To the victors (and also to the runners up) go the spoils

Richard Stuart-Turner
Monday, May 18, 2015

Each year, the select few printers that win – and indeed even those who are shortlisted for – a PrintWeek Award have a similar story to tell: that any effort or expense that goes into entering the Awards is significantly outweighed by the rewards.

Past winners report securing new contracts, increased credibility and recognition, a rise in website traffic and a boost to staff morale as a direct result of achieving their accolade. 

And they say the marketing opportunities of winning, or being shortlisted, are virtually endless.

Valued clients responsible for designing the winning projects will also feel proud to have been involved and will likely want to maintain their relationship with the award-winning printer that treated their work with such care and enthusiasm.

Stuart Kellock, owner of Label Apeel, which won Label Printer of the Year at the 2014 PrintWeek Awards, believes that companies can also learn a lot about themselves by entering.

“The benefits of winning are partly in the competing. It makes you stop and look at your business and take a real view on what you’re actually doing that made you think you’re good enough to enter.

“We would absolutely recommend entering the PrintWeek Awards to other companies, if they’re prepared to enter it properly. Take a long hard look at yourself and work on the stuff that needs to be worked on and it’s time well spent.”

Once you’ve planned the relevant time, manpower and resources to sift through your best work of the past 12 months and decided which projects to enter, bear in mind that supplying an effective submission piece can make or break an entry.

Weldon Moloney, print buyer at Toyota/Lexus, explains: “Keep your written submission notes concise but informative; judges have to read your entries swiftly so ensure you mention every USP or process used, however subtle they may be.”

And don’t be afraid to express your pride and enthusiasm for your entry. Printers are very good at avoiding self-praise, but Moloney advises entrants to overcome this.

“You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on a bespoke self-promotional marketing campaign, when the work you produce every day reflects your quality and service. If it’s great then you deserve to shout about it and reap the rewards.”

On the flipside, negativity can have its own repercussions, adds Angela Derbyshire, production director at Progressive Customer Publishing: “Don’t come across as complaining about how hard it was. The ‘very demanding client’ with the ‘punishing schedule’ might just be the person reading the submission.”

A good way to support a standout project is to include a customer testimonial. “It is a real boost if the client agrees that you are as good as you say you are,” says Derbyshire.

While there are new additions to the winners’ circle every year, there are a large number of regular entrants, who come back year after year hungry to win again, eager to prove to their customers and industry rivals that they are still on top of their game and capable of producing consistently high-quality and outstanding print.

We also asked some of the other 2014 PrintWeek Award winners about what they have gained in the months that have passed since their respective wins (see box below).

2014 winners’ verdicts

“It was a huge surprise to win at our first try, and a fantastic feeling. The prestige of the award was integral to several major campaigns we ran through the year. What better boost to brand credibility could there be than being declared Company of the Year? It was a vindication of our innovative business model and a recognition of our success and ambition. And it was gratifying to give young Jimmy Carr a career lift through his association with us. He’ll go far.” Rod Scrimgeour Managing director, Tradeprint

“To be shortlisted is our primary objective in entering the Awards, as this is evidence that we are in the ‘A’ team for that category of work, and to win is the icing on the cake. Every year we receive new enquiries if we have appeared on the shortlists and in the past 12 months we can attribute over £250,000 of new orders to the exposure we received from our success in the PrintWeek Awards in October 2013.” Richard Owers Director, Pureprint Group

“Winning the SME of the Year award was a huge achievement for us and the ultimate validation of 20 years’ of hard work and continued growth. Not only did this award help us secure more work, increase our credibility and support our local and national marketing efforts, but more importantly it gave the fantastic Nationwide Print team the recognition they so much deserve.” Julian Hocking Managing director, Nationwide Print

“Not to be underestimated is the really positive impact that it has on internal morale and on people’s own view of their role in the business and the business itself. From a client standpoint it provides a degree of credibility that they’re working with an industry-leading business. It’s also important in our recruitment and retention of good staff and the same could be said about clients as well.” David Laybourne Managing director, Real Digital International

“We were extremely pleased to be shortlisted and thrilled to win the Customer Service Team of the Year. It created quite a buzz on social media with engagement from both clients and suppliers followed by news and blogs which all helped generate a real peak in our website traffic. The really beneficial aspect was the effect on our staff and the pride in our company at being recognised for this performance award.” Trevor Smith Managing director, Amberley Adhesive Labels

“We were over the moon to win the Fine Art Printer of the Year award. The Awards ceremony was a great night and very enjoyable for all our staff. It was our first time entering and we left with the feeling that it was beneficial and that we want to enter again. We certainly saw an uptake in traffic to our website and greater interest in us after winning.” Danny Kirk Director, Push Print

PrintWeek is the foremost commercial print magazine going so to be mentioned carries weight with people from outside the industry. We’ve got an awful lot of kudos from it and for people that don’t really understand the hierarchy and the merits of the print world, it gives them an easy indicator.” Stuart Kellock Owner, Label Apeel

Judges top tips

“It seems obvious, but check the samples are of the highest quality. The judges will be scrutinising them, so you should too.” Angela Derbyshire Progressive Customer Publishing

“Highlight why you feel your submission is different and what is going to make it stand out, without resorting to gimmicks.” Graham Prichard National Trust

“If you are submitting a complex entry, where the logistics or uniqueness are an important part of the story, take care to explain this carefully as the judges won’t know the history and have a lot to look at in a short space of time.” Paul Stacey BBH

“I always find customer quotes powerful – were they pleased with the job?” Clare Gibbon Boden

“If you want to win Book Printer of the Year, bind in the correct grain direction as a first step.” Francis Atterbury Hurtwood Press

“When submitting magazines or brochures, it’s always worth checking each page of the publications before submitting. As a judge it’s surprising when you see entries with poor trimming, mis-registration or hickeys.” Paula Skinner Dixons Retail

“Remember that the judges will be print buyers and your submissions need to speak directly to them. Of course, the technicalities are important, but a lot of entrants get caught up in the technical gobbledygook and forget they should be selling their company’s real achievements.” Joanne Hurst Lands’ End Europe

“Print buyers are often looking to bolster their supplier rosters. Recommendations from within PrintWeek, backed by some of the UK’s most discerning judges, is a great place for a buyer to start their search for new suppliers. I should know - I’ve done it myself.” Weldon Moloney Toyota/Lexus

“The Environmental Company of the Year award is judged by environment professionals. We look for facts, supported by numbers and evidence. To appeal to the judges, read the questions carefully to make sure your answer fulfills all the requirements, and provide good data and copies of any documents needed to back up your entry.” Clare Taylor Clare Taylor Consulting

The Performance Awards

Company of the Year

Cross-media Company of the Year

Customer Service Team of the Year

Environmental Company of the Year

Marketing Campaign of the Year

SME of the Year

Trainee of the Year

The Quality Awards

Bespoke Digital Printer of the year

Book Printer of the Year

Brochure Printer of the Year

Catalogue Printer of the Year

Direct Mail Printer of the Year

Fine Art Printer of the Year

FMCG Packaging Printer of the Year

Industrial Digital Printer of the Year

Label Printer of the Year

Luxury Packaging Printer of the Year

Magazine Printer of the Year

Newspaper Printer of the Year

Out-of-Home Printer of the Year (previously Poster Printer of the Year)

Point-of-Purchase Printer of the Year

Post-Press Company of the Year

Report & Accounts Printer of the Year

Social Stationery Printer of the Year

Entry deadline: 3 July 2015.

For more information, visit


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