Winners 2017

Scroll across to view our 2017 winners and high commendations

Trainee of the Year

Winner: Amberley Adhesive Labels

Ryan Samways, Amberley Adhesive Labels

Ryan didn’t have the easiest time at school, “a bit like fitting a square peg into a round hole”. And then it all clicked when Amberley Adhesive Labels
took on sixth-former Ryan Samways in 2014 on a modern apprenticeship. He now has a Level 3 NVQ diploma in digital pre-press and is a full-time reprographics operator, creating PDF proofs, stepping files and focusing on a large-format venture for the company in Blandford, Dorset. Managing director Trevor Smith is “delighted Ryan grasped his opportunity”, so too are the judges, who concluded: “Ryan shone in this category.”

Highly commended:

Alice Murray, Hunts
Scott Stockman, Tradeprint

Point-of-purchase Printer of the Year

Winner: Augustus Martin 020 7537 4200

Judges were looking for excellence throughout the display-stand lifecycle: highest-quality print, innovative construction, best-in-class manufacturing techniques, in-situ effectiveness and outstanding customer service. Not much then. Luckily, Augustus Martin is an old and experienced hand, having won this category three times in the past five years. The London printer made it four wins with print for Bumble & Bumble, Disney’s Finding Dory, Aldi fireworks and Halfords. The latter involved a fun but complex and detailed cardboard-engineered camper van. It delighted the judges: “The camper van in particular was innovative and ambitious and really pushed the boundaries of 3D engineering,” said one. Another added: “Impactful is the only way to describe this entry.”

Highly commended:
Imprint part of Pureprint Group 08448 112138

Luxury Packaging Printer of the Year

Winner: Boss Print 020 8992 4080

Luxury comes at a price and judges wanted a lot from this year’s entries, from spectacular production values to printed products that were sturdy yet elegant and fit for purpose. Consistent quality of repro, print and finishing, meanwhile were musts, and Boss Print delivered on all fronts to claim this award for the third time. This was thanks to “spot-on accuracy in finishing and truly exceptional work”. The Caneletto box, for example, which the judges said “showed an excellent use of foil and oozed luxury” thanks to embossing, hidden magnetic catch, silk-lined inner and silverfoil blocking. Meanwhile the Centre Point box was “beautiful in its simplicity” with a copper foil-blocked lid and tray with foam panel diecut, all shrouded in a lustrous printed wrap.

Highly commended:

Screaming Colour 020 7549 3400

Company of the year

Winner: Buxton Press 01298 212000

Three cheers for three years; this is the third consecutive category win for the stellar sheetfed printer in Derbyshire. But team Buxton will not rest. “In spite of ongoing good results they’re still investing and still seeking efficiency gains, which is impressive,” said the judges. Latest stage of a £20m investment programme was a 930m2 factory extension and a host of finishing kit. Meanwhile, a clever focus on environmental performance reduced energy requirements and 70 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
“The financials,” said the judges, “speak for themselves, but the strategy that delivers those results has to be admired - by any measure this is an incredible business.”

Highly commended:

Curtis Print & Packaging 01737 647000

ProCo 01279 757333

FMCG Packaging Printer of the Year

Winner: Curtis Print & Packaging 

“Sustainable luxury packaging is considered by some to be an oxymoron,” read the entry from this year’s winner, which disagreed and proved it by winning a category it almost scooped last year. As an ethical brand, the environment is vital for Neal’s Yard Remedies, so its Christmas nourish hand cream packaging was printed with vegetable-based inks and an aqueous coating on FSC-certified board. An orange slipcase with intricate gold-foil cascading leaf design meanwhile proved sustainability doesn’t have to be blandly practical. It can be beautiful. “This was a really wellengineered solution to the brief,” said one Judge. Another added: “Loved the use of vegetable inks to enhance the brand’s sustainable credentials.” Neal’s Yard concluded: “You just know your product is in good safe hands with Curtis – their care for quality is exceptional.”

Highly commended:

The Sherwood Group 0115 928 7766

Social Stationery Printer of the Year

Winner: Cutture 020 7751 8395

Judges wanted consistently good quality of print and finishing as well as repro for a category where detail is everything. They were not disappointed by London-based Cutture: “Every part of this submission had the wow factor:, very technically demanding and finished with real attention to detail.” Such sharp focus was evident in an Estée Lauder product launch invitation with subtle use of laser cutting to create beautiful details and a striking centrepiece. Harrods meanwhile asked for a luxurious printed product to house an Elite annual membership. An original illustration of the iconic shopfront was turned into a French-fold insert that went in a bespoke book cover with box insert. The Dark Carnival-esque pop-up birthday invitation meanwhile came in 18 parts and involved water-based adhesive, laser cuts and brushed aluminium layering.

Highly commended:

The Sherwood Group 0115 928 7766

Customer Service Team of the Year

Winner: GI Solutions Group 0116 232 1711

The customer is king and this Leicester-headquartered business is set for more of them after a survey showed excellent service was a significant differentiator for GI Solutions. Regular staff training to improve management, interpersonal and presentation skills, together with client innovation days and audits, have helped the company home in on client objectives and the winning spot in one of our most competitive categories. The judging panel were fulsome in their praise: “It’s hard to think of a company that better exemplifies a truly 360-degree approach to customer service – it is simply amazing.”

Highly commended:

Prinovis UK 0151 494 5200

Solopress 01702 460047

Brochure Printer of the Year

Winner: Hampton Printing (Bristol) 01275 374466

The production values involved in many brochures are among the highest in print, with dedication of everyone, from repro operator to press minder or binding specialist a vital part of the process. The Hampton team knows this well, and brought its substantial expertise to bear when producing brochures of consumate quality for clients Bentley and Honda. The Pure Bentley Lifestyle Brochure was produced in four languages totalling 15,000 copies with flourishes such as a cover printed litho black with soft-touch
laminate and gloss spot UV varnish. According to one of the judging panel: “These high-end clients would have expected high-end results, but their expectations would have been seriously surpassed, I’m sure.”

Highly commended:

Team Impression 0113 272 4800

Direct Mail Printer of the Year

Winner: Howard Hunt 01322 414000

This was anything but junk mail. The NSPCC’s annual ‘Letter from Santa’ campaign invited the customer to log on to an online ordering portal and choose the visual design they wanted to send before using data input fields to customise their letter online. The printer in Dartford, Kent, finessed a campaign involving 15 million inserts with ordering forms as well as messages to drive ordering online, 4,000 posters and 2,000 leaflet dispensers. “The NSPCC piece in particular brilliantly demonstrated how to
deliver an end-to-end mailer,” was the verdict of the judges, who were focusing not just on print but the full range of finishing techniques including folding, perforating, personalisation, die-cutting and pop-ups. “In fact all the samples were innovative.”

Highly commended:
Geoff Neal Group 020 8751 4455

Marketing Campaign of the Year

Winner: Impress Print Services 01932 236100

With a wistful nod to the past, Impress focused its Digital Gold campaign on Willy Wonka-style tickets to promote new digital metallic technology, strengthen customer loyalty and promote short-run, high-end work from its base in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. Up went a Digital Gold webpage, out went tickets offering personalised samples. Other elements included a colour guide box filled with a gold Ferrero Rocher chocolate, as well as blogs, tweets and listings on Pinterest and Instagram. All for £4,000. “A technical campaign with spectacular results,” said one judge. Impress enjoyed 2,500 web hits because of the campaign and coaxed existing clients to go for short-run digital metallic work instead of printing litho. Meanwhile 150 new clients generated added value of over £100,000 – a return of over 2,500%. “Wow, what an ROI! Brilliant result and brilliant campaign,” said an awe-struck judge.

Highly commended:

Masters Bookbinding 0118 324 0120

Newspaper Printer of the Year

Winner: Mortons Print of Horncastle 01507 523456

Much has been said about the health of the newspaper sector, but keep taking the tabloids. The quality of these and all other paper formats has never been better, as proved this year by the Lincolnshire printer. Four outstanding examples from the popular press include Hackney Citizen, Photography News, Cage & Aviary and Fishing News. “Excellent image reproduction - strong colours and black,” said one judge, echoing another’s glowing praise: “Beautiful print results on challenging stocks and with relatively low print runs.” The Hackney Citizen, a 10,000-run monthly free newspaper, launched in 2008 to prove there’s still plenty of life in the sector. Photography News meanwhile is the UK’s only tabloidsized national newspaper focusing solely on imaging. The free paper to camera clubs is in its third year and, like its printer, goes from strength to strength.

Highly commended:

Trinity Mirror Printing (Watford) 01923 230455

SME of the Year

Winner: Northside Graphics 028 9022 2111

This year’s winner grew from a tiny acorn to a seven-figure turnover in under four years. Only a few minutes from Belfast city centre, the 41-staff company is in capital form, and in the past year has expanded its offering with a second brand for trade buyers,, and invested heavily in capex, people, software and marketing. All the while it has been bumping up profitability, leaving one judge with high expectations for 2018 and beyond: “A fantastic business, I’m sure this will be the first of many awards. And, who knows, perhaps Northside Graphics is a future Company of the Year?”

Highly commended:
KCS Print 01566 773696

Resource 0113 200 5000

Industrial Digital Printer of the Year

Winner: Paragon Customer Communications 020 7601 6270

It was in the cards. Paragon took the top spot in this category thanks to entries including Hyundai Tarot Cards – a fitting theme for a category that focuses as much on targeted messaging and the handling of complex data, meanings and interpretations as the printed product itself. The job, in runs of multiple thousands a month, rolled off its digital kit to form part of a winning hand that also included a Hyundai Free Paint Campaign, Hyundai Pop-Up Monthly Mailings and Architas Investment ONE Statement. “The entire entry showed a clever use of analytics to drive innovation for creative products that deliver fantastic response rates,” the judges said of a team that dovetailed excellence in colour with smart applications.

Highly commended:
Plastic Card Services 01625 504000

Environmental Company of the Year

Winner: Park Communications 020 7055 6500

The judges are on to something when they suggest “this company is relentless in its pursuit of environmental best practice”. Park Communications has almost made this category its own, winning the award three times and scooping highly commended three times in the past six years. The London business is especially proud of its reduction in pressroom chemistry. Through testing and investing, trialling and training, staff have reduced Isopropyl alcohol consumption by 22%, autowash consumption by 9% and ink stripper by 50%. Sales and customer service spoilage is down by 69%. The list goes on and will continue to go on as Park Communications makes its cleaner, greener message an even bigger part of its business.

Highly commended:

Prinovis UK 0151 494 5200

Bespoke Magazine Printer of the Year

Winner: Pureprint Group 01825 768811

A three times runner-up in the magazine category, Pureprint turned the page this year to go one better and was “a natural winner,” according to judges. They were particularly won over by the variety of techniques, which were “impressive and showed incredible innovation”. Use of special metallic and fluorescent colours defined the print for issue 17 of Berenberg Equities Highlights. Meanwhile, a lifestyle supplement for Love magazine had to wow a client hugely demanding on colour and quality. It did just that with a six-page four-colour cover in four different versions with gloss coatings. The printer in Uckfield, East Sussex, also entered issue 12 of Hole & Corner magazine and Gagosian Spring 2017 issue to prove it really is a natural.

Highly commended:
Taylor Bloxham 0116 234 2600

Fine Art Printer of the Year

Winner: Pureprint Group 01825 768811

When it all comes together, it’s like a work of art. And it has all come together this year for Pureprint. Of all the categories the Sussex printer is shortlisted in, this shows it at its consistent best, producing breathtaking quality across print and finishing for clients that demand the utmost in reproduction. Entries included Frankenthaller, Giacometti, Klein, Peter Willberg Ai Weiwei and Picasso Minotaurs and Matadors. “The jacket detail and accuracy on the Frankenthaller book was beyond excellent - I was
almost lost for words,” gasped one judge. The richness of colour and texture complemented by stochastic screening was good. But coupled with use of paper with the right grain direction and cold-glue binding to help the open book lie flat made this a near-perfect composition for a near perfect year for the Uckfield printer.

Highly commended:

Push Print 020 7231 1166

Report & Accounts Printer of the Year

Winner: Pureprint Group 01825 768811

Last year judges praised runner-up Pureprint for its excellent production values. This year the printer went further, with brilliant colour and finishes across all samples. “They really know how to make reports and accounts interesting – no mean feat,” concluded this year’s judges. What made the 1,535 glossy copies of the BBA Aviation Annual Report take off, for example, was not just the comprehensive proofing methodology or the four-colour cover with seal, gloss lamination and foil blocking, or the cool grey text pages with spot-gloss varnish. It was the careful selection of papers to achieve a seamless run and the ability to meet a tight deadlines – from start to finish in just one week. Proof that with the right preparation fantastic results can quickly follow.

Highly commended:

Empress Litho 020 8316 6648

Bespoke Digital Printer of the Year

Winner: Pureprint Group 01825 768811

Three words from the judges summed up the work of Pureprint: “Quality, quality, quality”. And one word sums up where it landed the printer in this year’s category: winner. Fantastically vivid artwork and photography defined print for Boodles’ Poetry of Landscape jewellery brochure. Meanwhile the Graphic Thought Facility Nowness book included a handwrapped jacket with a unique touch: Takeo Tant was an untested paper for digital colour printing but gave a wonderful textural contrast. The printer in Uckfield, East Sussex also put forward work for Miles Aldridge (after Cattelan) and Of Tea and Horses, also incorporating oriental influences; the Japanese folds added weight and no image show-through. “Perfection. There really is nothing else you can say about this entry,” said the judges.

Highly commended:

Rapidity 020 7689 8686

Book Printer of the Year

Winner: Push Print 020 7231 1166

“These guys understand what makes a beautiful book,” said judges of the London printer that went one further in 2017 after being runner-up twice in three years. The Gestalt book, for example, ticked the two key boxes essential to anyone aspiring to win this category: highest quality of print and precision binding. The 1,000 copies boasted lightweight gloss art paper with course screen rulings, foil-blocked spine and cover and immaculate thread. “The book is print perfection personified,” concluded judges of an entry that also included a David Bailey title and a We Transfer book with a 10-day delivery date from receipt of artwork.

Highly commended:
Boss Print 020 8992 4080

Pureprint Group 01825 768811

Post-press Company of the Year

Winner: Rapidity 020 7689 8686

A client wanted to sell his swanky house in Malta, but first came the marketing to an international audience. A limited run of only 40 books saw them covered in calfskin leather, pared by hand and antiqued using Aniline dyes and waxes. The books went into clamshell boxes covered with Brillianta Natur Linen Cloth and inlaid with Skivertex cloth. The boxes were then foiled in 22ct gold on an 1896 Imperial stamping press, to the client’s delight: “What you produced surpasses anything I could have imagined; I
have a copy on display in my hallway.” Judges, also weighing up material for Halcyon Gallery, an architect’s presentation and a workspace pitch, picked up on the brochure: “The book just oozed opulence; a truly stunning example of quality finishing,” said one. Another: “Simply exceptional entry.”

Highly commended:
Folio Print Finishing 0117 971 1118

Out-of-home Printer of the Year

Winner: SMP Group 020 8855 5535

As well as high-quality print, judges for the out-of-home (OOH) category were looking for in-situ effectiveness and outstanding customer service for everything from billboards to bus wraps. London’s SMP Group won praise for the breadth of its entries - Lloyds Windows, a Specsavers 48-sheet, a Porsche building wrap and Paddy Power experiential bus wrap. The latter focused on Leicester City’s surprise crowning as Premier League champions and included an open-top-bus vinyl wrap that rolled off a 1.6m-wide HP Latex machine. Printing took place over two days with wrapping completed in a day. The print scored a direct hit, with people reaching for their cameras to capture the head-turning green bus with cheering betting winners on board. The judges joined in the fun: “A really impressive range of entries, hats off to the team.”

Label Printer of the Year

Winner: The Label Makers 01274 681151

A runner-up three years running, their boat finally came in. Bradford’s Label Makers won one of our most challenging categories thanks to several labels including one for Mary Rose Gin. It was named after Henry VIII’s flagship and 6,500 two-layered laminated labels were possible only because of super-accurate latest-generation digital and process kit. The first layer was reverse printed blue and black on a digital inkjet line and then repassed for a white background. Second layer, a Fasson polypropylene opaque material with bright silver reverse, was printed with a juniper, rosemary and grapefruit background. “Impressive entry,” said judges of labels for Kakapo wine and Lanique Liqueur Spirit as well as Mary Rose Gin. “The latter was a beautiful label, simply stunning - so many processes involved, but they pulled it off.”

Highly commended:
CS Labels 01902 365840

High-volume Magazine Printer of the Year

Winner: Wyndeham Roche 01726 892400

The printer in St Austell, Cornwall, pumped up the volume in this reconfigured category on longer-run magazines produced gravure or web offset. Stepping up to the plate were issues of Boat International, Love, Harrods and World of Interiors. The first is a high-quality magazine for the super-rich printed in runs of 25,000 on heavilly coated paper with high levels of ink coverage. Skilled press minders ensured no marking or blistering as hot paper cooled in chill rollers during high-speed, wideweb production. A tight schedule and heavy ink coverage on highly coated paper made the 55,000 copies of Love technically challenging. But “all of the entries showed a great image ‘lift’, which helped achieve stunning results across the board,” said one judge, backed up by another praising “beautiful print that just sings off the page”.

Highly commended:
Precision Colour Printing 01952 585585

Catalogue Printer of the Year

Winner: Wyndeham Southernprint 01202 628300

The eye-witness account said it all: “I have witnessed first-hand the care the Wyndeham Southernprint team takes in producing a high-quality product and was amazed by the attention to detail throughout the whole printing process,” read the client testimonial. Covers for the 73,000 Claygate catalogues were printed on a 300gsm woodfree gloss with a matt laminate and spot UV. A major challenge was managing, palletising and storing 56 versions of the cover ranging from 150 to 900 copies per version. The judges’ verdict for an entry, which also included catalogues for Action Handling, Farla Medical and the Step Directory, was as emphatic: “The Claygate catalogue showed great colour consistency, which is no mean feat especially when you consider it was a multi-versioned product with 56 different covers.”

Highly commended:
Wyndeham Roche 01726 892400