UK printers and signmakers scored a hat-trick at the Fespa Awards 2018 last week, scooping three gold awards thanks to their commitment and attention to detail in their work.
The event took place at the Classic Remise in Berlin on Wednesday 16 May, midway through this year's Fespa Global Print Expo.
Egham-based Signbox took its second consecutive top prize in the Decals category for its work on the installation of a variety of multi-drop wall graphics, wall coverings, tinted window films and laminated vinyl wall wraps at the new London Southbank headquarters of a global marketing communications group.
Signbox provided 315sqm of tinted glazing film and 352sqm of wall coverings for the project, produced using the £4.5m-turnover company’s HP Latex printers and Zünd S2 digital cutter.
Managing director Mark Bartlett said: “It was a big surprise to win this year against such stiff global competition and we didn’t expect to get the award two years running. But it was fabulous to find that the judges perceived our work to be technically challenging and a big learning curve for us to overcome.
“I think it is too early to say how it will impact our business, but we did well off the back of last year’s win, so I think this will give buyers the confidence that we are a company worth dealing with.”
Also taking its second gong in as many years was Birmingham signmaker HNS Signs. Its hand-crafted wooden signage and direct-to-surfaces applications for fashion brand Ted Baker took home the top award in the Non-Printed Signage category.
Currently in the process of finding a buyer for her £300,000-turnover company ahead of a move to Australia, owner Michelle Henry saw the award as a fitting tribute to her team’s hard work and creativity.
She said: “We really did not think we would win this award, we were really surprised and glad to see it add value to our brand.
“The judges said they loved our creativity and our ability to work through problems we had to face onsite during installation. Ironically, it was winning this prize last year that got us the contract with Ted Baker so hopefully this will attract new clients and help growth, even after I have moved on myself.”
Joining Signbox and HNS, Newhaven’s Harwood King Printmakers also took the gold in Serigraphies and Fine Art, as well as the Best in Show award, for its silkscreen print of a painting by artist Lizzie Richards. Using 35 colours on a Kippax semi-automatic and manual press, the work took an estimated four weeks of printing time to complete.
Fespa head of events Duncan MacOwan said: “One thing that helped the entries this year was the way they presented not just the quality of their work but the context in which the jobs were produced so the judges could gain a greater understanding of their processes.
“We showcased all the shortlisted entries at the entrance to the Fespa exhibition at Messe Berlin and, as a print geek, I enjoyed seeing people stop to take a look and be inspired by what print can achieve.
“I think the awards have real, tangible business value for our winners – and applications for our 2019 awards are open now.”
The UK was also represented in the Young Star award which was given to Steph Bourazanis for her digitally printed photograph using abstract and macro photography techniques, titled The Unknown.
The Gold Award winners were:
Point of Purchase Products – Paper and Board: Ocyan, Portugal
Point of Purchase Products – Plastic: Midi Print, Russia
Posters: Digital Print Center, Qatar
Serigraphies and Fine Art: Harwood King Printmakers, UK
Decals, Printed Labels, Fleet Marking and Window decals: Signbox, UK
Special Effect Printing: Kendu In-store Visual Solutions, Spain
Special Effect T-Shirt and Garment Printing: A-Design Ink, Russia
T-shirts and Other Garments: IMaika, Russia
Roll-to-Roll Printed Textile: X-Treme Creations, Belgium
Glass, Ceramic, Metal and Wood Products: Kroma, France
Non-Printed Signage: HNS Signs, UK
Functional Printing: Protolab Electrotechnologies, India