Print proliferates ahead of Coronation

The special Coronation emblem was designed by Sir Jony Ive
The special Coronation emblem was designed by Sir Jony Ive

This weekend’s Coronation will be awash with an abundance of printed materials and memorabilia – and despite the usual influx of items sourced from overseas, UK printers have also benefited from the event.

Newspaper and magazine publishers have produced special editions and supplements ahead of the big day, with more set to follow after King Charles III is officially crowned tomorrow.

As well as the proliferation of flags, bunting and merchandise in the capital, printers up and down the country have been involved with local activities to mark the pageant.

Nottingham-headquartered John E Wright featured in last weekend’s Guardian which detailed the work involved in installing a giant crown onto the city’s Council House.

Click the gallery to see the images

Managing director Tony Barnett told Printweek that the coronation had involved an uplift in business for the firm.

“As well as installing the crown, we also do all the flags around the city as well. And there have been other projects for all sorts of different organisations.

“We’ve got a really good creative team and sales team here, and we’ve seen quite a boost from the Coronation.”

He quipped: “This month at least, we’re all royalists!”

He also shared an archive image of the firm’s original shop decked out for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Retailers and supermarkets have used a variety of point-of-sale tactics, including face-in-the-hole photo boards as part of their promotions.

Delta Group CEO Jason Hammond commented: “We have produced a fair bit of Coronation-related print for retailers and brands. The Coronation allows everybody to experiment with event-based POS which has been on the increase over the last few years.

“I think for the consumer it enables, what feels like a more personal relationship with the brand or retailer and for the retailer and brand it can be used to increase knowledge and preferences of the consumer to build customer loyalty and ultimately increase sales.”

Print providers have also added Coronation ranges to their product mix, along with other special products.

Bluetree-owned Instantprint launched ‘Royal Foil’ in the run-up to the Coronation, described as “a luxurious, limited edition purple foiling option”.

The firm said it had proved popular with clients and generated a lot of interest.

Fellow web-to-print specialist WTTB produced a special guide earlier this year detailing how customers could maximise the opportunities to produce merchandise and memorabilia to mark the event.

Royal and celebrity face masks and lifesize cardboard cut-outs will inevitably proliferate on Saturday and at Coronation Big Lunch gatherings held over the bank holiday weekend.

Karl Jones, general manager at Blackpool-based Party People, said the firm had experienced huge demand for its Royal range.

“We’ve been swarmed for the last couple of days – there’s been a late rush,” he said.

“Our two-part kits of Charles and Camilla with crowns have been very popular.”

The firm also created a make-your-own Coronation crown kit.

A raft of Coronation-inspired books have also hit the shelves including a hardback featuring photographs taken by The Sun’s long-standing Royal photographer Arthur Edwards, who has been photographing the family for more than 40 years.

King Charles III, dubbed “the climate king” for his long-standing concerns about the environment, has also written a foreword for children’s book It’s Up To Us, based on the Terra Carta roadmap and described as “a beautiful, lyrical and thought-provoking voyage through Nature, the threats we face and an action plan for the future.”

Posh department store Fortnum & Mason – which was co-founded by a former royal footman at the court of Queen Anne in the 18th century and has been an official ‘by appointment’ supplier to the royal household since Queen Victoria’s reign – detailed the creative process behind its special range of Coronation products featuring exquisite designs and calligraphy used for its printed packaging and on metal decorating for its signature tins.

Westminster Abbey even has its own range of merchandise, as does Buckingham Palace with an online shop and physical stores in London, Windsor and Edinburgh.

Today (5 May), the Abbey was flagging a three week delivery delay due to high demand, and stated, perhaps unnecessarily, “your order will not arrive before the Coronation”.

The stunning invitations to the ceremony and 34pp order of service for the big day have been printed by an unnamed Royal Warrant holder.

Sources told Printweek it was likely to be Barnard & Westwood, but Warrant holders are not allowed to discuss their involvement or work for the royal family without permission.