To understand the process of creating a physical hand out like a business card or letterhead, I found it was vital to research the companies that produce these things. I organised a visit to G.F. Smith, the paper manufacturer and Wyke Printers.
G.F. Smith is a paper manufacturer founded in 1885 by George Frederick Smith. The start of any printing process is with the type and style of paper you are going to print on, so i took a trip to the premises and got a private tour. I spoke to a manager about the history of the company including how debt almost destroyed the company in 1915, supplies being shortened in 1939 because of world war 2 and the purchase of the Hull premises in 1969.
During the tour I was shown the room with their clients whom had had used their paper in their packaging. It also showed off all the different colours they could offer their paper in. You can see an example of this book here:
This room full of different types and colours of the paper which was for clients to touch and feel the actual materials they might be using in their product. The most important lesson I learnt during my visit, was there are different weights of materials measured in GSM (Grams per square metre), different colours, and effects that can be applied to the card such as a gloss. These allow the card to be styled in a certain way. The company also offer press services to imprint the card with a certain design, a client would buy a press designed specifically for their needs for anything up to £2,000 depending on size and intricacy. You can see one of G.F Smiths presses below
Companies like G.F. Smith offer hand made services as well, to do jobs that cannot be done by machine, things like making bespoke envelopes. You can see a team of women sat at a table here making hundreds of these type of letters. With hundreds of clients around Yorkshire, they have a huge warehouse that stores all the paper. This means they can work hand in hand with a company like Wyke printers to meet a clients need for a really speedy delivery on the deadline.
There are lot’s of different types so by having the client actually being able to touch the product they would be buying is a brilliant way to make sure you know what your buying, having the right quality material is very important for any business and the market is estimated to be around $23.8 Billion a year.