Posted: February 13th, 2024
RON GILES, an MGN specialist in colour printing, died in February (2024) following a stroke.
With thanks to Ray Weaver (former MGN group picture editor, and AMP committee member): RON GILES was recruited in 1986 by [current AMP secretary] Gerald Mowbray, who, as MGN’s group technical director, was responsible for moving the Mirror titles into colour and for overseeing journalists’ direct input.
Ron specialised in high-quality colour printing and brought a wealth of knowledge to Mirror Group. As a member of Gerald’s development team, Ron was responsible for ensuring the production of consistent top-class colour printing across the company’s printing sites in Watford, Stamford Street, London, and in Oldham.
He reasoned, accurately, that advertisers would not pay for poor quality. In 1986, colour adverts commanded a rate of revenue three times that of black and white. The advertisers’ experiences of Eddie Shah’s Today newspaper, with its out-of register colour – dubbed ‘Shah colour’ – ensured that Ron’s concerns were taken seriously.
Something of a revolutionary, with the aim of obtaining consistency across all printing sites, Ron introduced ‘colour bars’ printed along the fold of each colour page which could be measured at the start of the print run.
He also lobbied successfully for the introduction of print-site controllers. They monitored the colour copies as they came off the presses, and only when the controller was happy with the colour quality was permission given to fully run the presses.
In addition, to convince advertisers that the Mirror titles could provide top quality colour, Ron arranged for the installation of a small colour press in the front foyer of Mirror HQ at 33 Holborn so that advertisers could see their ads printed on newsprint. The facility proved very popular. (Image: Freepik)