their production processes too. The UK has strict laws in place that ensure that products are being made consistently with quality control measures to the approved industry standards. Other countries do not have the same level of attention to quality.
In addition to this, with UK manufacturers, you can visit the factory and inspect the supply chain yourself. This gives you greater control over the quality of your products.
7. Support the UK economy
Working with British manufacturers helps create employment opportunities, injecting more money into the country, and allowing people to afford to buy more products and services. Leading UK manufacturers are forced to invest in automation to remove as much manual labour as possible. As these factors create a cycle of income and expense, they are very beneficial for the UK economy.
8. Less risk in the supply chain
Global events including Covid-19, the Suez Canal drama, conflict in Ukraine and more have put serious strain on supply chains. Many businesses have had to deal with parts and products being delayed or never arriving at all. Coupled with increasing awareness of worrying concerns of unethical practices makes working with a UK manufacturer a dramatically lower risk, so the flow of your construction, production or creation does not have to be interrupted.
9. The origin of the product is clear
More and more consumers are starting to really care about where their products come from. With bad labour practices being highlighted across the globe, buying products from genuine UK manufacturers helps give consumers peace of mind that the products have been ethically produced.
10. Consumers want “Made in the UK” products
This is true for not only UK citizens, but throughout the world. UK manufacturing is known for its quality as well as the country's fair labour practices. Therefore, both domestic and international consumers are willing to pay more for a British-made product. Products are, therefore, more competitive against their foreign produced counterparts.
As an established manufacturer themselves, Adventa are a great exponent of British production and manufacturing. If you’d like to understand more about the benefits of working with a localised manufacturer, get in touch. Even better arrange a visit to our highly automated factory, you will be amazed at how we even run our factory totally unattended – genuine ‘lights out production’!
Pros & Cons Of Sourcing Products From China
Over the past few decades, China has grown as an economic powerhouse, with many international companies sourcing products from there. However, between the pandemic and rising political tensions, many UK companies are cutting ties with China, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Whether you’re an established company or a new entrant to the market, it’s worth considering whether it’s better business to import from China, or whether the outsourcing of products has become too much of a hassle. To help you with this, we’ve listed the pros and cons of sourcing products from China.
Cons Of Sourcing From China
While many businesses successfully source their products from China, it doesn’t come without its challenges. These should be carefully weighed against the positives to determine whether this would be the best strategic move for your business.
Finding A Manufacturer Is Tough
Finding and cultivating a relationship with a factory owner requires time and money. Once you’ve found several potential suppliers, you then still need to negotiate to see if they’re willing to produce your products to a standard you find acceptable. Many Chinese manufacturers only focus on million-unit orders, which can make things difficult if you're looking to have smaller volumes produced.
When you choose to source products from China, you also need to account for international lead times, as your inventory has to be packed, shipped and brought through customs before being transported to your warehouses or retail stores. This shipping can also involve significant costs, depending on your distribution network.
This can often make local suppliers much more attractive as it’s easier to get new stock delivered to you in a shorter period of time. Additionally, you won’t be incurring the costs of international shipping fees.
At Adventa, we produce a range of products locally in the UK. Our central location, coupled with our fast assembly lines and world-class packaging, make us a supplier of choice for UK-based businesses. However, we’re also able to ship products to every other continent across the globe.
Negative associations of “Made in China”
It’s a known fact that “Made in China” often brings negative connotations to mind, such as poor quality and low prices. This can sometimes impact your markup and the customer’s general idea of your products.
When producing your products locally, you can take advantage of the fact that your products are ‘made in the UK’. This can be used as a unique selling point that indicates high quality and can also potentially allow you to charge a higher price, increasing your profit margin.
The issue with working in a foreign country such as China is the language barrier. Not all Chinese factory owners are proficient in English. And even if you have a translator assisting you, there’s still the possibility of their being misunderstandings.
Pros of Importing from China
While there are some significant drawbacks to importing from China, there are advantages that make this a lucrative business option.
Low production costs
One of the biggest reasons why companies choose to source their products from China is that the production cost versus output is highly favourable. Lower production costs result in lower prices for your business and customers, which could convince them to purchase your products. Lower prices also contribute to higher profit margins, which is an attractive deal for businesses. However, these lower production costs should always be considered alongside quality.
Opportunities for market expansion
Sourcing products from China opens up the door to international expansion, as you can market your goods to the local market. Once you’re in the country and manufacturing your products there, introducing and supplying your products becomes far easier.
A Summary: Sourcing Products From China
For decades, businesses have sought lower costs and higher profits by sourcing their products from China. However, in the wake of the pandemic and rising political tensions, many businesses have started to backpedal, choosing to manufacture locally instead.
Each business is unique and should carefully weigh the pros and cons. While importing from China can result in expansion and increased profit, it can be challenging in terms of costs, finding a supplier and more.
Here at Adventa, we are a UK-based manufacturer that specialises in supplying customisable office and decor products. Our location and extensive experience make us an ideal choice as your supplier. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch with our team.