I am talking to Simon Garrett, the director of Surefire Print and Design. Surefire Print and Design is located at Unit 6, Weybridge Business Centre, 66 York Road, Weybridge, KT13 9DY.
I: Hello Simon. Thank you for taking your time to talk to us.
Simon: No problem.
I: As a Director can you please tell us what Surefire Print and Design is and when should we come to you?
Simon: Obviously Surefire Print and Design is as it says – printers. We print everything from business cards, flyers, posters, brochures, etc. through to mugs, coasters, t-shirts, hats, leather jackets, we also have our own clothing brand which we print onsite, virtually everything. So, you want to come to us if you want to brand something or if you just want photocopies for instance. Everything like that.
I: There is a lot of professional vocabulary associated with printers like, litho printers, inkjet printers, giclée prints, what are those terms?
Simon: OK. So digital print is something that is electronic only. So, there are no sheets of paper, nothing to copy from that you would put on the glass. Litho print is the old-fashioned way of doing things, where you make up metal plates and you put ink into a machine and print from there. Then you have giclée printing, which is the same as inkjet printing, but someone on line decided to put French name to it, so printers can charge extra money by calling it giclée print. Basically, all the world giclée means is to squirt. It is how printmakers used to throw things on the paper but it is the same as an inkjet print.
I: So, if we learn the meaning of those terms we can actually get more out of the printers.
Simon: It depends whether the printers you use understand the terms. Most should understand digital and litho printing. A lot of them will probably think inkjet and digital are the same, which technically it is but one is done on a laser printer, which lays things down in layers and the other one, as it suggests, shoots out from a jet. So as long as they know what they are doing they should be allright.
I: From the environmental point of view, the printing industry is changing rapidly and it has great potential to be highly sustainable. May I ask you what sort of steps have you managed to take already and do you have any plans for the future in this quickly changing technology on one side and demands for sustainability on the other side: printing world?
Simon: What we are doing at the moment, as you have seen, is recycling bins for paper and card only and that gets recycled. Sustainability wise we are trying not to print anything out – so emails we will not print out. All we actually are physically printing is customer jobs which obviously you have got to print. Any waste from that gets recycled, but other than that there is not a lot you can do at printers because everything is either done through a machine, through some kind of heat transfer or wet process or ink or toner and that side is not really sustainable.
I: So, there has been lots of automation and standardisation introduced into the printing world I understand?
I: And that helps to cut emissions and waste products at the same time.
I: For instance, when a customer comes to print something on recycled paper or organic t-shirts do they need to bring their own material or can you provide it for them?
Simon: We do get those requests. We get organic tote bags so we supply those. Paper though we tend not to as anything that is organic or recycled is normally three times the price.So, if the client specifically wants that we would say to them “if you supply it we will print it for you”. Clients can get things in small quantities, but in order for us to get it we have to get lots of boxes of paper, because that is how we normally buy stuff, so recycled and organic stock, because of its higher price, is not cost effective for us.
I: Right now, are there for instance customers who are aware of managed forestry paper products?
Simon: I do not know if there are, but we certainly are. Everything that we print onto is from sustainable sources, so our paper is from sustainable source and t-shirts. Everything we use is from sustainable sources and they are Fair Trade. As far as we can we try to keep up with that.
I: With general demands, I understand all of us are now involved in the process of sustainability as it is in all our interests to maintain the balance and good health and the printing industry can contribute greatly by making these important decisions and choices.
Simon: I think a lot of it comes down to cost. Actually, printing onto recycled paper or sustainable t-shirts, things like that, it is not always done because of its cost issue.
I: Is it the cost issue or is it the aesthetic sense? Are we losing on the aesthetic sense?Are we failing to satisfy aesthetic sense when we print on recycled paper?
Simon: Recycled paper is, if I am brutally honest, not all that good. It is never white. To get it white it has to be bleached, which then takes away from what customers are trying to do. You are adding a process that causes emissions, gases, things like that. A lot of time, even if people bring recycled paper in they tend not to use it because they do not like the finish.
I: So, we have a lot to strive for to improve basically. There is a lot of space for improvement. I have noticed that you and Charlotte have been working together for a long time. How long is that?
Simon: A…a…since 2002. It is 15 years.
I: Simon, always when I come here I can see that you are very busy designing and printing and I guess that you enjoy your work and you get lots of satisfaction from being creative, but do you have any other hobbies?
Simon: Well as you know I like my tattoos. I have got a Harley motorbike. I like to ride my Harley, but other than that no, pretty much I do work. Even if I am out of work I am working.
Simon: If that makes sense. I always think “what is the next thing to do or the next thing to try”. I also own a clothing brand called Retro Surf Dogs which keeps me very busy…..
I: Two final questions. If money and time were not an object what is it you would like to do that you have never done before?
Simon: That is a very good question actually. Ah……………….I would like to go on a road trip on the Harley, all through Europe and then through America and try round the world I think. It is something to do, but other than that I do not need any flash car or I do not need this or that.
I: Sounds very interesting. And what about, what is it that you would never want to do?
Simon: Never want to do? I do not know. I really do not know, there is nothing……
I: Is there something like diving deep in the sea?
Simon: No, I have done that.
I: Going into space?
Simon: No I have never been into space. But I have done most of these things. I do not mind
flying. That is fine. But gliders and hot air balloons I do not like. So probably I say that or having to get into cage with a lot of spiders!
I: Skip it. Thank you for talking to us.
Simon: No problem.
Examples of some of the things we print:
Posters, large banners, pull up banner stands, custom cards, large canvas print, mugs, leather jacket and T shirts.