60 seconds with Imprint Digital 

Jo Francis
Thursday, April 29, 2021

Keith Sutherland started the firm that became Imprint Digital in 1972 when he was “thrown out of university for failing to do any work on my Masters’ degree”. This was because he was also organising a major campaign for a charity which needed a lot of printed material “so I leased a little Gestetner offset press. Once the campaign was over I had to take on commercial work just to pay the lease!”

Where are you based?

Imprint Digital has moved half a dozen times. After offset, I moved into academic publishing and then digital printing. Our first digital press (bought around 1990) was an HP LaserJet rigged up in the spare room of a country cottage. We then moved to a converted farm building on an equestrian centre in the Devon countryside and then (at the peak of Covid lockdown) into a purpose-built factory

How many staff do you have?

10, some of whom are part-time

What does your firm do?

We print short-run books and journals

What’s your typical customer?

Publishers, from small presses through to Yale University Press, Summersdale and Cambridge University Press

Which geographic areas do you serve?

Mainly UK, but we also have customers in Ireland and France

What’s your USP?

French-flap paperbacks and ‘proper’ hardbacks

What equipment do you run?

Canon and Ricoh presses and post-press kit from Horizon, Zechini, Samed, Prontotec, Opus and Rokin

What’s been your proudest achievement in the past few years?

Printing this year’s Costa Book of the Year for Peepal Tree Press. The Mermaid of Black Conch, by Monique Roffey, won the Costa Novel award and then carried off the overall Book of the Year

How is business at the moment?

Like many book printers we only accessed the furlough scheme for a handful of staff for a couple of weeks last year. We also declined all offers of government loans as we only buy a new machine when we have the cash in the bank

What’s your team’s favourite biscuit?

Greggs doughnuts (our Friday treat)

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