Innovate Blog

Custom Print

Raise your profile

We help our customers promote their brand by offering a custom print management service on a range of tableware, disposables and packaging products, helping to raise the profile of their brand for only a few pence more than the cost of a standard item.

We successfully manage the print on:

  • Napkins and coasters
  • Paper cups
  • Paper bags
  • Hot food containers
  • Cardboard food packaging
  • Sugar sachets and sticks

Our dedicated print management team works closely with leading suppliers to design, create and manage bespoke products, and we can store stock of printed products for up to 6-months to ensure a continuity of supply.

Your custom print project in our capable hands

There’s lots to consider before starting a custom print project – but it needn’t be a daunting prospect if you’ve chosen the right partner to work with, and that’s where we come in!

With bundles of experience and expertise, we know everything there is to know about planning, managing and delivering a successful custom print. We help hundreds of customers every year to bring their brand concept to life on a wide range of disposables and food packaging products.

The key to our success is a print management service, supported by a dedicated print management team, that oversees our customer’s custom print projects from start to finish.

Perfectly printed paper cups

Disposable paper cups are a very popular product to custom print – as they can advertise your business long after the customer, with their lovely hot beverage in hand, has left your site. Custom print is available on single wall, double wall, triple wall, rippled and wavy cups. Here’s our top tips for a perfectly printed paper cup:

  • Think bold – but keep the design simple. The surface area of a cup is relatively small – and you can only see part of the design from any one angle.
  • Use a cup template (which we will provide) to create hi resolution artwork.
  • Remember, the print area on a double wall and triple wall cup (called the ‘clutch’) often stops short of the base, where a white band sits instead. Make sure you take this into account when planning your artwork.
  • On cups with a rippled or wavy outer wall, don’t create artwork with very fine detail or very small writing – as it’s sometimes confusing to interpret on an unsmooth surface.
  • On hot cups it’s a good idea to incorporate a safety message on the artwork, to warn customers of the dangers of spillage. A common message is: ‘caution: contents may be hot’ – and this generally runs along the seam of the cup.

Advertise your brand on a napkin

Napkins presents a fabulous opportunity for getting your brand noticed – front and centre in many food operations, whether on a plate or counter top, napkins are a great place for displaying marketing messages or your logo.
Here’s our top tips for advertising your brand on a napkin

  • Most multi-ply napkins are pre-folded, you only need to create a design for the one folded side that’s visible.
  • If you fold your square napkin into a triangle, or wrap it around cutlery, the design may be partly obscured. Think about how napkins are used in your operation before you create the artwork.
  • You can’t print on the embossed edge of a napkin – it’s too bobbly!
  • Because napkins are designed to be absorbent, you need to allow for the ink to diffuse a little (like blotting paper) when printed – a design with plenty of space around individual elements, and sticking to one or two colours only, will minimise any problems due to spreading ink.
  • Printing white ink on a dark-coloured napkin can be an issue – white on red will look pink, white on dark blue will look light blue. Create different designs for different colour napkins – or create one design to fit all but avoid the use of white ink.

Custom printing – in the bag!

A handy hold-all for lunch on the go can double up as a walking bill-board for your business. Custom printed bags have grown in popularity in recent years. As more customers choose food on the go over a more formal sit-down meal, the requirements for takeout packaging have grown, and the opportunity for branding has grown with it.

Here’s our top tips for custom printing paper bags:

  • The handles of a bag can be fixed over the top of the bag surface, which means that your artwork needs to allow for the handles. Take this into consideration when designing artwork.
  • If your bag design involves printed handles be aware that this will increase the cost and print time. Introducing colour on the main design, rather than the handle, can keep costs and complexity down.
  • The costs for printing paper bags are dependent on the percentage of ink coverage. A good tip to help work this out is to imagine all the ink has fallen to the bottom of the bag – if the ink comes halfway up the bag, then it is roughly 50 per cent ink coverage.
  • When talking about bags the word Kraft refers to it’s material type and not its colour, so you can have a white Kraft bag and a brown Kraft bag – make sure you don’t get mixed up!
  • Colours printed on a Kraft brown bag may not be as vibrant as colours printed on a Kraft white – make sure you think about this before you choose the bag.

Custom Print FAQ's

  • What’s the minimum volume of custom printed product I can buy?
    • The minimum print quantity rather depends on which product is being printed and how many colours are in the design.  As a rule of thumb, our minimum print quantities start at 50,000 for single and double wall hot cups, 24,000 for 33cm 2 ply napkins and 10,000 for carrier bags. We do offer a short print run service on hot cups, but this can often work out more expensive.

  • Can I get a made-up sample of the printed product to see if I like it?
    • Creating a made-up sample is possible, but we advise against it. Generally, there is a cost associated to making a printed sample and the process of having it made increases the lead time. Often, a made-up sample will be created in a different way to the final product – so it doesn’t always reflect the final finish anyway. Our advice is to sign-off against a 2D PDF visual – which we ask all our customers to do before we commence a print run.

  • Why don’t colours look the same across different products?
    • You might notice that the same design (using the same pantone colour references), when printed on two different products, look slightly different in colour. This is because the colour of a printed design can be affected by the colour and the finish (matt or gloss) of the material it is printed on – so a design printed on a white cup might look slightly different to the same design printed on a Kraft napkin. Design colours might also be affected by the method of printing.

  • What do I do if I don’t have hi-res artwork?
    • Hi-res artwork is essential for a successful custom print project – and it’s something we take great care to get right. We advise providing all artwork in an outlined vector format – that means a file with a file extension name of ai. or eps. We will sometimes accept hi res JPEGs and editable PDFs – but we prefer a vector! Our print management team help hundreds of customers through the artwork phase of a custom print project – so we’re on hand to support you.

  • Do you provide templates to create artwork on?
    • Yes, we provide product templates for most of our custom print products – which means you can design your artwork in its final printed format if you wish to.  You don’t have to provide artwork in this way, as we will take your vector artwork assets and put them on a template for you to sign off before we commence the print run.