Looks Good On Paper 😉

Looking to add something special to your new card range or to enhance your existing designs? We can help you to bring your ideas into existence, complete with all the bells and whistles. In this blog post we are sharing ideas and examples of how to maximise your card designs through the use of the specialist print finishes available at Loxleys:

Foiling

  • Suitable on both litho and digital print runs
  • Available in a range of colours and textured effects
  • Applied using hot or cold techniques
  • Can be combined with embossing for a raised/ fluted effect
  • Great for: typography, fine detail, bold foiled backgrounds, holographic effects

Die cutting

  • Compatible with litho print runs 
  • Created using a bespoke die plate with a shaped steel blade
  • Perfect finish for making your cards ‘stand out’
  • Great for: cut outs, rounded corners, applying badges, perforated/easy remove elements and creative shapes

Embossing

  • Compatible with litho print runs
  • Creates a tactile 3D finish 
  • Perfect for showcasing the quality and texture of the board 
  • Great for: typography, patterns, letterpress effect, framing a central image

Glitter

  • Suitable on both litho and digital print runs
  • Available in a range of colours and sizes for effect
  • Traditional or bio-glitter options (freshwater biodegradable)
  • Can be ‘sealed’ with varnish to secure glitter in place 
  • Great for: typography, full coverage, smaller details and patterns – making your designs a little more disco! 

Need more inspiration? Follow us on Instagram @Loxleysprint where we regularly share ‘hot of the press’ projects, industry insights and updates

Get to know our print apprentices

At Loxleys, we boast a dedicated team of 70-80 skilled workers proficient in operating our printing and finishing machinery, ensuring that every greeting card leaving our production line adheres to our high standards of quality. As a specialist manufacturer, it’s imperative that we invest in the future of our workforce to uphold our reputation and our expertise for years to come. One of the ways we do this is through offering print apprenticeships that seamlessly integrates with our production processes.

Through the printing apprenticeship program led by BPIF, our apprentices balance theoretical learning with hands-on training on the factory floor, giving an overview of all areas including health and safety, engineering, and printing processes. This comprehensive approach enables our apprentices to complete the course as fully qualified printers, ready to take the next steps in their career with confidence and experience.


Harry started his apprenticeship with Loxleys in November after disliking the structure of college education and looking for a more ‘hands on’ opportunity. In this short time Harry has become a valuable member of the team and has made a strong start to learning about life at Loxleys.

We checked in with Harry to see how he was getting on and share his experience so far:

What has been the positives of an apprenticeship placement over college/ regular employment?

The apprenticeship is more hands on and a completely different environment from school. It’s more practical and there’s quick progression, which has helped me to build confidence.

What have you enjoyed most so far:

I’ve enjoyed the variety in the role, spending time on the printing press, packing machines, guillotine and in the die library. It’s been good getting to know and shadow the other workers.

How have you found working with the Loxleys team?

It’s been really fun and they’ve shared a lot of their knowledge and experience.

Would you recommend the apprenticeship at Loxleys to others?

Yes, it’s a good environment to work in, the team are supportive, fun and easy to talk to.


More recently we welcomed Harvey as an apprentice, who has been at Loxleys since December, this is his feedback on the experience so far:

What are the positives of an apprenticeship placement over college/ regular employment:

The apprenticeship is more work based and gets you more prepared for the future. It has helped me to build communication skills and confidence.

What have you enjoyed most so far:

So far I’ve enjoyed working in the die library, and being hands on with machinery like the hunkler which attaches inserts to cards.

How have you found working with the Loxleys team?

The Loxleys team are all easy to get along with and have helped me learn about the different machines and processes

Would you recommend the apprenticeship at Loxleys to others?

Yes, the workers are nice and there is a good atmosphere. My experience so far has been very positive.


As shown through the feedback from Harvey and Harry our apprenticeships are a brilliant alternative to traditional education with benefits to both the business and the individuals. If you’d like to know more about our apprenticeship positions of work experience opportunities at Loxleys please contact i[email protected]

A huge thank you to Harry and Harvey for sharing your feedback – keep up the hard work!

Caring at Christmas

This year members of the Loxleys team took part in the GCA’s ‘Caring at Christmas’ campaign which aims to support care homes residents maintain their festive traditions by writing and posting Christmas cards without the barrier of getting out to the shops or the post office. The initiative, started by Matt Genower of Five Dollar Shake, aims to spread a little Christmas magic up and down the country and this year has seen a broad range of greeting card publishers and printers make connections in their local community.

At the start of December Sally, Helen and Heather, armed with a selection of cards from our archives. popped down the road to Valley Wood care home in Heeley where they assisted some of the 50 residents in choosing and writing their Christmas greetings. The atmosphere at the home was very festive, with residence sharing their favourite Christmas memories with the team and enjoying a selection of biscuits and chocolate treats (it is the season after all!). Many of the residence shared their thanks and thought the initiative was a wonderful idea, perfect for getting in the Christmas spirit.

Louise Crocker Valley Wood manager shared “We were were so pleased that the team from Loxleys called in to spend time with our residents and help them complete their Christmas card for family and friends.”

The team at Loxleys are now hoping to make the care home visit an annual tradition and to build a stronger relationship with SheffCare who provide an amazing service to their residents. We would thoroughly recommend the initiative to others working in the greeting card sector as a truly valuable and rewarding way to celebrate the Christmas season.

Read The Star Sheffield Newspaper article here.

Learn more about the GCA campaign and how you can get involved here.

Get to know Marketing Intern: Raggy Media

Over the past 6 months we have had the pleasure of working with Harry (Raggy Media) a student based at Sheffield UTC college. Harry has assisted our in-house marketing team in building a library of film and photography suitable to share on the Loxleys website and social media. We recently had a catch up with Harry to discuss how he was finding his placement at Loxleys and to share his plans for the future are.

What is your role at Loxleys?

At Loxleys, I carry out the role of Marketing intern, in this role I use my skills in photography, videography and graphic design to share updates with Loxleys new and existing customers. I assist Heather in scheduling content for social media, Loxleys’ website and email newsletters, with the aim of gaining engagement and attention, which will hopefully translate into sales.

What Skills Have You Gained/ Built Upon?

The most notable skill improvement since I started my placement at Loxleys is in my photography. Compared to my first photos at Loxleys, I am now able to position greetings cards and frame images in such a way that they are visually appealing. After being at Loxleys for a few months I have been able to gain a deep understanding into how social media can be used to effectively market a brand and establish/ represent a brand identity.

What Project Are You Most Proud of So Far?

Within Loxleys, I would have to say that my proudest project is the interview blog and Instagram post we created in collaboration with Dialectable. Creating this post required understanding of brand identity to be able to simultaneously represent the two brands involved (Loxleys and Dialectable) using their brand colours.

Outside of Loxleys, my favourite project is currently in the works, it is a short film I am producing as a part of my technical media coursework at UTC Sheffield (this short film is currently advertised on my Instagram page @raggy_media). Loxleys flexibility in my work placement schedule has allowed me to put as much effort into what I produce for them as personal projects or coursework without being stretched too thinly.

What are your next steps?

After my time at Loxleys comes to an end, and once I have finished my college education, I plan on going to University to pursue a BA in Film and Television Production and potentially even an MA in Documentary Production.

My work placement at Loxleys has already significantly increased the skills I will need for the future, they have given me access to this wealth of information on social media strategy and plenty of opportunities to put my skills into practice. The media I have produced for Loxleys has been added to both my digital and physical portfolios, which I will be using in applications to university and future careers.

From your experience what are the benefits of work placements?

Work experience offers a unique experience that the regular education system doesn’t. It enables you to explore the industry you want to work in and get a better understanding of roles and responsibilities. For me it has been a great start into entering a serious career that I have any passion in.

I would highly recommend anyone who is given the opportunity to enter work experience to do it. Especially at Loxleys, the staff (even outside of the department I work in) are friendly and approachable and always willing to help.

We’d like to share our thanks with Harry for taking the time to answer our questions and for his continued hard work as a valued member of the Loxleys marketing team. If you are feeling inspired to get involved with Loxleys and would like more details on work experience placements please contact [email protected]

If you would like to follow Harrys journey please follow him on social media or Youtube:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raggy_media/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@RaggyMedia

Please take a moment to watch Harrys’ latest project, a short film called ‘Another Cuppa’ https://shorturl.at/tAHIR

Photos taken by Harry @Raggy_media for Loxleys, 2023

Building a Card-munity at the Greeting Card Association AGM

This years GCA AGM, held at the Leeds Royal Armoury, was truly a grand day out! The annual event held by the Greeting Card Association brought together over 180 members from all across the industry from publishing, to printing, to share their experiences, catch up on industry news and celebrate the strength of our wonderful card-munity.

The day started with the GCA’s annual market report, supported by research from Kantar, reflecting on the current state of the greeting card market and celebrating it’s continued resilience to the cost of living crisis. This presentation was followed by guest speakers Sarah Laker (Independent shop owner) Wendy of Wendy-Jones Blackett (Designer) and Adam Dury of Cardfactory. Each talk was engaging and inspiring, sharing a different perspective of the greeting card industry.

This years event also included a mixer element, with individuals from different businesses seated together for dinner, this was a great opportunity to meet new faces, discuss the days talks and connect with different areas of the industry. The Loxleys team attending enjoyed this fresh take on the annual get together and left the event feeling inspired and informed about the future of the industry.

Greeting Card Association

We’d like to share our thanks to the GCA council for organising such a successful event and celebrate the friendly and inclusive community of greetings cards. If you’d like to learn more about the GCA and how they can support your business visit: About | Greeting Card Association

Hip, Hip, Henries!

The most glamorous get together in the greeting card calendar

Last week saw the return of our favourite event on the card industry calendar, the Henries. The annual award ceremony, hosted by progressive greetings, shares the achievements of greeting card designers and publishers across 20 award categories such as ‘Best Humorous Range’, ‘Best Photographic Range’, and ‘Best Diversity and Inclusion Range’.

The Henries

As a print and production partner Loxley regularly hosts a table at the Henries, inviting a selection of publishers to join the celebrations. Hosted at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, this year’s Mardi Gras inspired Henries began with a buzzing drinks reception accompanied by music from The Steel Panthers – a Carribean steel drum band. Then it was time to get down to business and announce this year’s wonderful winners. As a key sponsor of the award ceremony Loxleys Managing Director, Tony Lorriman, was invited to the stage to present the award for ‘Best Childrens Range’ to the 2023 winner Raspberry Blossom (see video below).

The night ended on a high, with the incredible drag act Ruby Violet getting the 500+ guests up onto the dance floor, where the party went on until the early hours of the morning!


The Loxleys team in attendance had an incredible time and would like to send a special thanks to the GCA (Greeting Card Association) for hosting such a memorable evening! Their continued support of the greeting card industry plays a pivotal role in fostering connections among industry peers, promoting collaboration, and nurturing an exciting and forward-thinking community that we are proud to be a part of.


A special shout-out goes to our wonderful table guests who made the 28th Henries one of our favourites so far. Filled with laughter, wine, and plenty of confetti!


We can’t wait to do it all again next year!

1st Image – Table decorations, 2nd Image -Tony announcing the award winner, 3rd Image the table a few glasses of wine and confetti cannons later!

Picture Perfect Greetings

Tips on photographing greeting cards for shop listings and social media from small business photographer Heather @heather_creativephotographer

Setting up:

Before you even pick up your camera (or phone) having a clear plan of your shoot will help make the experience stress free. These are the things I like to have lined up before shooting:

Check your ratios and requirements if you are shooting for a specific platform like NOTHs or Etsy

Make a plan covering the colours and theme of your shoot, if your not sure where to start with this take a look at your website, social media and designs and pick out the most used colours (see example below)

Select your backgrounds (papers, tiles, fabric, vinyl backgrounds)

Gather your props (envelopes, pens, stamps, themed props that fit your shoot e.g. candles for a birthday or confetti for a wedding) have these easy to reach to swap in and out of photos

Manage your lighting whether you are using natural light from a window or an artificial light you will likely need a photography reflector or a white piece of card to bounce the light across your photo. This should be placed opposite the light source and tilted towards the focus of the photo.

The little things – Blue tac, washi tape or post it notes, these always come in handy for clasping cards together, keeping envelopes in place and even creating depth by placing them inside a card in a flatlay.

Finally, If you are looking to take consistent shots for website listings I’d recommend doing a test run with one card, setting up a tri-pod or makeshift stand for your camera and marking where each card should stand with a faint pencil mark or washi tape. This will save you a lot of time and stress when it comes to editing the photos – giving a clean, consistent frame.

When shooting:

Take care of your cards – Make sure there are no scuffs or marks on your card that detract from your design

Don’t forget the purpose of the shoot, it’s easy to get carried away with colours and props but check in and make sure you are selling the design, it’s in focus and front of stage

Showcase your selling point find a layout that works for you and shows any finishes or design features in your greeting card design e.g. you could have your eco credentials on the back, so photograph one card forward facing and one card showing the back. If page 3/4 of your card has a particular colour, design, or message show that off, retailers and customers want to see exactly what they are buying.

If you are shooting a group of cards use height to add visibility, a gift box, shelf or unbranded packaging will do the job if you don’t want to invest in plinths.

Resources:

If your looking to build your photography set up with key pieces and props I’d recommend the following:

Custom styling propsPlinthy, Propface Etsy (CreativeCactus) or shops like Flying Tiger, Sostrene Grene and IKEA – Perfect for starting out

Coloured or textured backdropsClub Backdrops, Capture by Lucy

For more ideas on how to photograph greetings cards and inspiration for your next shoot visit – heathercreativephotographer.com/greetingscards

Celebrating our Customer Survey 2023

Loxleys have conducted an annual survey for the past 8+ years with the aim of actively responding to customer feedback to make improvements across the business. The 2023 survey results have continued a positive trend across our production services and has also bought to our attention areas we can improve on over the next 12 months.

This years most poignant feedback is that, for the fourth year in a row, all survey participants said they would recommend our services to others. The team at Loxleys are constantly working to maintain this position, as a reliable and reputable printer, with the hope of continuing our 100% customer satisfaction streak for many years to come.

A huge thank you to all our customers that took part in the 2023 survey and for the invaluable feedback shared. Every response is taken into account and goes towards improving Loxleys services across all areas of the business including communication, production and sustainable practises.

The infographic below shares the results we are most proud of from this years survey along with our favourite customer comments.

Loxleys CSR report 2023

Our Journey to Greener Greetings Card Printing

Welcome to Loxleys first independent CSR report following our management buy out 12 months ago. Take a look through our latest CSR report covering our on site energy usage, sustainable finishing options and established recycling schemes.

For more information about any of our production processes and green alternatives please contact [email protected]

PG Live 2023

And that’s a wrap for another fabulous PG Live! Over the past 15 years the PG Live tradeshow has been a crucial touchpoint for the greeting card industry and PG Live 2023 was no different. The two day show on the 6th-7th July provided the perfect opportunity for the Loxleys team to catch up with our industry partners and build new connections with a whole host of publishers, distributers and designers. This years show saw over 200 talented exhibitors along with a bunch of big characters including tatty teddy, forever friends, teenage mutant ninja turtles and even the changing rooms icon himself, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen!

Here’s what Heather, our marketing co-ordinator had to say on the event ‘Visiting PG for the first time has been such a fun experience, I’m excited to be a part of such an inspiring and uplifting industry. My favourite part of the show was meeting the designers in the springboard area who are just starting out developing their brands and seeing their different approaches to greetings card design. I can’t wait to go back again next year!’

Loxleys at PG Live 2023

This year’s PG live was a great opportunity for our team to share Loxleys latest updates for 2023, including our recent investment in paper banding and our growing range of environmentally friendly production choices. The show also acted as a re-launch for our updated digital print team which has developed leaps and bounds in the past 12 months.

Reflecting on the event, our team noted more designers than ever prioritising sustainable choices from board type, to printing and postage, renewing our belief that this is the most crucial area to invest in over the coming months and years. Our digital team also noted an increase in creative start-up businesses taking the first steps into the greeting card industry, from these conversations we have begun to look at how we can better support their growth sharing our industry knowledge through customer service, easy to understand sample packs and developing a more user-friendly website.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Jakki, Warren and the rest of the PG Live team for hosting another incredible and inspiring show, with a wonderful atmosphere, food and entertainment. The insight from both visitors and fellow exhibitors at PG Live has given us invaluable inspiration and a re-newed love for all things greetings cards. We can’t wait to do it all again next year!

If you’d like to know more about PG Live or are interested in registering for 2024 please visit: www.progressivegreetingslive.com