Author: Muley

The Difference Between Uncoated and Coated Paper Stocks

All paper starts out as uncoated and is made out of bleached wood fibres, fillers, clay and caulk fillings. At the end of the papermaking machine, it‘s sometimes covered in a white clay or clay and caulk filler which covers up the small crevices, making it smoother.

This coating creates a less porous sheet than uncoated paper stocks. A coated paper, therefore, doesn’t absorb inks as much as an offset or uncoated stock during the printing process. When the inks aren’t absorbed as much into the sheet, they stay on the surface of the paper, making it look glossier which then, in turn, makes the imagery, type and photographs look sharper.

Coated paper stocks are however not always glossy and can be found in a variety of finishes including matt or silk. These finishes make it easier on the eye for reading text-heavy content and have less sheen but can look less glossy as a result.

Uncoated papers can feel rougher in comparison to coated stocks due to the fibres of the wood and other smoothing fillers. Uncoated stocks are also known as bond, offset, card and newsprint. These paper stocks are very porous and soak up much larger quantities of ink. Uncoated stocks have a tendency to dry faster to the touch, as the ink is absorbed into the porous paper. Uncoated stocks are easier to write on as the surface, which accepts the ink more readily than a coated stock. Generally speaking, you can’t write on coated stocks very well without smudging and would need to use a Biro style pen.

From a print/design point of view, we would recommend using glossy stock for brochures, marketing leaflets etc. with pictures and other eye-catching design elements that you want to draw attention to. A matt or silk stock is best for literature that needs to be read, as it is easier on the eye. That said, design style can mean using a completely opposite scenario to this and it all really comes down to your overall requirement and what you want to achieve.

Whatever your preference, Print Mule can help with any paper stock, matt, silk, coated, bond or anything else you can think of!


The Print Mule Printing Jargon Buster!

We understand that the print industry is full of jargon and specific keywords you may not find anywhere else. Not sure what we’re on about? No worries! Just use our handy glossary to help out.

Adobe – This is a collection of software tools, which are usually used to design the piece that will be printed, and can also get it ready to go to the printer.

Alterations / Amendments – Authors corrections or additions made by the customer to the artwork at proof stage

Artwork – the file that is being or has been designed, to be printed. Usually, a file made up of text, images or illustrations.

Backup – a second copy of the file, just in case one gets lost.

Binding – The process of fastening sheets of paper or other material together, usually using wire, thread or glue.

Bleed – A safety blanket for printing! Bleed is when the printed area extends beyond the trim edge of a page or sheet and leaves a neat edge once trimmed.

Bold – A thicker version of a typeface

Calibration – Using a fixed measurement to ensure accurate performance in a machine or process.

CMYK  – An abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Keyline (black), the 4 colours which can be combined together to produce the full colour spectrum in printing.

Collating – Arranging a series of printed sheets into a desired sequence.

Colour Control Bar – A coloured strip on the margin of a sheet which enables the printer to check the printing characteristics.

Compression – The reduction in the size of a digital file, so that unnecessary information is removed, and the overall size of the file is reduced.

Crop – To cut off parts of a picture or image, using a digital trimming tool.

Crop Marks – Marks at the edges of an illustration, image or photograph, to indicate the portion to be produced. Printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet once its completed.

Die – Metal rule or imaged block used to cut or place an image on paper in the finishing process.

Die Cutting – Cutting images or shapes into or out of paper. For example, instead of cutting a square around the image, the cut follows the shape of the outline or contour of the image.

DPI – Dots Per Inch. This measurement indicates the quality or resolution of a file. The higher the number, the better the resolution / the more high quality the file is.

Emboss – Pressing an image onto paper/card so that it will raise on the other side.

EPS – An EPS file is a graphics file saved in the Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) file format. It may contain 2D vector graphics, bitmap images, and text. EPS files also include an embedded preview image in bitmap format.

Finishing – The term used to refer to all operations after printing. For example, a gloss or matt coating on a business card.

Font – a typeface, or the visual style of text.

Four Colour Process – Colour printing using CMYK. Read our blog post on the four colour process for more information.

GIF – Graphical Interchange Format. Usually, an animated image used on the internet.

Gloss – A shiny look that reflects light.

Grain – The direction in which the paper fibres sit.

Hairline – A very thin line or gap about the width of a hair

Inkjet – A non-impact printing process in which droplets of ink are projected onto paper or other material.

Insert – A piece of paper or card laid between the leaves of a book, which is not secured in.

JPEG – Another type of graphic file format, widely used on the internet.

Kerning – Adjusting the spaces between particular letters

Keylines – Lines that show the position of photographs or illustrations in artwork

Laminating – The application of transparent plastic film, usually with a high gloss or matt finish, to the surface of a printed matter to enhance its appearance and to increase its durability.

Leading – Space between lines of text

Lithographic printing – A method using flush printing and non-printing surface which is in contact with paper or a rubber blanket.

Matte – A coated product with a dull finish.

Pantone – A trademarked colour standard, data and reproduction system.

PDF – A Portable Document Format, which was created by Adobe, which is cross-platform independent. The file itself contains all the fonts, graphics and page layout information necessary for printing.

Perfect-binding – A style of threadless binding in which the leaves of a book are held together at the binding edge by glue or synthetic adhesive and a suitable lining.

Proof – A copy of the file to check over before printing

Resolution – The level of detail retained by a printed document increases, the higher the resolution.

RGB – Red, Green, Blue. These colours make up a full-colour image on a monitor, TV screen or other digital display.

Saddle-Stitch – A binding process in which a pamphlet or booklet is stapled through the middle fold of its sheets using saddle wire.

Score – To partially cut or crease into heavy paper.

Software – The programs that enable a computer to perform its tasks.

Spine – the binding edge of a book or magazine.

Spot Colour / Spot Varnish / Spot UV – Any area that is highlighted using a certain colour, varnish or UV enhancement.

Stock – The material to be printed on.

TIFF – Tagged Image File Format. Images are saved in this format for exchange between different applications.

Trim – The final size of one image after the last trim is made after unnecessary parts have been removed.

UV Coating – Liquid laminate bonded and cured with ultraviolet light

Varnish – A clear liquid applied to printed surfaces to enhance the presentation and add protection

Watermark – A distinctive mark on the paper that can help prevent copying, or prove that a document belongs to you. Can also be used to distinguish drafts or versions of prints.

Outdoor Signs: Choosing the Right Material

Here at Print Mule, we offer such a wide selection of materials – it can seem overwhelming! As always, our team are here to help, so we’ve put together a short and simple guide to choosing the right material for your needs.


Display Boards

We recommend:

  • DiBond – Printed DiBond panels are made from enforced aluminium, and are ideal for long-term exterior signage and displays, as it’s both weather resistant and rustproof. You’ll often see DiBond boards as the material for road signs, nature trail signposts or shop-front signs.
  • Foamex – Foamex is a type of PVC foam with a smooth finish, available in many thicknesses, perfect for high-quality printing. It’s suitable for both indoor & outdoor use; and is our most cost-effective option. It’s often used for advertising outdoor signage, such as for builders, outside shops and restaurants for changing promotions. It can also be seen indoors, at exhibitions, fast food wall menus, and other uses that call for light but durable signage.
  • Corrugated plastic – lightweight, rigid and waterproof; corrugated plastic can often be seen used on Estate Agent ‘For Sale’ signs, building site cautionary signs, and street-side advertising amongst many other uses.



  • Mesh – suitable for indoor and outdoor use, mesh banners are durable and are available in strong weights which allow wind resistance. The mesh allows air to pass through the small holes, without obstructing the design, which makes it suitable for all weather.
  • PVC – completely weather-resistant and waterproof, they are printed with precision, and their block colours mean your advertisement won’t be missed – with an option to have hemmed edges, and 2 different weight choices.
  • Roller banners – the go-to choice for exhibitions, roller banners are lightweight and easy to transport. Printed on strong polymer, your design and colours will be strong and stand out from the crowd.


Other Products

With Print Mule, you’re not limited to the standard boards and banners – we also offer a variety of flags, with 12 base options to suit all weathers.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Don’t worry, Print Mule can help you find exactly what you’re looking for, whether its lamp post banners, outdoor posters, chalkboards or forecourt stands; we’re here to help. Speak with one of our printing experts today – call 0800 368 7338.

How It Works – The Four Colour Process

Like most media today, full colour printing is actually a trick played on the brain and the eye. A full colour image is in fact made up of only four primary process colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and Keyline black  – often abbreviated to CMYK.

Four colour printing is an illusion based on the mixture of the four process colours in a calculated and regimented way, which from a distance appear to produce a larger range of colours and thus a full colour image.

The full colour image is printed in a pattern of dots reminiscent of a rosette shape. These dots vary in size to give the illusion of light and dark, depending on what is being printed on specific areas of the image. Halftones can be easily seen when looking closely at a black and white newspaper picture, with dark shadow areas having larger black dots, and the light ‘highlight’ areas having smaller black dots.

In order to achieve the illusion of full colour, the dots of the four process colours are mixed in the halftone fashion laying each colour dots over the previous, with different mixtures of each coloured dot helping to achieve the desired colour outcome.

For the majority of printing carried out, the use of the four process colours is sufficient. However, it can have its limitations as only around 60% of all visible colours are achievable through it and therefore exact colour matches can sometimes be hard to reproduce.

Bright oranges are one such colour which are impossible to produce vividly out of four colour process and appear quite brown, as you can see below.

Therefore, in order to achieve some colours, special ink mixes have to be used, often referred to as Pantone, spot or PMS colours.


In addition to orange, other colours which sometimes do not reproduce accurately through four colour process are greens purples and blues.

These days, most print work is done is full colour/four colour process, but in summary, if you need a print job to reproduce to an exact colour, for example your corporate colour, then pantone is the way forward for you as the colour is guaranteed to print as expected.

Need any help or advice choosing what’s right for you? Give us a call on 0800 368 7338 or email us on

How It Works – Digital vs Traditional Printing Methods

If you’re interested about how print machinery works and the different methods and presses we use for various products, then you’re in the right place!

Digital printing equipment in the modern era differs from traditional methods that we have all known and loved. The electronic means of printing creates an image from a computer as opposed to traditional printing plates. For example, digital printing devices include your desktop laser printer, inkjet printer, office printer or high-speed digital press.

Using the digital form of printing provides cost effective prices with fast turnaround times compared to older offset printers which are not always cost effective for lower quantities. However, digital printing is not the best option for all printing requirements, and it definitely isn’t replacing the well-known litho printing! Here are some examples of digital and traditional methods of printing, and you can decide which is best for your design.





Known as the ‘printhead’, it has several small nozzles (also known as jets) which spray ink onto the passing paper to form the images you require. With the long lasting ink jet cartridge, it can print several hundred pages before the cartridges need to be changed. Within the standard printer, there is normally one black ink cartridge and one colour cartridge containing ink of the primary colours in pigments which is cyan, magenta and yellow.

  • Cost effective for short run print jobs
  • Great for products with variable data or personalisation
  • Faster turnaround times
  • Reduces waste
  • High quality on special paper
  • Accurate proofing



Desktop publishing software, for example, is a platform on which commercial and non-commercial designers can utilise the functions of being able to produce a digitally published product. Examples of these are InDesign® and Microsoft Publisher®.

These can be used to create digital electronic versions of magazines, newspapers and adverts which are proving to be extremely popular now that these media forms are readily available on many devices, even without an internet connection.


  • Cost effective for causal & professional users
  • Information can always be updated
  • More global reach




Lithography is when a printing plate with a relief image is dampened with water and then coated with ink. The ink only sticks to the parts of the plate that are not wet with water. The printing plate is fixed to a roller and the image is transferred onto paper fed under the roller. Lithography is used for medium and long print runs of products such as magazines and posters.

  • Most prolific printing process in the UK
  • Excellent for printing many copies of the same item in one production run
  • Can print onto many paper and card stocks with many finishes
  • Cost effective for high volume runs



In gravure printing, the required image is made up of small holes sunk into the surface of the printing plate. The holes are filled with ink, and any excess is removed. Paper comes into contact with the ink in the holes when it is pressed against the plate. It is used for long, high-quality print runs such as magazines, catalogues, packaging, and printing onto fabric and wallpaper.

  • Best for flexible packaging manufacturing
  • Printable on many different materials
  • Frequently used for items such as drink cans and crisp packets
  • Fairly cost efficient, but needs many copies to be profitable



This method of printing allows the ink to be squeezed through a wire mesh onto the material to print. Areas which aren’t to be printed are blocked off so the ink cannot go through the mesh. This is used to print onto a wide range of materials for a wide variety of purposes, including T-shirts, mugs and billboard posters.

  • Wide range of materials

The Importance of Print Fonts

Your font choice can often be overlooked, however they are fundamental in creating reader-friendly marketing materials, and are a major aspect of conveying your message to your clients.

There are millions of font types out there, and the possibilities may seem endless, however each font has its own unique characteristics which will influence your business’ impression on customers.

By using clear, easy to read print fonts, you’ll ensure your marketing material is reader friendly therefore unobtrusive print fonts will minimise the risk of text becoming an eyesore. The consistent use of a specific print font throughout the entirety of a business’ marketing efforts will achieve a consistent brand experience across all channels.

Aesthetically pleasing print fonts can hold the attention of your market and liven up large pieces of mundane text, which can establish an informational hierarchy as your customers can differentiate sections within the text.

Let’s break it down into four main categories:


Often used in formal contexts, Serif is the most widely used print font type. It is easy to read with physical products, on both matt and shiny surfaces. With recognizable projection at the end of each stroke of each letter, standard serif fonts include Times New Roman and Georgia, however there are many new twists on the serif layout.

Sans Serif

The words “Sans Serif” literally mean without feet, which is a good description of sans-serif fonts. Often more rounded with a contemporary look and feel, sans-serif fonts are frequently used within technology as body text as they’re easier on the eye from a screen. Standard Sans-Serif fonts include Arial and Helvetica.


Script fonts intend to resemble calligraphy, and thus is not a popular choice within print as it can be hard to read. It is used very sparingly by professional companies, though can be tasteful in small areas. Script fonts include Lucida and French Script.


Decorative fonts don’t really fit into any of the above, as they can vary massively. Often intended as headings, these fonts can be hard to read but can strongly identify the characteristics of the company using them. A good example would be the Walt Disney font.

And just a friendly and helpful reminder as we’re talking fonts… there is never a good reason or use for ‘comic Sans’ …! Which seems to be a very disliked font for something that is so frequently used!



What Print Products are Best for my Business?

It can be overwhelming to try and advertise your company when there are so many options to choose from! Do you go for an all-out parade of banners, 30-piece stationery kit with hanging flags out of your office windows? Or do you opt for a discreet strategy with a single flyer in local paper?

As a rule of thumb in our technological climate, any company should have a working website and social media platforms across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Once you have the basics in place, you can figure out how to advertise your business further using print.

For smaller businesses, we would recommend using printed advertising (leaflets etc) in local newspapers as well as having business cards and flyers. According to a survey done by The Nielson Company, 56% of shopper engagement originated from printed products compared to only 37% with digital products. The digital industry hasn’t overcome print just quite yet!

If you have a larger business, then go bigger. Customised stationery and roller/mesh banners to show off at careers events is always a good starting point, as well as company accessories like T-Shirts and tote bags. However, business cards and leaflets are still effective for your captive audience.

If you’re interested in some of the products we’ve mentioned, have a look at the products we sell online and make the decisions for your company. And if you can’t decide what you need, then order it all! As lovely as that would be, its also impractical and not very cost effective… So feel free to give us a call or drop us an email if you need any help or advice! You can call us on 0800 368 7338 or email us via

Top 5 Tips for Effective Signage

Using signage is a great way to advertise your morals and services as a business. It’s visual, therefore it’s memorable! Here are our top tips about designing your signage for your brand.

Make your typeface readable

Multiple typefaces or fancy designs can detract from your overall message. It can also make your design seem cluttered and unprofessional. Block letters and capitalisation reads much better for the human eye, therefore you should choose a clear typeface that is easily readable as well as a slightly larger font for emphasis.

Your call of action must be good

Being the largest form of advertisement, it is important that your marketing designs motivates the customer to act upon their emotion caused by your signage. An effective sign should have a simple goal with catchy instructions. This ‘call to action’ gives your customers the nudge in the right direction.

Less is more!

Your sign will be seen by thousands of eyes, therefore passers-by only have a matter of seconds to interpret your signage. Make sure your message is clear and concise, so it doesn’t get ignored. As a rule of thumb, if it takes you more than 5 seconds to interpret your sign, then shorten it.

Think about the perfect location

When planning and placing your signage, you must consider the location of your advertisement. This will help you determine how your signage should be designed. For example, street signs could be very precise and clear as it will be seen by people on the-go. However, window signs attract large audiences, therefore strong, catchy words broadly promotes your business.

Consider colours that work

The sign should distinguish itself against the background, therefore the colours you choose to include must ensure that the foreground and background do not clash, otherwise it will be difficult to read. Bright and vibrant colours that are trending currently would be a good place to start, but make sure that they complement each other and don’t clash!

At Print Mule, we offer printing services for all of your advertising needs. If you want to enquire about what we can offer for your business, give us a call on 0800 368 7338 or email us at

Why your Business Needs Quality Stationery

Stationery is one of the most underestimated products a business can have. Often overlooked by startups or businesses in a hurry to make their mark on the industry, print products can give your company the physical edge over other businesses who are focusing solely on digital.

Quality stationery remains one of the most effective marketing tools. Though it is a subtle addition, it can really prove to optimise your brand exposure – think about it, how many branded pens do you have lying around?

Your first impression matters, and your reputation is your business’ lifeblood. If you had a display of pens, with a cheap, snappable generic biro next to a high finish, logo printed soft grip pen; which one do you think they would choose? When you send a letter to a prospect or client, do you want them to look and think, cheap and cheerful off the desktop printer, or a professionally designed and printed letter that you have invested in?

Stationery and general branded print and promotional products and merchandise also help foster strong working relationships. Compliment slips for example allow business owners to personally thank their customers for purchasing products or using their service. Customers will feel a greater sense of appreciation, and this can increase their brand loyalty.

But remember, high quality doesn’t always mean expensive! And certainly not with Print Mule, we strive to provide top quality and the lowest prices so you can ramp up your marketing and print activities for minimal costs. Our stationery is cost effective, and completely customisable, ensuring you show the professionalism of your brand and that you invest in your own marketing.

Print Mule Loves Luton’s Meadow Movement

Well done Luton Borough Council for joining in and taking on board the long-running campaign by Plantlife, known as the ‘Meadow Movement.’ The organisation have been advising local authorities since 2013 about letting roadside verges grow rather than neatly mowing the grass.

Plantlife said a “cut less, cut later” approach by councils and highways authorities could significantly improve the health of the UK’s verges, which they say will help save money and boost credentials.

It said: “We want flowers to be allowed to flower so pollinators can work their magic and seeds can ripen and fall to the ground. In this way, the floral display will become better and better every year.”

We first spotted the lovely verges as they started to bloom along the A505, Stopsley Way & Hitchin Road and love seeing the beautiful flowers on our way in and out of work! What a lovely sight and a great idea! We hope to see a lot more of this in years to come.

Looking back, we did see this on roundabouts last year and perhaps even the year before, but this year, the verges came to life out of nowhere and are really lovely to see!

Why Is Print Media Important?

When it comes to promoting products and services, businesses can peruse a number of different avenues for a successful outcome. Some of the most common mediums include; television, radio and of course, the internet! However, you can also make use of traditional print advertising, which has a great range of advantages over other forms of media and can also be substantially cheaper!

Unlimited exposure

Print advertising examples such as postcards, flyers, banners, magazines and newspapers allow for unlimited exposure. Print media is undeniably more versatile, unlike other forms of advertising like radio and television where advertising time is scheduled and high-cost for short bursts of exposure to a large audience. Though not all that view are relevant people that you want to expose your products or services to. A great example of this would be magazines, these tend to be left on coffee tables and they can be viewed repeatedly. Not only that, they are a much cheaper option to advertise your brand.


Another great benefit of print and promotional items is that they are less intrusive than other types of media. Television and radio adverts can be quite annoying as they often interrupt what you are listening to or watching. With print media you can have more control over when you would like people to see the ads without annoying anyone!

Target Marketing

Certain types of print media, particularly magazines, tend to be specialised and ads or inserts can be developed to appeal to a specific type of reader. A good example of this would be a manufacturer of sports clothes placing or offer leaflets/flyers in athletic or fitness magazines.

The choices are many and they all work to varying degrees, what it comes down to is what is the most relevant form of advertising and print media to use for your target market.

If you’d like to discuss your requirements with one of our marketing executives, please get in touch and we’d be glad to help and advise.

Know what you need already? Great! Please contact our friendly customer services team today! We’re currently running some great offers and lots more on the way! Keep up to date with our offers by subscribing to our emails and we’ll be in touch when the latest promo’s land!


About Printmule:

Print Mule is your best friend when it comes to all things print! Our wide range of printed items includes business cards, leaflets, flyers, posters, banners, stationery, and much more. Get in touch with our friendly customer service team if you can’t see what you need on our site, we’re here to help! Call us on 0800 368 7338 or email us at for any enquiries.


business cards

Which Business Card Is Right For You?

Printmule can professionally print on a wide variety of Business Cards! Whether you’re after something simple or extravagant. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to have something that will elegantly show what you and your business is all about. Although they may be small, your business cards are likely to say everything about you and your brand. Our high-quality cards come in full colour and are sure to create a great first impression. Our business card printing service brings an incredibly fast turnaround to get your print products to you when you need it. All cards are printed double-sided and our standard size is 85mm x 55mm.  Take a look below at a range of our different card types!

Gloss Business Card Type

Gloss finish is fully coated paper. The coating covers the fibres, creating a smoother surface and resulting in strong print definition and a smoother image. In other words, a stronger appearance and printability. Gloss finish in print is extremely smooth and has excellent ink holdout.

Spot UV Business Cards

Spot UV printing is where certain elements of the business card artwork have been selected to have a shiny/reflective effect. This is a lovely way to be more creative with your cards and design in general. General varnish is applied to plain white cardstock, but is also often applied to coat colour-printed paper products, sealing in their colour, adding shine, and protecting the printed surface underneath from moisture and other types of damage.

Silk Material

Silk coated paper is created by the use of a combination of coating formula and calendaring techniques to produce a smooth, low gloss paper. Silk coated paper is smooth, with a uniform printed ink gloss and a distinctive, silky feel. Silk paper is ideal for projects where a little extra material strength is necessary.

Matt Laminated Material

This is the standard high quality material we use for our business cards printed in full colour. We apply matt laminate to both sides resulting in a very smooth and professional finish for your business cards. Matt laminated print doesn’t get scratched and will last for quite some time.


About Printmule:

Print Mule is your best friend when it comes to all things print! Our wide range of printed items includes business cards, leaflets, flyers, posters, banners, stationery, and much more. Get in touch with our friendly customer service team if you can’t see what you need on our site, we’re here to help! Call us on 0800 368 7338 or email us at for any enquiries.


Follow @Printmuleuk Now On Instagram!

Print Mule and Muley are now on Instagram! Find and follow us at @printmuleuk or click here to view our feed on the web.

Be sure to join us on Facebook and Twitter too, we want to keep up to date with all of our latest special offers and discount events! You can follow and tag us in your photos using the hashtag #PrintMule

We’ve got an exciting year ahead – keep an eye out on our social media pages for some seriously big offers dropping soon!

About Printmule:

Print Mule offers a wide range of printing services and products including business cards, leaflets, flyers, posters, signs, banners, stationery, and much more. Visit us at or get in touch with our friendly customer service team if you can’t see what you need on our site, we’re here to help!

You can call us on 0800 368 7338 or email us at for any enquiries.