Array of formats deployed

General Election 2024: power of print evident

Array of formats deployed to deliver party political messages to households

The General Election has provided a welcome boost to print demand as political parties turn to a multitude of formats to get their message across to voters – and with at least three of print’s own facing the verdict of the ballot box.

Doordrops, faux newspapers, leaflets and addressed mail have featured in the various political campaigns, with signage printers also receiving an uplift due to the popularity of estate agent style signs that can be seen in many neighbourhoods and are being held up by supporters at campaigning events.

Promotional collateral delivered to homes and seen by Printweek gives a flavour of the wide range of printing companies that have been involved in producing election materials, including: Art & Canvas UK; Bluprint; Eight Group; Election Workshop; Go Inspire; Leafletfrog; MultiComms; Paragon; Park Communications; Print & Digital Associates; Solopress; Tradeprint; Whittington Moor Printing Works; Hardings Print Solutions; VistaPrint; Potts Printers and Sterling Solutions.

An array of election print specialists have also been contracted by local authorities to produce polling cards and postal voting packs.

Meanwhile, Webmart founder and chairman Simon Biltcliffe is standing for the Yorkshire Party in the Barnsley South constituency; and former Polestar and Webmart estimating expert Ian McCord – also a long-standing local councillor – is standing as an independent candidate in South Northamptonshire.

Secretary of state for defence Grant Shapps is standing for re-election in Welwyn Hatfield. Shapps is the majority shareholder in PrintHouse Corporation based in North London.

A recent Printweek poll on industry voting intentions shows a dramatic change in sentiment since the last General Election in 2019.

Support for the Conservatives has slumped from 49% to 24%, Labour Party support has increased from 8% to 24%, while new contender Reform UK emerged from the latest poll with a leading position of 28%.

Printweek Reader polls 2024/2019

  2024 2019 Change
Conservative Party 24% 49% -51%
Green Party 5% 1% 400%
Labour Party 24% 8% 200%
Liberal Democrats 8% 18% 56%
Reform UK 28% n/a n/a
Sinn Féin 4% 1% 300%
The Brexit Party n/a 18 n/a
Other 7% 5% 40%

Source Printweek 2024: 484 votes, 2019: 510 votes

Polling stations opened today at 7am and close at 10pm.

Industry views on the election uplift

Simon Cooper, managing director, Solopress
“We saw a significant uptick in volume, almost entirely concentrated in June. It all totally dried up by the middle of last week though.

“From a revenue point of view June was 36% up year-on-year despite having two less working days.

“Our production team were working crazy hours to keep on top of it all, meaning we racked up £84k of additional overtime payments for the month (not to mention the 25 temps we had on board).

“I'm delighted that we were able to maintain our high level of reliability even in these circumstances with 98.3% on time despatch (usually in the region of 99.5%).”

Tony Strong, CEO, Adare SEC
“For most people, the announcement of a July general election meant an earlier chance to exercise their democratic right. For our business it meant all hands to the pump.

“The earlier date meant that our election work came hot on the heels of local government election processing. I am hugely proud of the dedication and commitment shown by our expert team. The volumes speak for themselves: over 3.5m poll cards, over 630,000 postal vote packs and over 2m  ballot papers.

“Our capacity enabled us to meet all legislative timetable dates, stock was ordered in advance at the start of year in readiness of the general election being called at any time and we had factored in spike for postal voting as advised by DLUH. 

“There is a huge logistical operation that takes place behind any election. Our business – and our wider industry sector – should be rightly proud.”

Danny Doogan, marketing and sustainability director, Denmaur
“We attributed a 5% increase in June's volume specifically to election jobs.

“I can't divulge printer names or political parties, but we supplied both sheets and reels –  so print across all formats, HSWO to small format digital, were used.”

Anthony Rowell, sales and customer success director, Tradeprint
“We’ve been delighted to support a massive range of candidates from all of the parties, and we’ve definitely seen an uplift in the popularity of traditional flyers, folded leaflets, and direct mail pieces.

“I’ve actually noticed that candidates have invested more in printed communications having felt that at the last election there was a shift to social media channels – it feels that print has come back strongly which is no surprise when you consider the great work organisations like JICMAIL and the SMP are doing about raising the awareness and value of print.

“A standout for us has been the uplift in election signage and now that we’ve established ourselves as a large format printer the additional investments have really helped that element of the election grow.

“We are very lucky to have been the printer of choice for many of the trade customers we serve as well as leveraging the relationships that we have via George, our election specialist.

“The other brilliant benefit this year has been introducing value added services like Boundary Mail, streamlining the Royal Mail process and further developing our Direct Mail offering either in house or through a network of brilliant partners.”

Lance Hill, CEO, Eight Group
Hill said that at the group’s print wing EDWPS election work had accounted for a circa 40% uplift in sales, after stripping out the impact of a separate one-off project.

“Overall its been a very welcome boost, at a time of year when it can be quieter and I think definitely at an industry level it was a very welcome time for this additional work.

“Some might say tricky in terms of short lead time but it would have been worse in the autumn when the industry is in ‘peak’ which would have inevitably caused paper availability and capacity issues.”

Tom Cummuskey, sales and marketing director, Kremer Signs
“Since the election was announced we’ve been inundated with orders for general election signs for all of the parties.

“Compared to previous elections everything’s been a lot quicker and the demand has been a lot higher just because of the length of time since Rishi Sunak announced the General Election. It’s been pretty full on to say the least.”

“We’ve printed for all the main parties and we’ve covered constituencies from right across the country from St Ives right up to Inverness.

“The boards that are similar to that of an estate agent are the biggest seller, but we’ve also done roadside signs, PVC banners, polling station graphics – all sorts of different forms of signage have been required for this election.

“Everything has been expedited and we’ve been working around the clock 24/7 due to the urgent nature of the requirements.

“What’s been really important has been our eco credentials and recycling service. In fact, a local MP Alok Sharma, who’s not standing for re-election, came in to see us recently and returned all his signs and asked for them to be recycled responsibly, and those boards were from about 15 years ago! So there’s a good lifespan on these boards as well.”

The Liberal Democrats have mastered the art of 'sign-bombing' -