Beautiful Begg paper

Begg paper

If you’ve arrived here via Twitter you’ll have noticed that I cleverly linked to the same article with 3 different headlines. That’s because this beautiful paper by Begg in Scotland covers three very important points.

Begg paper

Firstly, although it was made before my legendary design advice post, it’s the perfect example of a well designed paper. They’ve used big, bold, contrasty pictures, simple black text and avoided the pitfalls we discussed. ARTHR and any desktop publishing software like InDesign or Pages are only platform programmes. Their output is only as good as the input they’re given. There’s no magic ‘make this look loads better’ filter. If the content you are working with is great to start with it will look great in the finished product. It pays to think a bit about images and text before you start making your paper.

Begg paper

Secondly, they’ve managed to make making a newspaper look easy. Sometimes people worry about what to put in a paper. How to fill those pages? If that’s bothering you – worry not! With us you can make a paper as small as 4 pages. Or if you’d like more pages you can follow Begg’s example and use a nice simple cover (one page down) a great big photo in the middle (three pages down) and some contact details on the back (four pages down) leaving the rest for your articles or other written content. Simple.

Begg paper

Thirdly, isn’t it blooming gorgeous?

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Filed under: art, case studies

Lovely Stuff

Newspaper Club reviewed in Stuff Magazine

Newspaper Club gets a succunct and fair review in the latest Stuff Magazine. Their short feature sums up the whole operation of Newspaper Club much better than we do ourselves. “It’s a little clunky to use, but the fact it’s free and allows an untrained user to design a paper is seriously impressive.”

A little clunky but seriously impressive, in football terminology we’d have taken that before the kick off.

It also has some nice mentions for Preston Is My Paris and Structo, who were kind enough to scan this article in.

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Filed under: media

Stanley Donwood and the first Newspaper Album

Stanley Donwood Works on Paper exhibition poster

There’s been a lot of buzz about Radiohead’s new album, The King of Limbs. The songs were released last week and a special “newspaper album” containing numerous sheets of newspaper artwork as well as 625 smaller pieces will come out later in the year. It’s not 100% clear what this all means, but it sure sounds interesting.

The artist behind this unusual production is Radiohead’s longtime collaborator, Stanley Donwood. In an interview in The Independent yesterday, he talks about his lifelong love of newsprint which started when he was a paperboy and has continued through his artistic career. He’s not alone in his fascination and it’s great to see someone talk so eloquently about what makes newspapers special.

We were delighted to print the catalogue for his Over Normal show last year, and to get a little mention in the piece along with the fine folk at McSweeney’s and their amazing San Francisco Panorama newspaper. There are lots of exciting things happening with newspapers at the moment and we’re excited to be part of it all.

If you’d like to see more, Stanley Donwood’s exhibition Works on Paper is on at The Outsiders Gallery in London until 12 March.

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Filed under: news

US launch update

It’s a couple of months since I posted about our planning a US launch of the service, and I thought it was time for an update.

The biggest and best news is we’ve appointed Nick Mrozowski as our US representative. Nick is a New York-based designer who’s worked for newspapers big and small in the US and Portugal. He loves print, co-creating Ink, a brilliant twice-yearly design journal. He also designed a newspaper that’s just been named the World’s Best Designed, by the Society for News Design (read what they think here – it’s impressive stuff). You can contact him at nick [at] newspaperclub [dot] co [dot] uk.

Nick and I have spent the last few weeks continuing Newspaper Club’s search for printers, particularly in the New York area (Nick is based in New York and it’s easy for us to get to from London). We’ve found some good ones.

However, one of our main criteria was that we wanted to be able to replicate in the US the offer we have in the UK. And we’ve found two issues. First, we haven’t managed to locate a digital printer of newspapers – without one of these we can’t offer the really low, sub-300 copy, production runs. Second, the traditional printers of newspapers are mostly unwilling to print fewer than 1000+ copies (in some cases well into the thousands). They’re also mostly more expensive than our UK printers, especially on their smaller runs. In fact, the cost to a US customer of a UK newspaper – including transatlantic shipping – is in nearly all cases lower than getting one printed down the road.

Why do UK newspaper printers seem to be more flexible and competitive? Nick and I reckon it may be to do with the UK’s contract printing market being well-developed, deep and liquid (i.e. there are plenty of people out there whose sole business it is to print newspapers, and not just for newspaper publishers.) In the US, it seems most newspaper printers are tied to a newspaper publisher and so aren’t as set up for third-party business – which often means lower production runs. I also got the impression that there were far fewer people working at UK newspaper printing plants. Only an impression and, if it’s more than that, I’m not sure why it should be.

Anyway, having spent a few days feeling a bit vexed about this, I suddenly realised that what we were faced with was more promising than a problem. In the immortal words of avian hippy Jonathan Livingstone Seagull: “Every problem has a gift for you in its hands”.

We’re thinking that we should print our US newspapers here in the UK and ship them to the US. What would this look like?

It would feel like an American business to American customers as the US version of the site would be wholly American, in language and currency. We’d also have a presence there, through Nick.

The prices and offer would be competitive (our digital offer, that is our ability to offer very low production runs, may even be unique).

Lead times would be a couple of days longer than in the UK – seven-to-ten days, say, rather than within seven. But that hardly seems significant.

Altogether, then, this sounds like we’d be bringing a big net benefit to anyone wanting to print a newspaper in the US – especially in small volumes. This way we’ll also be able to provide a US version of our offer sooner than we envisaged: we’re working on the US site right now and hope to launch it in the next couple of months.

This experience has made us wonder whether we can use the efficiency and variety of UK newspaper supply – as well as our cheap and comprehensive global distribution – to meet demand for newspapers in other markets.

Communication through newspapers can be an enormous good – for civil society, for health, for education – and there may well be parts of the world where access to newspaper printing, despite being potentially very useful, is actually very difficult. We’ll be seeking out NGOs, in particular, to see if we can help them communicate helpful, important and valuable information across the places they do their work.

These are exciting times for us with many horizons opening up. Please do get in touch if you have any suggestions.

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Design / Print advice

help

We often get asked for advice on designing a newspaper and what sort of quality you can expect when printing with us. We cover this in our help section but it is worth repeating every now and then.

If you have any questions not covered here, or if the stuff below sounds like gibberish, or you just get stuck you can email us support@newspaperclub.co.uk or you could come along to our School of Everything class on Thursday 10 March.

To get the best possible looking printed product you should always remember that you are designing artwork for a newspaper, not a magazine, glossy brochure or website.

Newspaper presses are industrial-scale machines designed to operate at very high speeds to allow publishers to produce and distribute large numbers of copies quickly and economically. They are not designed for perfect high-fidelity reproduction or to be able to match Pantones or exact colour mixes. You can achieve very good quality results with newspaper printing but only if you start the artwork design process with the print process in mind.

Two Halves by the Rebel Alliance

Below are some hints and tips which should help you to produce excellent results.

Text
Text works best if it’s black; colour can be used but it works best if only headings of font size 14 or above are in colour.

White text on coloured backgrounds should be used sparingly and only at font size 14 or above.

Small type (under 12pt, or 14pt if the font is a serif) should always be made up from only one of the inks. ie 100% cyan and not 50% cyan and 50% magenta to avoid registration issues.

Coloured text on coloured backgrounds should be avoided all together.

Blacks
Blacks should always be 100%K only, whether for text or solids; do not use ‘rich black’.

Colour
If you have large solid blocks of colour bear in mind the ink may rub off on facing pages (and your hands).

If you repeat a standard or corporate colour repeated on every page there will often be noticeable variation, as exact colour matching can’t be guaranteed.

Image quality
Images should be a minimum resolution of 150dpi.

Photographs work best when they have a clear, strong subject and a lighter background; dark or ‘moody’ pictures will reproduce less well. (We mean moody like a Morrissey album cover not moody as in stolen.)

Blank spaces
If you have a blank page or space opposite heavy pictures or text it is possible that there will be a noticeable ‘ghosting’ impression on the blank area. It is also possible that you will notice ‘show through’ from the other side of the paper.

Two Halves by the Rebel Alliance

Of course if you use ARTHR almost all of these issues can be avoided. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to produce a handsome looking newspaper. I hope these tips help.

Further Reading
Designing a black and white newspaper
Designing a colour newspaper
Our general help section

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Filed under: art, printers

Guardian SXSW Hack Day

Guardian SXSW Hack Day

We spoke at the Guardian’s SXSW Hack Day at the weekend. That’s typical of us, working the weekend like all hungry young start ups.

We didn’t do any hacking, we just showed some examples of the different things you can do with newsprint. Jemima has written a nice article about it here. I suspect Sales & Marketing’s killer phrase “the aesthetic is rather like Geocities – it doesn’t matter how it looks, it’s just very pleasing to have made [it]“. Will fly round the interent and deliver hundreds of sales.

Guardian SXSW Hack Day newspaper

Talking of sales, the Guardian were kind enough to use our award winning service to make a newspaper themselves which was handed out to all the hackers.

Spotify

The picture above was taken by Aleks Krotoski of the chaps from Spotify, a music start up. They spoke just after us. They didn’t mention Geocities.

If you’d like to know which hacks won pop on over to the Guardian’s SXSW coverage. Thanks to all who came along to listen.

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Filed under: case studies, media

Words of love

Wedding Newspaper

Looking for a different Valentine’s Day gift? A personalised newspaper could be just the thing to win someone’s heart.

Order by 8 February for delivery by 14 February in the UK.

They’re also good for weddings (if you’re going to pop the question).

Newspaper above designed by Benji Holroyd at SB/Studio.

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Filed under: Newspaper Stories

Minor News Update

Most of the reason for this post is to link to this fantastic thing at McSweeneys, all about the vast superiority of newspapers. But it’s so obviously self-serving just to do that that I’ve appended this minor news update.

This is what we’ve been up to:

1. Management have been in the US, talking to possible partners and planning for our proper North American launch.

2. Engineering have been doing Coding Fist Bumps as they relentlessly improve the site, constantly releasing new features.

3. Customer Service have been servicing customers and have been thinking how we can help people finish the papers they’ve started but haven’t got round to completing. It’s so heart-wrenching to think of those 11 and 15 page papers sitting there, just waiting for the final moment of inspiration. Is there anything we can do to help you clear that final hurdle? (And, to be honest, a bit of extra business wouldn’t hurt right now. It’s been a relatively quiet week.)

4. Design and Sales and Marketing have been locked in a titanic series of Words With Friends games. I guess that might explain the parenthetical statement at the end of point 3.

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Happy customers

Marianne van Loo and her smoking newspaper

We’re often asked who’s printing with us. Meet Marianne van Loo. She’s studying for an MA in Photography at the University of Central Lancashire.

Marianne van Loo and her smoking newspaper

Marianne laid out her photographs using ARTHR, the Newspaper Club online layout tool. Her newspaper, The collective unconscious in the city: the smoking ban, was then presented at the first student exhibition to great acclaim.

A copy of the limited edition newspaper can be bought for £4.00 on Marianne’s website www.mariannevanloophotography.com.

Photographs by David Wade.

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Filed under: Newspaper Stories