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Small print is a big problem! Ask 29,000 borrowers at the Skipton Building Society, which used an 'exceptional circumstances' clause tucked away in its small print to justify increasing its mortgages by an average of £100 per month despite an apparent guarantee that it would not do so. This is by no means the first time consumers have been lulled into signing for finance, insurance or subscriptions, only to be advised later of a hostile clause in the small print.

Hence it is encouraging to hear that the Office of Fair Trading will conduct an investigation to see if consumers are being misled by small print and jargon in contracts. This is something Magnifico has supported for some time. In 2008 we were invited to the Houses of Parliament by the Plain English Campaign to support the launch of a private member's bill by Labour MP, Nick Palmer, calling for small print in contracts to be made bigger to make it easier to read for elderly people. The bill ran out of time before it could become law but it's good to see this issue now apparently back on the agenda. Meanwhile we cannot argue with the Daily Telegraph, which recommends its readers to 'raise your magnifying glasses and get reading'.

On the subject of finance-related small print we find a certain irony in the number of customers who want to order from us over the phone but find it very difficult to read the 3-digit security number on the back of their credit card!


Magnifico is a commercial business but we get great pleasure from knowing that our products really do make life easier and more enjoyable for so many people. We always try to help but sometimes we're happy to try and do a little more. For example we recently donated a large number of hand-held and desktop magnifiers and lamps in response to an appeal for everyday optical aids from a college for visually impaired students. Our magnifiers have helped the students with simple daily tasks like reading newspaper print and transport timetables.


Magnifico has been featured in a host of publications, the titles of which reflect just how widely magnifiers are used. These include The Daily Telegraph, Woman's Weekly, Disability Now, Electronics World, Writers News, Needlecraft and Collect It. We've also supplied magnifiers to several well-known authors and journalists, and been approached many times - usually with barely a day's notice - by TV and film production companies looking to use our products in programmes from 'Spooks' to CBBC and Mission Impossible. To any A-List celebrity who wants to be photographed with one of our magnifiers: please feel free to call…


Magnifico's debut at the London Book Fair was bright but somewhat inauspicious. Such is the price for late booking... Our tiny stand certainly boasted the industry's biggest selection of magnifiers and reading aids but instead of being in the 'Retail Solutions' zone it was tucked between exhibitors selling American remainder books and Arabic translation services. This meant that many UK booksellers missed us altogether (though we did manage to pick up export orders and enquiries from countries as far afield as Serbia, Taiwan, Lebanon and Guyana). An added bonus was that we were in the right hall to see the highly-regarded author, William Boyd, being interviewed about his latest book.


Ask people to name something they might associate with a magnifying glass and it's likely 'Sherlock Holmes' or 'stamps' might rank high in their responses. The Guernsey Post Philatelic Bureau took this line of thinking a stage further in 2009 by issuing an imaginative 'Sherlock Holmes Stamp Issue and Mystery Pack' to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The mystery pack included 6 beautifully-illustrated stamps, a secret code and a special 'whodunnit' to crack - 'Sherlock Holmes and the Curious Case of the Alderney Bull'. A lovely idea and a super gift for super sleuths everywhere!


We have created a simple Magnification Chart to give an approximate guide to magnification. Our starting point is normal 10-point newspaper text - as found in The Times for example. We suggest you print out the sheet and cover all but the top box of text, then scroll down until you find a magnification strength (circled) that is most comfortable. Alternatively if you cannot read 10-point text you may wish to start with another passage and work out roughly what magnification is best for you by gauging the relative increase from your starting point up to the next most suitable magnification.