Today we’re chatting with Gary Smith, Account Director of Rival Colour. Our Gary started in the print industry nearly 30 years ago at Morgan Grampian Publishers, moved into the production office and has never looked back. Since then he’s worked for numerous publishers, both large and small, across B2B, consumer and customer magazine sectors. Highlights of Gary’s career include working on diverse titles such as What’s New in Industry, Wedding Day and Architects’ Journal. After a while, he moved to procurement, managing an annual budget of £8m across repro, print, paper and fulfilment.

Gary joined the dark side of print three years ago and gets a huge amount of satisfaction working as a true partner to his many clients from the charity, membership organisations and B2C sectors. One thing he likes to say is “if you can print on to it, Rival can do it”. Happy days all round. Let’s hear more from one of the most helpful men in print.

#1. So, what’s your favourite word?

Ooh..crikey. You’ve put me on the spot there. Lasagne.

#2. What gets you up in the morning?

My 6 year old son.

#3. What do you truly, honestly think of social media?

Great opportunities.

#4. Kindles or books?

Books. Definitively! Being a printer I would always say that!

#5.  What do you think is the biggest challenge to your industry right now?

Online versus offline; the next generation of digital technologies and how to maximise the opportunities each of those things bring.

#6.  What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A train driver. I was mad on trains. Wouldn’t mind the holiday they get now actually!

#7. What led you to your current career?

(Wry smile) A desire to work indoors and move away from the building sites in winter! When I realised being a carpenter meant working outside in the cold, I knew it wasn’t the career for me.

#8. Can you use your favourite word in a sentence?

My mother-in-law makes a fantastic lasagne. One million brownie points – check.

#9. Now can you make it rhyme? 

Crikey again. No. For want of a better answer, no.

#10. What advice would you give to your younger self?

To quote Marvin Gaye “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see”.

#11. What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you?

My parents really encouraged me to do what made me happy without any pressure.

#12. Tell us, what’s been your ‘career-defining moment’?

To champion PEFC paper in the UK, producing the first PEFC accredited magazine for CIPS. A great sense of achievement and a real ‘hurrah’ moment.

#13. If you won a big award of some kind, whom would you thank?

My parents and Trevor Tamsett as someone who inspired me

 #14. Can you give us a time-saver of the day?

Always try and get as much done between 8 and 9 am before the day starts in earnest.

#15. Where do you see your industry in 24 months?

Getting back to where it was pre-recession with companies spending more but with a more strategic approach; more quality, less quantity.

#16. Where were you 24 months ago?

At Rival, doing what I do best – solving clients’ problems.

#17. What’s an interesting fact about your company?

We’ve just celebrated our 25th anniversary in February of this year. Time flies.

#18. If you could have a 24-minute Skype chat with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

That word Crikey again. (We’re stumping Gary today) Julius Caesar. No, scratch that; my grandfather because I’d like to know more about his life and his war efforts. Being of that generation, they didn’t speak of their time during the war and I’d like to sit down and hear his experience.

#19. What’s one word you’d want people to describe you with?


#20. Would you mind taking a selfie for us?

Wait a moment, just checking my best side. OK there you go.

#21. What’s your favourite Twitter handle?

@CAFCOfficial. My inside track on one of the best teams in the championship. (No bias there, Gary…)

#22. What’s one quote that defines your work ethic?

Be yourself, be honest and always tell the truth. Bit naff but it’s worked well for me so far.

#23. What’s been the best part of your day?

Spending some quality time with 24fingers. (*blushing*)

#24. Finally, anything to plug?

Tweet us @rivalcolour and I’ll give you an honest, objective view of your print spend. You’ll be able to do one of two things: sleep well at night, knowing that you are buying well or at the very least you can save some money! As someone who’s been on the buying side most of my career, I’ll happily share my knowledge with you.