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THE DYING ART OF PRINT REPRO

In the world of digital agencies nearly 20 years ago, it was very common for web designers to complain that non-digital designers (which made up 95% of designers at that time) just did not understand how to design for the web, as all they knew was print.  

Now, two decades later, it feels like the media world has gone full circle. We would assume the majority of all designers these days are digital specialists as the world of advertising/marketing has moved away from offline to online. This issue of designing for different sized screens is not the problem it once was. However it seems the industry has lost some skills and experience in terms of creating the best print designs.  

And this lost craft is not just in print design, it’s also in the expertise of print reproduction. London used to be awash with repro houses, as they were known, working with publishers, agencies and printers on all forms of print media production. Now most of these companies have gone or move more towards more digital work, so high quality reproduction is now a rare commodity. Hence there seems to be more mistakes in the area of print, even with luxury brands in good, quality publications.  Soon, we will publish an article about the most common “F**k Ups” in print production, so watch this space… 

However, we like to think at Complete, with our long heritage in the luxury print space, along with our long-serving (and long-suffering some might say!) repro experts we are keeping the art of high quality repro work alive as the print revival makes it come back as a popular content and advertising medium. 

About Complete Ltd.

The Invisibles

For one night only, an exhibition of work by photographer Jermaine Francis in support of Shelter was held in Shoreditch’s Protein Studios. Originally for i-D‘s The Post Truth Truth Issue, The Invisibles is a powerful series of photographs documenting the tents which act as temporary homeless shelters across British cities.

Highlighting the UK’s homelessness epidemic, Jermaine explains the concept of the exhibition “This project isn’t just about homelessness itself. It’s about how we think about society and the most vulnerable people in it. Things need to change, both in terms of the system and of ourselves.”⁣⁣⁣⁣

In addition to the photos themselves, there will also be an auction of prints donated by various photographers, with all sales in aid @sheltercharity.⁣ Although only at the moment a one event pop-up, Jermaine has plans to exhibit the images again in the future for a longer period of time.

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Announcing our nomination : International Content Marketing Awards

We are delighted to announce that Complete Ltd has been nominated by the International Content Marketing Awards in the category of Best Use of Imagery for the William & Son 2019 Luxury campaign. The entries for this years awards were at an incredibly high standard, with huge competition in the categories.

Catherine Maskell, Managing Director of the CMA said ‘It has been another incredible year for branded content, with our Awards demonstrating above all others that branded content continues to be at the heart of all notable marketing strategies across the world; with entries flooding in from 23 countries, and from nearly 150 individual agencies. 

The accolade of a being awarded a Nomination should not go unnoticed, so congratulations to the nominees and their achievements.

The awards take place in London on the 28th November 2019 and Complete Ltd are thrilled to part of this year’s event.

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Luxury Watches – The New Marketing Battlefield

The luxury watch has long been a sign of status, a signal that you made something of yourself in the world.  It’s a fiercely competitive space with a small number of large competitors and lots of niche, small players. The way that luxury watches market themselves has probably gone through more changes in the last 5 years than in the previous 50 years.  

Luxury items were slower than traditional mainstream products in moving to ecommerce sales.  This is definitely true of luxury watches with its centre in conservative Switzerland. For example, Rolex only joined social media in 2013. However now there has been a significant shift from the traditional retail market to a much bigger ecommerce share of the market, mainly driven by younger buyers who expect to buy everything and anything online.  

The good news is that even small, niche luxury watches can sell to customers all round the world, especially if they market themselves properly.  The growing economies of countries like China and India mean that there are more and more people who can now afford the finer things in life.

The other new development is the power of social influencers. People like Justin Hast, who featured recently in our Complete Creative series, help consumers navigate the options and provide independent reviews. Although, not all of these reviewers have a sincere and expert opinion like Justin. The problem arises when these reviews are presented as independent but in fact have been paid for by the brand itself. There is growing discussion that some paid influencer marketing is creating consumer resentment.

According to Deloitte, 60 percent of consumers now use digital to research prices and information when purchasing watches. Therefore it is key to ensure that the imagery used to promote the product on a website, online advert or social media is of the highest quality.  This not just about great photography but also high quality reproduction to ensure that the colour is pixel perfect. This is where Complete’s 20 years experience in this field comes to the fore.  

With the growth of wearable tech, the new explosion of new digital channels, the conservative nature of the luxury watch industry is definitely changing.  Exciting times

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Tips To TV Ad Production

Despite many predicting the demise of TV advertising over the last 20 years, the medium has actually has become more accessible to lots of smaller brands.  The digital revolution has driven a fragmentation of channels, and also the audience, meaning that, these days you don’t need huge budgets to get your brand on TV. Here are some key tips to ensure the make the most of the opportunity:


Target Audience

Make sure you target the right audience and using all the tools available to be as precise and focused as possible. Targeting technology has really become more much sophisicated in recent years, a good example is Sky’s AdSmart. This technology allows you to pick and choose from a range of household attributes. There are thousands of ways you can mix the attributes .


Joined Up Marketing

To make your budget go further its vital to ensure that your have a “joined-up” approach to all your marketing channels.  For example, with paid search you have schedule your campaign to coincide exactly with your TV campaign, to take advantage of the “second screen” phenomenon. 

Understand the TV Ad Production Process

The key to any TV ad campaign is planning. From pre-production, production, post and Clearcast everything should be signed off according to the plan as it will risk ads not making it to air.  Linear TV ads require the Clearcast approved ads a min of 2 days prior ad is aired. If late they could also incur a hefty fine. Be aware of Tech specs for the channels you are supplying in the PRE production stage as this could also affect how your ad will reproduce or broadcast.

Work with experts who understand the process in-depth will ensure that you don’t miss your ad slots!  At Complete, we work with Adstream, who we have found to be brilliant partners in this space. 

To summarise, the key to keeping your campaign on track is to understand the entire end-to-end process and be advised and work side by side with the experts.  

About Complete Ltd.

The Face is back!

Recently we posed the question is Print The New Vinyl? In an era of the digital revolution, print publishing has taken a bit of a beating. One such heavyweight tome, The Face was one of the print titles that got knocked to the floor by it’s digital opponent.  The Face is arguably the most culturally influential magazine of 1980’s and 1990’s.
The publication closed in 2004 after 24 years of being the authority on British popular culture, music, fashion and style. While online challenges print, it does have it’s disadvantages. For a start less sensory and tactile, digital is then challenged by print who offers the reader kindred cultural loyalty and well researched, informative long form journalism on emerging trends and cultures. 
Original readers of The Face recall the time when they discovered in their local newsagents a magazine that opened up a whole new world of speaking and engaging with to them, garnering a loyal audience who is made to feel like a part of the gang. 
Now returning in print this month after the digital version launched this April 2019. Richard Benson who edited the magazine in the nineties says that “Like anything, it depends how it’s done – it had several different incarnations anyway, so there’s no reason it can’t have another. You have to remember, social media or not, there’ll always be 19-year-olds in the suburbs and arse-end-of-nowhere market towns wanting to know what’s going on, and those kids can never know enough – and it is never boring to them.
The owner of The Face, Jerry Perkins, CEO of Wasted Talent has been trying to buy the brand for the last 15 years.  Perkins told the New York Times,  “The really interesting new stuff always grows between the gaps that no one really expected,” he said. “With digital media now, there isn’t anything that can identify new stuff and say, ‘Yes, this is interesting and important,’ and talk about why it’s important.”

We agree 100%, so let’s embrace the return of The Face in print this September. 

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Living With Living Coral

Colour expert Pantone has chosen a peachy orange shade named Living Coral, or Pantone 16-1546, as its colour of the year for 2019.

The colour is researched and selected based on what is taking place in our global culture at the time. Pantone recognises that Living Coral is already being spotted on catwalks in fashion shows, as well as on social media. This year’s vibrant shade of golden orange according to the brand, is meant to reflect the “innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits” as a response to social media and digital technology. “It’s an animating and life affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge” In response to this we compiled a mood to reflect living with Living Coral.

Restaurant du jour, Gloria, opened early 2019 and is possibly the hottest table in Shoreditch right now. The maximalist exterior and quirky interior design is new and pioneering in an area synonymous for its stark, ultra modern, rows of copycat facades and interiors. Breaking away from the crowd, Gloria’s below street level dining room makes good use of the colour on dining chairs, as a base colour for the swirly patterned carpet as well as curtains and the velvet lined walls in the dining booths.

“The engaging nature of Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity,” Cooking with Le Crueset’s classic Volcanic coloured cast iron certainly satisfies the need for joyful pursuits. Ligne Roset’s iconic Toga sofa, available in a vibrant shade of coral is summed up Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute statement “It’s an animating and life affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge”

“Colour is an equalising lens through which we experience our natural and digital realities and this is particularly true for Living Coral,” And if it’s fitting enough for the Tenenebaums 4th floor Ballroom, then we concur that 2019 is the year of living with Living Coral.



About Complete Ltd.

Disegno Book Club

The Disegno Book Club is a new group dedicated to discussing the books shaping the debate around design, architecture, technology, craft and more.

The book club is open to all, you don’t need to have read the book to attend, just go with an open mind and an interest in design.

You can receive a 15 per cent discount on Invisible Women prior to the event from Burley Fisher books on 400 Kingsland Road with the promo code: DISEGNO15. Visit burleyfisherbooks.com for more.

The Disegno Book Club is a collaboration between Disegno , the Quarterly Journal of Design and Zetteler.

Book your free ticket here

Date: 25th July 2019

Time: 6.30 doors open, 7pm start

Venue: De Beauvoir Block, 92 -96 De Beauvoir Rd, London, N1

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You don’t know your Asset (Management) from your elbow.

When a brand really starts to take social media marketing seriously, it’s like having a new puppy. You have to feed it every day. All the social media channels are designed and built to help the brands and people that are highly active, as they constantly crave content.  Obviously this creates a lot of new work but also a need for content, and with the growth of channels like Instagram, that content is becoming increasingly visually focused.  
So now many brands are drowning in content which becomes an internal nightmare to manage.  Many in-house designers who would rather be using their key creative skills are instead trying to manage a mountain of unidentified and hard to find content. And everyday this mountain of content gets bigger and harder to manage.  
The result is it creates lots of internal inefficiencies within the business, for example:

  • Wasted time trying to find the right content
  • Great content that is expensive to create is not used as nearly as much as it should be
  • Poor quality control
  • Little or no documentation
  • Lots of variants of the same image
  • Unnecessary increase in online storage costs

However there is a way around this problem – a specifically designed Asset Management System that manages all internal content (moving image, stills for ecomm, lifestyle, copy and content) that serves the needs of all internal stakeholders (designers, sales teams, PR and marketing) At Complete Ltd we solved this issue with a client who had over 100,000 creative assets that was growing out of control. We created a bespoke Asset Management System that has revolutionised the way they deal with their imagery and reduced the inefficiencies within the business. Do you know your Assets from elbow?



About Complete Ltd.

The Return of The Mac – Part 2

Recently we wrote about the statistics of internet returns and what it is costing online retailers. And it is not just the loss of revenue that is causing concerns but also the amount of admin and man hours required to process the refunds. While it is fair to say that our focus on colour discrepancies isn’t one of the biggest reasons clothing and accessories are returned, although we do feel that it is a small step to cutting the amount of returns if consistency in ecomm post-production processes were put in place. As an example, whilst recently browsing online at the new Birkenstock collaboration with Hotel Il Pellicano, it was obvious that the colour of the still product shot and the accompanying moving image were starkly different shades of blue. And on further investigation the difference in colour tones weren’t just on this one item. We clicked on a Max Mara copper toned mac that sat on the burnt orange end of the spectrum on the fit model images, yet the moving image presented the same trench coat in a deep copper brown hue. This then leads to further confusion to what is the true colour of these products since one moving image is showing the colour more vibrant than the still and in another moving image in a much duller shade. Which questions, if there are inconsistencies in the moving image versus the product images then which image is truest to its actual colour?

In our perennial quest for colour perfection (and not just in this case from the point of view of loss of revenue) we were saddened to see the colours of expensive designer items being misrepresented online. At Complete we pride ourselves on our expertise in colour management so that all assets we deliver are consistent and true to colour for use across all formats, mediums whether print or online.

About Complete Ltd.

She’s Electric

The first all-electric Mini motor car was unveiled in July 2019, 60 years after the original, iconic Mini rolled out of their Oxford factory. The future is electric and a fully charged Mini could take you from London to Derby with speeds capped to 93mph. Complete’s studio team were privileged to work on perfecting these images for the British based brand, using our renowned retouching and post-production skills.

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Is Print The New Vinyl?

For many years, print publishing has taken a right battering as digital media has eaten its lunch, in terms of both readers and advertisers. The digital media has also been pretty destructive to vinyl records, but after a sustained period of decline, vinyl sales are making a comeback. Could the same thing now be happening with print?

Last week, we visited specialist magazine shop,  Magazine Heaven in Rushden Lakes Shopping Park, Wellingborough. It’s been open about a year and seems to be thriving with a range of over 2700 magazines from everything from food to fashion. To me, this is a positive sign that print publishing is making a comeback…at long last. This is mainly being driven by the growth of new specialist, niche magazines published by independent companies, rather than the traditional big publishers.  At the same time digital brands like Facebook, Airbnb and Amazon have recently turned to print publishing for the first time to promote themselves.  So why is print making a comeback?

Here are a few reasons why I believe people (and brands) are rediscovering print:We scan-read online but most people prefer to read on print as it’s easy to concentrate.

People prefer to read in print when the content is long or complicated to take in.

There is a “Creative Renaissance” going on at specialist end of publishing

People are starting to re-appreciate the tangible and tactile nature of the print experience.

At Complete, we have always been proud to have worked with a range of creative magazines that have helped start and support this creativepublishing renaissance which includes i-DDazed & ConfusedArt Review, Disegno, and more recently Jock & Nerds

Long live the print revolution!  

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Return Of The (Wronged Coloured) Mac!

Ecommerce has created fantastic opportunities for all types of companies – big and small – all round the world over the last 15 years.  However one of the big challenges of Ecommerce is the issue of returns. Its estimated, that in the US alone, the cost of returns will be $550 billion by 2020, which is an increase of 75% on 2015.  The issue of returns is even worse for “expensive” products as this research below shows.  The average return is an astonishing 50%. Clearly offering returns gives customers the confidence to buy online without the opportunity to actually see and touch in real life.  However the cost of returns is increasing year on year and this can destroy a company’s profits. As well the huge costs it is also a logistical nightmare for companies to deal with and probably an area that causes lots of customer dissatisfaction.  The research in this area, shows that one of the key reasons for returns is products “not being as described”.  Very often this due to product’s being shown on a website as one colour variant but arriving in reality in a slightly different hue.  The slightest difference in colour can be crucial for customers, especially as we have seen in the expensive, luxury end of ecommerce.  So for example, when browsing and buying a new sofa online or from seeing in a printed brochure, it looks the perfect colour to go with the decor of your lounge. Yet, when it arrives its not quite the right shade you expected and doesn’t quite work with your existing decor.

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Jocks & Nerds relaunch

May 2019. After a two year hiatus Jocks & Nerds have relaunched a bi-annual book. Having worked on this independent magazine over the years, we were delighted to be a part of it’s comeback. In a world of endorsed influencers and regurgitated press releases, Jocks & Nerds is a refreshing read undiluted by outside pressures, committed to creating unique content looking at today’s culture and seeking out interesting people.
If you are interested getting your hands on a copy, email [email protected] to place your order.  

Furniture Village Spring 2019 media campaign

Complete has worked on the media campaigns for Furniture Village delivering successful TV and radio advertisements for over three years. From brief to media channels, we work at a fast moving pace to create the four seasonal campaigns which consistently reach a year-on-year uplift in sales.

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William & Son Luxury Campaign 2019

Working with Creative Director, Daren Ellis we produced a luxury media campaign for our client William & Son. As a retailer of high end luxury goods which span from diamonds, to leather goods and homewares our brief was to devise a shoot to present a variety of products across one cohesive campaign. By creating bespoke still life sets using glass and paint effects it set the product in a meticulous and modern tone.