Drawing board dilemmas dismissed!

Drawing boards. Essential for technical drawing in any educational or professional setting, but they can also be bulky to store, awkward to handle, and prone to damage associated with both.

There has to be a better way, we hear you cry!  And you’re right.  Design Direct’s innovative Flip Top Drawing Tables offer a smart solution to the drawing board dilemma. Clever design allows the table to function as a normal desk – but simply flip the top over and you’ll find a premium quality drawing board set up and ready to use.

View the range

Flip topsImage1209

  • Space saving
  • Switch from desk to drawing board in seconds
  • Adjustable for precision drawing accuracy
  • Eliminates damage
  • Saves time

Made in the UK

Manufactured in the UK, our Flip Top Tables offer robust performance that will last and last.  They’re available in straight leg or cantilevered leg styles, with boards in A1 or A2 format – and whether you need three tables or 30, we’d be delighted to supply you with a competitive, no obligation quote.

Get a quote

On-the-move options

We think our Flip Top Tables are total genius but sometimes the flexibility of a standard portable drawing board is appealing.  Design Direct stocks a large range of high quality, precision drawing boards and accessories in sizes from A0 to A3.  We also supply storage cabinets for drawing boards and we specialise in bespoke designs to match each client’s individual storage needs.

View Drawing Boards

View Drawing Board Storage Units or contact us to discuss bespoke options.

Drawing BoardDrawing Board Storage Cupboard with optional locking and castors.


Important notice to all customers: Following very heavy snow in Scotland yesterday and overnight, we regret to say that no DesignDirect orders will be despatched today.


This decision has been made with the safety of our staff, drivers and customers in mind. There is almost 12″ of snow at our Glasgow Head Office today, and the Red Alert weather warning is still in place with further snow showers expected today.

The office is open so if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the team on 0800 013 2514 or email sales@designdirectsupplies.com.

We apologise for any inconvenience and hope to resume normal service as soon as safely possible.

We still believe in drawing

We’ve got a confession to make. Despite all the digital technology that’s around these days, we still believe in real drawing – and we know you do too.

That’s why our Printed Drawing Sheets are so popular; because for all the high-tech, computerized tools at our disposal, sometimes there’s just no substitute for doing things the good old-fashioned way.

At Design Direct, we’ll help you rediscover the satisfaction of drawing with superior quality sheets of drafting film or trace, pre-printed with your company details and logo for highly professional presentation of your work. Available in blank or squared options, we offer 112gsm tracing paper or for tough environments, 75 micron drafting film in a choice of sizes – ideal for architectural and archaeological applications and perfect for those times when only putting pen (or pencil) to paper will suffice…

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Christmas & New Year Opening Times


Design Direct will close at 5:00pm on Friday 22nd December 2017, and look forward to reopening at 8:00am on Wednesday 3rd January 2018!

Any orders placed on the 22nd December will be delivered in the New Year. For more information on deliveries and orders, please contact our team on 0800 013 2514 or email sales@designdirectsupplies.com

We would like to thank all of our customers for their business throughout 2017, and wish everyone an enjoyable festive break and a very Happy New Year!

Black Friday is coming soon!

And the good news is, we’re back with our 20% Black Friday discount!

On Friday 24th November 2017, simply place an order on our website and enter ‘BLACKFRIDAY’ in the discount box provided. This will automatically deduct 20% from your order!*

20 percent off

The offer is on for 1 day only, on Black Friday the 24th November 2017, so plan ahead now to ensure you don’t miss out.

Why not start shopping now? You can load your basket and simply come back on Friday to place your order and get the discount.

Many of our products may be the perfect Christmas present for your loved ones. Do you have a friend who would appreciate a new Drawing Board, a high quality Technical Pen Set, or a handy Portfolio? Start browsing our range now.

If you have any questions, please call us on 0800 013 2514 or email sales@designdirectsupplies.com.

*See terms and conditions for full details.

Student Equipment Kits for Art, Design and Engineering Courses

Starting an Art, Design or Engineering course at college or university? – or any course that involves manual drawing work?

Kit No2

Make sure you’ve got the right equipment – browse our huge range of Art, Design and Drawing equipment and materials online.

If you are a Course Leader or Technician looking to supply your students with all the equipment they need for their course, we can help simplify your process with our Bespoke Student Equipment Kits.

Simply contact us with a list of items your students need and we will set up a bespoke ‘kit’ product unique to you, which will contain only the specific items requested.

We will then supply these kits as pre-collated, individually packed and labelled with your student names if necessary.

You can either order your student kits in bulk and have them delivered direct to your college/university, or alternatively we can put your bespoke student kit product on our website available for your students to purchase online for themselves.

For more information or prices, please contact us using this online form; email sales@designdirectsupplies.com; or phone us on 0800 013 2514.

We are a well-established UK distributor of top brands such as Staedtler, Rotring, Jakar, Helix, Linex, and more.

Staedtler Drawing Materials – 50 years of excellence in the UK

In 2016, Staedtler celebrated 50 years of excellence in the UK, so we taking a few moments to recap on what an excellent brand of drawing materials it is and what makes them so special.

It is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of writing, colouring and drawing instruments and one of the oldest industrial companies in Germany. They are a clear favourite in the writing instrument world and are always a step ahead with their innovative and quality products.

  • Their philosophy is INSPIRATION ……every idea starts with a pencil!
  • International Company – STAEDTLER has representatives on every single continent and in 150 countries.
  • Europe’s largest manufacturer of blacklead and coloured pencils.
  • Are PEFC & FSC accredited.
  • Popular classics in the range include Noris HB Pencil, the mars plastic eraser, the lumocolour markers and Carpenters Oval

We are proud to be a long-standing UK distributor of Staedtler products. Browse our range of technical pens, compasses, pencils, and other drawing materials and you will find many Staedtler products in our offering, along with other key brands such as Rotring and Linex.

Also, make sure you check out our clearance section also where you will find some excellent savings to be made on many of these products!

Fine Line Pen Set554T11000.eps.84684.7.ORG ST100 G12S.jpeg ST700S4 45 degree setsquare image - 567 21-45


Wide Format Inkjet Printing: the pros and cons of different ink types.

Anyone in the business of digital wide format graphics or CAD printing will know that there is more to wide format printing than meets the eye. There are many different types of wide format printing, including different inks and printing processes which are each suited to different applications. The following is what we hope is a helpful guide as to the key differences, pros and cons of the 5 main types of inks used in wide format printing.


Dye Inks

These are water-based (or ‘aqueous’) inks with the colorant dissolved like sugar in water.

The advantage ofdye inks is that they offer high saturation, because the liquid ink is absorbed into the paper’s fibres.

However, these inks have low UV and Ozone stability, which means the ink will fade more easily if the printed item is exposed to sunlight. Also dye inks are not water-resistant.

Dye inks tend to be used for more basic applications such as printing CAD drawings or indoor posters.

Here are some of the wide format media from our range that is suitable for dye inks:

Aqueous-Based Pigmented Inks

These are also water-based inks, but the colorant is made of tiny, encapsulated particles (pigments) which are suspended in the liquid like chalk. When applied to paper, the tiny particles of colour sit on top of the paper instead of being absorbed into the paper’s fibres like dye inks.

Aqueous-based pigmented inks have high lightfastness and ozone resistance, and are generally water-resistant. However, they offer slightly lower saturation compared to dye inks.

Printers using aqueous-based pigmented inks often use more colours and graduations (up to twelve ink cartridges) in order to compensate for the lower brilliance and to improve overall print quality.

These inks are great for indoor posters and graphics, canvas prints and other fine art applications. They can also be used for short-term outdoor applications, or for long-term outdoor items if additional protection (e.g. lamination) is applied.

Here are some of our top-selling wide format media products for aqueous-based pigment inks:

Solvent Inks

These are also pigmented inks, but unlike the above, the liquid is chemical-based – i.e. solvent.

Solvent inks are more durable and than water-based inks, are waterfast, and can be applied to other materials such as uncoated vinyl and PVC, as well as paper, canvas and other synthetic films.

The disadvantage of solvent inks is the fact that they can be harmful to your health and the environment, due to the various gases released by the chemical-based liquid.

Solvent inks can be used for a wide range of both indoor and outdoor graphic and display applications, including outdoor posters, signs, banners and vehicle wraps. Due to the odour created by these chemical-based inks, they are unsuitable for some indoor applications such as food retailers.

Some of our most popular media for solvent inks include the following:

Latex Inks

Latex inks are like aqueous-based pigmented inks, however the difference is they also contain small particles of latex, which is a form of plastic. Once applied to paper, heat is used to evaporate away the water, leaving just the pigment and latex particles on the paper surface. At the same time, the heat activates, or ‘melts’, the latex particles and this encapsulates and binds the pigments to the surface.

Like solvent inks, latex ink is waterproof, waterfast and can be applied to a range of media such as uncoated vinyl and PVC. However, the benefit of latex ink over against solvent is that it doesn’t produce any harmful gases or odours that are harmful to the environment. Therefore, latex is often viewed as an ‘environmentally friendly’ version of solvent.

The main disadvantages of using latex inks is that, due to the heat involved in the process, there is currently a limited range of media on the market that is suitable for latex printing. Also, because the process involves heat it uses more energy, which of course ultimately has a cost implication.

At DesignDirect we have a big range of wide format media suitable for latex inks, including some of our aqueous poster paper products and most of our solvent range. Here are a few of the most popular ones:

UV-Curable (UVC) Inks

The liquid in UVC inks is aqueous-based, and the colorants are usually pigment-based but can also be dye-based. After printing, the ink is ‘cured’ or dried by exposure to strong ultraviolet (UV) light – hence they are called UV-curable inks.

The key advantage of UVC inks is that they can be applied to pretty much any material you can put through the press – including rigid media such as plastics and foamboard. This is because there is no absorption of ink into the media, and neither is there need for liquid solvents to be left to evaporate. Instead, the ink dries on the surface as soon as it is cured, meaning it can be applied to non-porous substrates as well as paper. UVC inks are also waterproof, meaning they are great for outdoor applications.

The main disadvantages of UVC inks is that they are expensive, the curing module required for the printer is also expensive, and the print quality is not as good as conventional water-based and solvent inks. Also, because of there is a high volume of ink on the surface, UVC inks are sometimes susceptible to cracking if applied to a flexible substrate.

UVC inks are often used in flatbed printers whichprint directly onto rigid substrates, and are becoming increasingly used in “hybrid” printers to print onto flexible media such as paper and vinyl, as well as rigid substrates. Typical applications of UVC inks are for stiff media, outdoor graphics and general display and signage.

Most of our Solvent and Latex media range can be used with UV or SUV (combination of solvent ink and UV hardening ink), the following are some examples:

Student Equipment Kits

If you are a student undertaking an Art, Design, Engineering, or other Technical Drawing related course, finding all the equipment you need to complete your course can be time consuming, confusing and expensive.

Likewise, if you are a tutor or technician running an Art, Design or Engineering course at a college or university, buying all the equipment and materials for your students can be a big task, and expensive too – especially with budgets that only seem to get smaller every year!

The solution? – Student Equipment Kits.

Kit No2

Student Equipment Kits allow you to buy all the essentials you’ll need for your course in one practical kit, at a discounted price compared to purchasing all the items separately.

At DesignDirect, we offer a range of ‘off-the-shelf’ kits for a variety of courses such as Architecture, Garden Design and Construction. These kits are made of the most popular items used by students doing these courses.

However, if these don’t contain the items you’re looking for, you can go for a Bespoke Student Kit containing the specific items that you require for your course.

If you are ordering for a college or university, we can upload your Bespoke Kit as a product on our website so that your students can purchase it directly from our website. Alternatively, we can process as a bulk order and deliver all kits directly to the address of your choice. Bulk discounts are available – please contact us.

If you are interested in a Bespoke Student Equipment Kit, get in touch today to request a quote! Just list the items that you would like in your kit and please remember to give us a note of the quantity that you require.