Judging will be by panel headed by a chairman. Judges are independent industry professionals picked for their relevant sector expertise and knowledge.
Production quality is fundamental and the printer’s skills in prepress, printing and finishing are key criteria. However, a number of the categories require evaluation of the role and success of a print project or service within the broader business or environmental context so the supporting written submission will be critical, especially in those categories that do not stipulate that a print sample must be supplied. Please read the below category criteria carefully; the judging panel will not be able to request further information or clarification.
- Adding value
Printed products that clearly show the benefit of digital print to enhance profitability and/or effectiveness. Please provide evidence of how digital production increased effectiveness, highlighting the benefits to your customer and their clients. These can include financial performance, raised awareness, better response or other elements that clearly demonstrated added value.
Any digitally printed book is eligible. Monochrome or colour, printed on-demand, of any run length, personalised or not. The judges will be looking at the production quality including repro print and binding. Additionally they will be considering challenges and advantages for the producer or the customer by using digital print.
- Closing the skills gap
This new award seeks to recognise companies that have demonstrated consistent/sustained excellence in recruitment and staff development, progression and retention through apprenticeships, on-the-job or other training or through other policies/processes in any capacity within the organisation. Judges will look for both qualitative and quantitative evidence to support entries, and particularly for those attracting new talent into the industry. Evidence of the former will include management and peer assessment of progression within or between roles and any new business or opportunities that have arisen as a consequence; the latter will consider formally-awarded qualifications from recognised bodies and statistics on staff intake and retention/length of service. Entries should include a written submission describing the qualitative case (with referees as appropriate) plus any relevant certificates and/or data for recruitment and retention.
- Creative use of substrates
Examples of jobs where the physical attributes of the material used are fundamental to their appeal and success. This includes printing onto challenging substrates and sympathetic design, print and finishing to highlight the tangible and tactile qualities of the materials used.
- Designed for digital print and finishing
This award will be given to the job that best exemplifies the capabilities and strengths of digital print and finishing. This may include extended gamut printing, using additional colours, fluorescent or clear inks or toners, personalisation/variable data capability (at least three samples will be required to confirm this), printing on unusual substrates, digital embellishment (each item potentially different) or other special effects techniques.
- Digitally printed labels and packaging
Labels and packaging that use digital printing to deliver additional benefit to the customer. That may include making high-quality products available for micro and small businesses in addition to providing agile supply chains and reduced inventory and waste.
- Digitally printed textiles
This award addresses the rapidly-growing field of décor, fabric and garment print. The judges will be looking for evidence of how digital printing on textiles has created new opportunities or solved existing challenges. Fitness for purpose, quality and sustainability will all be considered. As this sector is so varied, complete finished products are only required for smaller items (such as T-shirts, bags, cushions); for larger items/installations, swatches or samples produced the same way on the same materials should be sent, along with high quality still photography and/or video of the finished product. Supporting evidence of commercial success/client satisfaction should be provided, where relevant.
- Finishing and embellishment
The use of post-press processes to add durability, visual appeal/perceived value and differentiation to finished products. Judges will be looking for evidence that the finishing processes provided clear benefits. These may be through the format, feel and appearance of the job, or reduced time, cost and material usage.
- NEW for 2023 - Inkjet in commercial print
This new award seeks to recognise the progress made in inkjet printing of high quality commercial work, replacing other digital print technologies or offset, gravure, or other analogue print. Jobs entirely printed on cut-sheet or continuous-feed inkjet presses, on any substrate, are eligible. The judges will assess print quality in the context of the substrate used, the unit cost and the purpose of the piece in question and will be looking for evidence of why inkjet technology was chosen in preference to any alternative.
- NEW for 2023 - Inkjet in direct mail
This category will recognise the growing quality and cost-effectiveness of inkjet print in direct mail and related variable data-based applications, where ‘white paper’ inkjet printing has replaced other digital or hybrid printing processes such as overprinting on offset-printed shells. Submitted jobs must have been entirely printed by cut-sheet or web-fed inkjet, on any substrate. In addition to an assessment of quality in the context of the client brief, budget and media choice, the judges will be looking for evidence of increased cost-effectiveness, reach/response or new business developed as a consequence of adopting inkjet print.
Any digitally printed job, regardless of process or format, that offers something beyond the current normal practice. Whether it is the printing or finishing processes employed, the substrate used, the product format, use of data or the business model. The judges will be looking at innovations in production, service and delivery. Please provide a clear description of the challenges faced, innovative approaches taken to meet them and evidence of the benefits.
- Marketing collateral
Marketing materials produced digitally, including personalised campaigns. The judges will be looking at the print and finishing quality, the materials used and the choice of format to provide impact and effectiveness. Details of how digital production improved the offering along with supporting data will be considered. Entries can be both commercial work or self promotional print.
We are looking for print companies that can demonstrate an ongoing commitment to continuous improvement in sustainability through their policies and working practices. This may range from choice of substrates, inks and print technologies to waste management, recycling, renewable energy use or generation, transport and carbon offsetting initiatives plus employee and customer engagement and recognition programmes. The 500-word ‘job’ description here should outline these and supporting documents such as policies, environmental certifications or awards may be submitted, along with a sample of any job that you feel particularly demonstrates these values.
- Transactional print and variable data campaigns
Examples of digitally printed personalised transactional/transpromo, marketing, and customer communication mailings either with or without additional online/digital elements. Please describe the aims of the project, how well they were achieved and how the use of variable data contributed. Consideration will be given to format, the design of the campaign, use of materials and return on investment, response rates and effectiveness; for multi-channel campaigns, relevant engagement statistics or other evidence of success will also be considered.
- Workflow, including e-commerce
This category aims to exemplify and reward good practice in the integration of processes and data both within and between print businesses, their suppliers and their clients, including but not limited to web-to-print or e-commerce portals, public or private. The necessary software may include off-the-shelf commercial solutions, bespoke development/programming or a combination of both. The judges will look for evidence of business benefits in terms of reduced operating costs, faster turnaround/higher productivity, increased profit margins and/or customer retention.
- Wide and super-wide format
This category encompasses the full gamut of wide-format production, from posters, banners and soft signage, through displays, exhibition and event graphics to retail and vehicle and building wraps, on any substrate. Samples that are too big to be submitted by post can be illustrated by photography and supporting written submissions. Please provide details of the challenges faced and your response including design, production and installation factors.