Killer app: H&H Reeds plays a blinder and nets top Carlisle FC programme

Friday, October 30, 2020

Saturday 3 October was a momentous day for fans of EFL League Two clubs Carlisle United FC and Barrow AFC, marking the first time the teams had met since 1964. A suitably special programme was required for the long-awaited Cumbrian derby and Carlisle United turned to longstanding printer H&H Reeds to assist.

What was produced?

The idea to replicate the cover design from the two clubs’ last game was quickly seized upon. “From there it was a case of recreating it as closely as possible while maintaining the necessary EFL branding and the like – I think we succeeded,” said Anthony Donnelly, commercial manager at Penrith-based H&H.

During the lockdown period the publication has been reduced to 16pp and H&H has moved production from litho to digital to keep costs as low as possible for the club. The business has been able to use the same paper across both production methods due to the fact it uses digital printers calibrated to its litho machines, and said it can achieve the same quality.

What did the job entail?

The programme was printed onto 130gsm Essential Silk using a Heidelberg Versafire CP press and stitched on a Heidelberg Stitchmaster ST 350. Print and finishing was undertaken on 1 October so that the publication was available from the club’s retail shop on 2 October, the day before the game.

What challenges were overcome?

“One of the biggest challenges was matching the look and feel of a product printed over 50 years ago,” said Donnelly. “The first couple of test prints simply looked too good. It was an odd experience for our designer and press operator to have to hold the quality back.”

What was the feedback?

Carlisle United media officer Andy Hall said the programme really struck a chord with supporters.

“The Barrow retro programme was an excellent example of two organisations working up a simple idea into something that captured the imagination. H&H Reeds moved away from the agreed template at very short notice to produce an almost exact replica of the programme cover from 1964.

“The cover design, coupled with the redesign of internal pages to make them look like match reports from the local paper from that bygone era, made it the most popular publication of its kind for many years. So much so that it sold out prior to match day.”

And the scoreline was the cherry on the cake for Carlisle United, which beat its local rival 1-0 despite playing with 10 men for much of the second half after vice captain Aaron Hayden was sent off.

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