Judging criteria

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.


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  • 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.

  • Books

    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.

  • Covid recovery

    Recognising the severe challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented, this exceptional award is for the firm, partnership or other collaboration that has adapted best to the changed business landscape, growing profit or market share through innovation that would not have happened otherwise. Examples include but are not limited to identifying new products, markets or customers, or going ‘above and beyond’ normal business operations and goals to help out in the local community by supporting the NHS or other businesses. Supporting evidence should be provided together with any relevant samples of work.

  • 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

    Labels 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 new 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.

  • Innovation

    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.

  • Self promotional print

    This category is reserved solely for work that printers have produced and displayed or delivered in order to promote their own businesses. Entries may be of any size (please supply photos of anything too large to post) and on any substrate, as long as they were printed digitally. They may be one-off items or part of a series of marketing campaign elements; multi-channel campaigns may be entered but there must be an essential print element and this is what will be judged.

  • Sustainability

    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.

  • Web-to-print

    The aim of this category is to recognise web portals and e-commerce sites that have delivered value to printers and their customers, including specialised web-to-label and web-to-pack operations. Whether the site is a private business-to-business portal or consumer-facing, you'll need to be able to demonstrate that it has increased sales, reduced costs or improved customer acquisition and/or retention. Entries must include both a description from the printer of the aims and achievements of the project and a supporting testimonial from one or more customers/users of the site who agree to be contacted independently for verification. Please include the URL for publicly-accessible sites; screen grabs or other supporting documentation for private portals may be submitted.

  • 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.

Digital Printer Awards