Aug 20 Celloglas News

Five minutes with… Steve Middleton

We’re keen to introduce you to the faces behind the Celloglas brand and give you unique insight toward the day-to-day running of our print finishing operations. First up, meet our sales director, Steve Middleton. He discusses the importance of print finishing for brands and considers which trends the industry should start getting excited about.

What is your role at Celloglas?
Officially my title is sales director. However, I would say that, unofficially, I am the bridge between the designer/art director and the printer, where I will bring to life the ideas they have for how to improve their brand awareness to life in print.

Talk us through a typical day in your role?
I wake up to answers to emails that I have sent the previous day and deal with those as a priority. In every given day, I always have a number of projects on the boil, all at various stages of readiness. Today I have a magazine going to press and we will be arranging the print as well as finishing with our glow in the dark varnish (it is for a computer game). This will entail managing the customer’s expectations. I then have proofs to organise for the latest Aldi Christmas brochure (they have given us five options to play with). They need to be back with the client by the end of the week so all the production needs to be put in place and the operators briefed. I’ll then have two or three Team/Zoom meetings with clients, team members or brands – which always generates more ‘things to do’!

Why is print finishing so crucial for brands, magazines and businesses?
Print finishing is good for brand awareness – regardless of a brand’s values. For instance, Aldi uses print finishing to make its Christmas catalogue ‘high end’. Although the perception of the public is that the firm sells ‘value’ products, the catalogue says  ‘we look like Waitrose or M&S’. On the other hand, if you have environmental values, you may want your print to look rustic and recyclable and we have print finishing effects that give texture and feel. Whatever the brand’s message, we have finishes that can enhance the narrative.

Which trends in decorative print finishing do you most admire?
The ability to be able to match printing press speeds with our finishing equipment. For so long, print finishing was a slow process and we would be lucky to get 30,000 sheets out a day. Now, we can get up to 300,000 sheets in a day with our latest Heidelberg twin coating machine. This enables Celloglas to process jobs that were previously on too tight a turnaround time and has opened previously closed doors to new projects.

Tell us one finish in particular you’re most excited about this year.
This has to be our new range of Cellomed coatings, which we launched originally in 2008. These coatings are available as laminations (films) or as a liquid varnish or coating. Cellomed has an active ingredient that consistently destroys all common bacteria that is present on the print surface throughout the lifetime of the product – up to a certified level of 99.9%. In the current climate, brands are looking to protect their customers in whatever way they can, so obvious markets are with printed menus, airline printed collateral, magazines with safety brand awareness, packaging for PPE or car companies’ service manuals.

Which brands/projects stand out to you as getting it right in their use of print finishing?
As previously mentioned, I believe the retailers have been getting it right now for the past five or six years – when they first started using their printed material to reinforce brand message and it is working. Aldi, Lidl and Morrisons have seen massive engagement with their Easter and Christmas catalogues, each one improving in quality over the years. My other favourite use of print finishing is by Country Life, which produces an annual advent calendar on the front page of its magazine with 25 perforated openings, each one with a different message.

What’s coming up in print finishing?
The upcoming trends are all things that appeal to our five senses – touch, smell, taste, sight and sound. Texturing foil, varnish or laminate create a unique feel and look using our new micromotion varnishes. They have the ability to create movement in a static printed piece. Meanwhile, the use of fragrance and soft velvety varnishes create that sumptuous warmth and capture a long-forgotten memory.