Brands & branding

cd2b62045091ae2c4c4c93e68fc2a3dbWhilst in the supermarket at the weekend I couldn’t help but be drawn, as usual, to the beer section. Something caught my eye in the isle that stood out head and shoulders above the other bottles of beer, so much so I took a picture. Such a strong design with its distinctive mascot harking back to album covers my mother wouldn’t like. It struck me as a genius piece of branding when I thought about it, I mean what age group in the UK mostly drinks real ale? Iron Maiden were colossal in the early eighties so the brewer had really tapped directly into their most lucrative market with this not to mention the additional group of younger drinkers of real ale (I count myself here!).

Looking it up on the net shows there’s a dedicated website for Trooper complete with social networking and all the usual things we’ve come to expect from a modern website.

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This just goes to show what good branding can do for a small to medium sized business. Robinsons are a brewer from the north west of England and they had to increase their production massively to cope with the demand for the new beer. This included an unprecedented 6 day week working week in their 175 year history.

What’s more astonishing is that Robinsons’ marketing director David Bremner told The Sun newspaper “We haven’t spent a single penny on advertising. This is history in the making for brewing.”. 

A lesson in branding indeed. Marketing on a shoe string for the brewer, the band still write new material and so will get exposure to potential new fans and Morrisons supermarket stocks the beer UK wide on the back of strong international orders. To quote the website the Drinks Business;

Worldwide demand for Trooper beer has “stunned and delighted” Robinsons, a regional family brewer in the north-west of England, with orders coming in from Canada, Sweden, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Holland, Denmark, Switzerland, Slovenia, Poland, Finland, Bulgaria, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Taiwan and USA.

Obviously a lot of thought and work has gone into what’s happening here. Whoever decided they wanted to do this first, the band or the brewer (most likely the band) obviously knew the market potential of the venture but the main attention grabbing element is the label on the shelf in the supermarket. It is this that grabs peoples attention most, everything else just supports it.

Craig Alderson.

Contact us if you have a brand design concept that requires mocking up.

Digital print = fast turnaround


Packaging samples are very important at the beginning of a project but do I need printing press accurate samples? Not always. Digital printing has come a long way in recent years, particularly with the sophistication of the RIP’s on offer.

At the more cost effective end, we sometimes employ several digital printing devices for low volume, very fast turnaround packaging samples. These tend to be used when authenticity isn’t of as much importance to a client but rather rapid 24 hour turnaround packaging is. Pictured above is one of our devices that can accurately mimic spot colours if required and will be best used with self adhesive labels and small cartons. Other digital printers we use offer much larger web printing and this can digitally print special colours, whites plus varnishes onto a wide variety of substrates and materials.

Sponge! on Vimeo


The Sponge! new media effort knows no bounds. We’ve just joined Vimeo and will begin uploading some movies of our press rooms, digital printing & something rather special I think. In order to achieve a wide range of authentic printed mock ups, we use traditional as well as ultra modern. One of the processes include our occasional use of 1950’s Vandercook letterpress machine. More on this later!

Sponge! New media champion of printed packaging prototypes.

A tongue in cheek effort I know but bare with us. He’s on probation until we know for sure he won’t be laughed at too much. Sponge! is our Twitter mascot and has now started tweeting regularly. In just one day he’s ‘amassed’ 23 followers, well done Spongy!



As you can see he’s been a busy chap tweeting a selection of Instagram pics from his Tumblr blog. He’s also joined the Pinterest ranks too.


Feel free to follow him in whatever media is your poison. I’m hoping he can show everyone what can be done with our mockups and maybe provide a some inspiration for techniques available for designers. 

I wonder if he should have some dimples… hmmm…

Who we are – MPH Limited

A quick blog entry to highlight what it is we do here at MPH Ltd. As a company we provide a specialist pre-press service to the printing industry, chiefly the flexible packaging flexographic printers. This includes reprographics, print plate making, specialist advice for designers and printers plus wet proofing.

With all this pre-press knowledge we also service various businesses with sales samples and printed mockups. Creative agencies and designers use us for their prototypes and packaging ideas. We love to develop long lasting relationships with these people, we bounce ideas about and like to be part of that creative process when necessary.

If you want to take a look at our main website visit MPH Limited for more information on our pre-press business. The site is rather old however and is undergoing development.

Sponge! on Instagram


Sponge! will be taking some lovely photo’s of projects past and present with the help of his new Tumblr account. I think his first instagram piccie was fairly serious but don’t worry, I’m sure it won’t be long before we start seeing some more amusing images.

Hello from the studio


The first blog post should really be of me I suppose. My name is Craig and if you need anything from us through this website, chances are you’ll be coming to me. You may get to my colleague Mark but he’s a little shy & of the generation that’s little fearful of the internet still. Or maybe that’s actually just him thinking about it… anyway I digress.

Perhaps a tour of my desk? Perhaps not I hear you say! Quite right too, the only thing I’m going to write in this initial entry is that I run the website & deal with any work that arrives through it. As you may have noticed our studio is not big & it doesn’t really need to be as we’re a close knit team who have worked together for quite some time. A well oiled machine no less. You may have also noticed it is a little untidy & I have a good excuse for that, we run a working environment & we’re always busy so nobody has had time to tidy for a while. Good excuse huh? We run up to date Apple Mac’s with the latest software, mostly Adobe but also some pretty special, unique packaging software by Esko.


I thought I’d sneak this picture in as it shows the back of Maria who works here, not everyone is up for appearing yet so taking sneaky, non revealing pictures is perhaps the easiest way for me to introduce everybody & won’t put me in prison. This image also proves that we must be professionals because as you can see, there’s a Pantone® Colour bridge book there. I think it’s up to date…


My desk with another incognito shot of a colleague, Tim. He’s a director by the way so a very important chap. I thought this is an great shot because you can see that we have fun here & we’re not stuffy corporate types, look Morph is proving that by being quashed to death by my mug of coffee ha ha!

So yes, this, the first entry I think went quite well. Took a few pictures & I think I got away with it. Also you got that tour of my desk I promised you wouldn’t get, sneaky huh? I warn you though, future posts may occasionally be a little more formal as I go through some of the more interesting projects & techniques we’ve worked on. This has a two fold benefit too, you get a tour through & it might not be completely boring!

Thanks for reading!