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Back in the day 3 – the extravagance of banks

Go into your local bank. Pick up a brochure, or pamphlet about the services offered. There’s a good chance it will be printed in full colour, and may use colourful stock photography, but also be printed in a fairly bog-standard manner on cheap stock.

Rewind to the late 1980s and early 1990s…

Once again I’ve raided my old scrap box, and discovered some wonderfully ostentatious pamphlets produced by Natwest. They’re DL-sized (standard envelope) but are printed on tough card, with some remarkable and expensive finishing effects. We’ve got quality embossed paper stocks, metallic foil blocking, cut-outs, blind embossing, tracing paper inserts – it’s all here!

Bear in mind that these were produced for a regular high street bank, and though some may be advertising premium services at the time (as now) Natwest was certainly not viewed as a ‘premium’ bank.

It’s hard to imagine any high street bank coughing up the cash to produce this kind of print now. And, for banks in particular, that’s how it should be. The massed throngs of recession-bitten Britain are shouting enough about obscene bonuses being paid, without having a national print-budget scandal to boot!

All well and good, but this is indicative of where design-for-print stands right now. For some time there’s been a reluctance to experiment and spend money on the print process, often to the detriment of brands that should extoll quality and innovation. Small wonder though, when changing the stock on a simple brochure from gloss-art to a branded paper can double the print cost!