11 February 2018 xPrint Companies

A3 brings in Albert to join Victoria in digital expansion

A3 Design & Print has bought a second Heidelberg Versafire digital press, naming the pair after Britain's nineteenth century monarch and her consort.

A year after installing its first Heidelberg Versafire CP digital press, A3 Design & Print has returned for a second identical machine.

The machine installed last year was chosen after investigating options on the market and was the press that managing director Tony Pooles was most convinced would deliver the quality that the company needed. It had previous digital machines, but was not confident in unleashing these across its portfolio.

“We started 50 years ago and have built a good reputation for high quality litho print and felt that digital wasn’t quite making it. We work for fashion houses, private schools, property and others where quality is absolutely critical.

“The Heidelberg has allowed us to offer short run, bespoke and personalised print. And that provoked an increase in demand for that, so we have put in a second Versafire.”

Ahead of the installation it asked customers via social media what names the pair should have. The result is that they are now known as Victoria & Albert.

While the quality of the work is crucial, and that quality has won the business print awards, so too is its strong service ethos. “We are very keen on keeping communication with the client,” says Pooles, “from the arrival of an inquiry to arrival of the job at a client.”

He explains that for a European retail chain, the company will produce the print, deliver to each outlet and obtain verification that the job has been received. This means that the client no longer needs to call its 90-plus stores to check delivery. “We can give them that attention to detail,” he says. “Even if for reasons outside our control, the delivery is delayed, we will make the call. It’s not just about delivering the good news.”

The importance of this approach has led to the recruitment of Hannah Bond as an extra member of the client services team. “And she has fitted in very well,” says Pooles. As well as the transition towards digital printing, the company is increasing the share of work for direct clients, and is also taking on smaller format carton work. He cites a collection for the launch of a range of vegan soaps and candles, involving the design and production of a label applied to a bath bomb.

A3 revels in the challenge of finding an approach that would work on the awkward shape and material. “We are having a big marketing drive towards like-minded businesses because we now have the capacity to bring on board new customers,” Pooles says.

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Tony Pooles, Victoria and Albert

Tony Pooles, Victoria and Albert

A year after installing its first Heidelberg Versafire digital press, growth in demand for short runs, bespoke print and personalisation at high quality has led to the installation of a second at A3 Print & Design in Farnham. A highly personalised service is helping the company's success says managing director Tony Pooles.

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