Mon 27th January


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Trophy design for the Tour de France

With the Tour de France approaching Yorkshire in the summer, I thought it would be appropriate to feature some of its lesser-known design icons. For the last three years the winners’ commemorative trophies have been designed by Peter Olah of designer Czech glassmakers Lasvit and the designs live up to the company’s formidable reputation.
The three trophies all share a similar form, a geometric hourglass allowing for the trophy to both have substantial weight to the form, whilst being easy to grip by hand. The slanted angle at the top of the trophies allows you to best appreciate the luxurious thickness of the hand-blown glass. Each set of trophies also gets their own particular sense of style through their textured finishes.
The 2013 trophy has a particularly impressive pattern, especially when you realise that each trophy is created by hand. The trophy has an opalescent layer applied, which is then ground away using powerful cutters to reveal the original glass beneath. The result is a striking spiral cross-hatch.
So with the 2014 Grand Départ fast approaching, we wait patiently for this years’ trophy design. In the meantime, check out Lasvit’s other creation on their website.

Thu 22nd August


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A Beginners Guide to Vector and Raster Images


Vector and Raster are words that are thrown around a lot in design. In essence they are two distinct types of image, but knowing which one to use in any given situation is vital. Here is the Printworks Online guide to Vector vs Raster images.

What’s the Difference?

The difference between these two image types is the way that they are made up. Raster images consist of a series of dots/pixels that together build up the image. They are what most people are familiar with, and if you’ve ever zoomed into an image and seen a ‘pixelated’ appearance, then you’re looking at a raster.

Vectors on the other hand are made up of a series of lines and fill colours, as apposed to pixels. Therefore, they can be infinitely scaled up or down. In essence you could zoom into a Vector as far as you can go, and all the elements will still stay crisp and sharp.

Pros and Cons?

Raster files can have a large amount of complex detail due their pixel-based nature. However this does increase the file size and means they cannot be scaled or resized easily, without a reduction in the quality of the image.

Vector files can be scaled up or down infinitely, and the way that the file is structured makes them much smaller in size than raster images. However, as they are made up of lines and fills the images are less detailed.

Raster v VectorThis image shows you the difference in clarity between raster and vector images. (It is only an example however, as ironically the image above had to be raster-based for the web.)

When to use them?


All photographs are raster images. The dot-based nature of raster files mean they can allow for a photographs complexity.


As you can see from this magnified section, the raster image cannot be enlarged as it creates a fuzzy distortion. However when viewed at the correct size (the main image) it appears completely sharp to the eye. This kind of detail, as seen in photographs, cannot be replicated in vector form.


Logos should always be created as vector files. At a later stage, the images may need to be converted to raster for certain uses such as on the web, but vector files should always be used as the main file. This is because they can be scaled up and down to cover all possible uses of the logo.


For digital illustrations, vectors should always be used to keep the graphics crisp and scalable.


Images on the web are raster, as by their nature websites are viewed on pixel-based screens. All images should be converted to raster copies and saved as the appropriate resolution for use on the web.

Text Based

Any text involved with a design should be saved in a vector format. You can always combine text and raster in designs such as business cards, but the text should never be saved as raster as it will pixelate and become difficult to read at small sizes.

Large Format

For large format graphics it is always best to use vector images to allow for images to be scaled without loss of quality, and to keep the file sizes relatively small and easy to use. Sometimes photographs (so raster) are needed, but make sure they are big enough to stay at a decent quality, and be aware that the file size will be a lot larger.

Which Software?

Adobe Creative Suite is the design standard for image creation so I will use it as a basis for the following suggestions:


Photoshop is raster-based, so is only suitable for photograph manipulation and the conversion of vector images to raster copies for web and screen applications.


As vector software, Illustrator should be used to create vector images, and for resizing vectors.


Indesign is a program that allows you to combine various raster and vector images in one document. The software is perfect for text reliant documents, for example our online business cards.

Follow these simple rules with your images and documents to make sure you always end up with the highest quality results.


Fri 1st February


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Refresh your typography: 10 Free Fonts for 2013

The start of the year is the perfect time to rejuvenate your font library. The following ten fonts will do just that:


1. Acorn


2. Bariol


3. Coco


4. Johanna


5. Metropolis


6. Moonshiner


7. Oranienbaum



8. Ridge


9. Shket


10. VDS


(It is important to note that although these fonts may be free to download, it is worth checking the licence for the full extent of how and where they can be used.)

Fri 18th January


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How to Utilise Large Format Digital Printing

When you think of large format printing your mind may go straight to banners. But there’s many more options in the world of large format print, and picking the best for you business is key. Here’s Printworks’ rundown of popular large format options:



The first choice for most large-scale advertising, banners can come in a variety of sizes and as well as materials to suit any setting. Mesh banners for example allow air to pass through, a useful feature for outdoor use. Use banners as an effective way to advertise outdoors with eye-catching graphics to quickly attract attention. For large indoor spaces, banners can also be very effective, allowing graphics to stand-alone in open space such as this example from the Science Museum, London:



Portable Stands

For a more portable or self-supporting alternative to banners, stands are a great option. At Printworks we offer two main kinds of stands, our Monarch pop-up stands and roller banners, both portable. The Monarch is a curved stand, measuring around 3 metres across by around 2.5 metres high, making a great shapely canvas for your design. The stand consists of a foldable metal frame and the design is split into rollable panels, which attach via velcro. The roller banner is a smaller alternative and simply consists of a portrait banner that is unrolled and attached to a support. The portable nature of these types of display make them great for exhibiting.




Posters are a great alternative to banners. For one-off posters you don’t have to be restricted by size:

Posters can give you a great choice in terms of finish and can be mounted onto board and laminated to make a sturdy and waterproof outdoor fixture.




Digital large format can also be used to create signage, from swing boards to shop signs. For a luxury finish on a smaller scale, digital print can be used in a stand off:




An alternative to posters and frames, a canvas print is a great way of displaying you photo or graphic. An added aesthetic benefit of a canvas print is that it’s a format with depth.




Digitally printed wallpaper is a unique way of transforming wall space. It can be used for the standard tessellating patterns of ordinary wallpaper to creating a full photographic print across a wall.



Vehicle Wraps and Stickers

Another unusual way to use digital printing is to decorate your companies’ vehicles. Be it through individual stickers or a full vehicle wrap, large format print allows for any graphic to be applied to your vehicle. You could use this to simply to create a strong sense of brand or for advertising purposes.


Fri 11th January


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Big Trends for Design in 2013

If you’re thinking about your brand or design for 2013, here’s what we predict will be popular in the coming year.

Vintage Styling

Much like last year, vintage styling is here to stay. Be it through gentle colours, illustration or lavish and hand-rendered typography, the old styles are still proving popular. In photography, the Instagram revolution has made antique and aged imagery trendy and this will continue to creep into design throughout the year.





Luxury Finishes

With the screen-based world becoming ever more widespread, print is finding ways of becoming more of an experience and as a result a range of luxury finishes are growing in popularity. Expect to see heavier and more unusual paper, the use of foil blocking, die cutting and embossing as well as interesting styles of folding.





Minimal Design

On the opposite end of the spectrum to vintage revival, stripped-back minimal design is also seeing a comeback this year. Consider clean typography, minimal colour palettes and simplistic layouts with lots of free space.






A big feature of this year is tipped to be stripes. Think outside the box, using uneven stripes and chevrons, but remember that contrast is key.



Colour Predictions

Whereas last years colour palette was all about brights and neons (possibly influenced by the vivid colours of the Olympics), this years palette is set to be decidedly more subdued favouring rich, mellow tones. Tangerine reds are also being tipped by Pantone as this year’s top colour.