Winners 2018

Scroll across to view our 2018 winners and high commendations

Company of the year

Winner: ProCo


This was the year ProCo changed its business model – and won PrintWeek’s most coveted awards category as a result. Like so many businesses, the Sheffield-headquartered company lost a significant customer to the curse of unsustainable pricing. But unlike some, rather than get embroiled in a race to the bottom, it made the strategic decision to revaluate its offering. As a result of back-to-basics review that centred on the needs of its customers, it not only replaced the lost volume, but also achieved significant top- and bottom-line growth. “If you’re looking for evidence of the positive impact a strategic approach can have when combined with deft management, look no further,” said the judges.

Highly commended:
Buxton Press
Curtis Packaging

SME of the year

Winner: CS Labels


CS Labels has enjoyed a fast ride this year. A £3.25m investment programme announced in early spring included the purchase of a purpose-built 1,850m2 factory and a raft of new equipment. Ordinarily a big site move can put a significant strain on cashflow – not so for CS Labels. Managing director Simon Smith has managed a large number of expansion drives and he has now turned what was a small conventional flexo business into one of Europe’s foremost digital label houses. So, while his staff held on to their hats and enjoyed the ride to further expansion in 2018, PrintWeek Awards judges raised theirs in salute.

Highly commended:
Northside Graphics

Customer service team of the year

Winner: Impress Print Services

Sponsored by:


The customer is king, but Impress wears the crown. Not only has the company, based in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, restructured and appointed a customer-service manager and assurance champion, it has created a comprehensive appraisal system, training for managers and department supervisors and a culture that encourages staff to use emotional intelligence to assess projects. “Great case studies and the perfect example of a strategic approach to outstanding service,” was the judges’ verdict, who were wowed by results including reduced dependency on low pricing, highest number of client recommendations and record levels of positive client feedback.

Highly commended:
Go Inspire Group
Howard Hunt

Trainee of the Year

Winner: Stephen Dando, Dayfold

Sponsored by:


Ten minutes after handing his CV in at its base in Dorset, and Dayfold Print was in touch. Two years later PrintWeek Awards judges are in touch. Stephen started on the cylinder, cutting and creasing, before moving to the guillotine, digital finishing and hot foiling. “A glowing testimonial from his MD backed up his impressive achievements,” said judges. Managing director Les Abbott-Fryer’s testimonial read: “From day one Stephen has listened and learned with a patience beyond his years. It has struck me how polished his decision-making is. When you get something right – repeat it. We have used Stephen’s qualities to successfully recruit a second apprentice.” High praise indeed.

Highly commended:
Amy Craig, Security Print Solutions
Luisa Federico, Impress Print Services

Marketing campaign of the year

Winner: Gemini Print Group

Sponsored by:


“That’s what marketing is all about,” reckoned the judges. “Fantastic ROI that delivers on the brief.” The Shoreham-by-Sea company wanted to increase the digital printing side of its business by £1m using current headcount and resources – a tall order for managing director Steve Cropper. Gemini Print’s lavish four-colour LOOK BOOK with digital foiling, personalised information to demonstrate variable data and online engagement helped bump up digital revenue by £1.3m. The book is simple, successful and now on its fourth reprint.

Highly commended:
Impress Print Services
TOD London UK

Environmental company of the year

Winner: Nationwide Print


Much changes in this ever-evolving category and Nationwide Print, in St Austell, Cornwall, is pioneering many of those changes. Nationwide has gone from powering its presses with renewable energy and using solar panels to save electricity and tonnes of CO2, to cladding its brick offices with carbon-neutral red cedar and eco-friendly superinsulation. Staff zip around in an electric VW car, while low-energy LEDs shed light on machines that use vegetable-based inks and chemistry-free plates. Even hand dryers are low emission, noticed judges who agreed, “some great initiatives are delivering tangible benefits to the business” in the shape of top- and bottom-line improvements.

Highly commended:
Park Communications

Luxury packaging printer of the year

Winner: Boss Print

Sponsored by:


Boss by name, boss by nature: the west London printer lays on the luxury like no other, notching up another impressive performance in this category. “Loved some of the materials choices, and simply stunning finishing too,” said the judges. They’re talking about the Physical Alphabet Box with foiling, distressing, hidden magnetic catches and a sewn wallet housing inner plinth and book, all wrapped in Wibalin burnt orange. The Entomology Trend clamshell box also had hidden magnetic catch, while the Lumene Box Book boasted a silver foil-blocked cover. Finally, and the Outside art book presentation box featured Iwahada Rocksin by Takeo in Japan and a clear iridescent foil-blocked lid, all of which helped Boss Print seal another superb win.

Highly commended:
Beamglow

High-volume magazine printer of the year

Winner: Wyndeham Roche

Sponsored by:


This reconfigured category was won for the first time last year by this year’s winner. Once again Wyndeham Roche produced “a web offset printing masterclass”, according to the judges. Boat International magazine is produced on coated paper with high levels of ink coverage. It required extremely skilled press minders to keep on top of such high-speed, wide web production, to avoid marking and blistering. The team in St Austell, Cornwall, also spun its magic for Love, Monocle and Harrods Magazine. The prestigious Harrods title called for close attention to colour matching. The magazine was a minefield of challenges such as fine type and pages with reversed-out text. These demanded high-definition reproduction, and were achieved on a tight turnaround in a high-volume production environment.

Highly commended:
Prinovis UK

Brochure printer of the year

Winner: Pureprint Group

Sponsored by:


If a picture paints a thousand words, then the highest-quality brochure must speak volumes - the production values on show here are among the highest in print, said the judges. Pureprint has emerged victorious in this hotly contested category thanks to, among other things, impressive use of tactile materials. Samples submitted included a Rug Company Handmade brochure with five special colours for the cover and buckram emboss for that tactile, premium feel so loved by judges who also felt their way around brochures for One & Only Urban Resorts and Filmworks Ealing.

Highly commended:
Cambrian Printers
CPI Colour

Post-press company of the year

Winner: Screaming Colour

Sponsored by:


It’s a return to form for Screaming Colour. The London company last won this category in 2015 and was highly commended a year later. It snatched victory thanks to projects including Rolex Royal Windsor Horse Show. The commemorative book presented to the Queen marked the 75th anniversary of the show and came in a clamshell presentation box of opulent green leather. From opulence to Trash Isles – the social responsibility campaign on plastic in our seas launched with passports with gold-foil debossing, proving the best finishing processes add both lustre and value to printed products.

Highly commended:
Empress Litho
Masters Bookbinding

Book printer of the year

Winner: Boss Print

Sponsored by:


Last year’s highly commended entry turned a new leaf in 2018 with an outright category win. “Great attention to detail, with complex technical solutions to difficult issues resulting in beautiful books,” was the judges’ verdict. Samples included creatively themed books, notebooks and a Scarfe cocktail menu with overfoil effects and lovely interactive touches such as postcard and bar bill – a potent tonic for a book sector under attack from cheaper imports and digital editions. And proof that the charm and value of home-produced, beautifully printed and superbly bound books remains undiminished.

Highly commended:
CPI Colour
Nicholson Bass

Industrial digital printer of the year

Winner: Go Inspire Solutions


Go Inspire got the balance right to win for the first time a category in which data handling, variables, text and images are as important as the overall quality of the printed product. Work included monster mailings for Waitrose, Sky and Pets at Home, which sends 2.6 million VIP club members a highly personalised, bi-monthly DM piece. The number of permutations is staggering, but all were delivered seamlessly thanks to impeccable use of powerful loyalty data and expertise in print, making this project, and Go Inspire Group, undisputed gold standards for industrial digital print.

Highly commended:
Howard Hunt
Plastic Card Services

Direct mail printer of the year

Winner: Geoff Neal Group

Sponsored by:


Our judges have a beef about this one: “All too often direct mail is slurred with the ‘junk mail’ label, yet it can show the true marketing potential of print.” Geoff Neal Group proved it with “a great overall entry, in particular Peugeot with its impressive finishes”. The 30,000 packs boasted lamination, spot UV and foiling. The printer in Feltham, Middlesex, also delivered for Volvo, Boden and Nationwide, the latter a push-pull concept firmed up with mock-ups and artwork before 260,000 personalised mailings went out, propelling Geoff Neal Group to a category win that abley demonstrated how print can make a very powerful impression.

Highly commended:
Go Inspire Solutions
Paragon Customer Communications

Out-of-home printer of the year

Winner: VGL

Sponsored by:


VGL put the ‘ooh!’ into OOH print with five Mamma Mia bus wraps with rainbow glitter vinyl that give a shimmering illusion of movement when hit by light. A Sky building wrap meanwhile featured giant images of racing car driver Lewis Hamilton, footballer Paul Pogba and cricketer Joe Root. “A very well thought out entry with excellent case studies,” reckoned the judges. The vinyl specialist in Reading, Berkshire, produced graphics for Beefeater Pink in Oxford Circus – a first for underground graphics involving strawberry-scented posters at exit corridors and a vinyl wrapped escalator. Working with Clinique and Luton Airport, VGL celebrated International Women’s Day with graphics on stairwells, headwalls, floors and escalator glass panels. That was the airport’s largest single-brand activation, and this is VGL’s first OOH category win.

Highly commended:
SMP Group

Bespoke magazine printer of the year

Winner: Park Communications

Sponsored by:


Beauty Papers, a photography-led magazine on the culture of make-up and beauty, helped Park Communications win this category. The issue in question comprises eight different front covers and a mixture of gloss, uncoated and partially coated sheets to add interest and tactility. The east London company fired up its litho and digital machines for this as well as The Plant, Soda Review and Printed Pages magazines. The result,

according to the judges, is “simply peerless print that has raised the bar for all of the others”.

Highly commended:
Pureprint Group
Geoff Neal Group

Label printer of the year

Winner: Label Apeel

Sponsored by:


Label Apeel has more reason than most to raise a glass to victory this year. The printer in Leicester rolled out labels for Copperfield Dry Gin – a cocktail of different substrates and print methods finished off with super-fine foiling that captured every intricate detail of the company emblem. This year’s client cruise also included Emissary Prosecco - a clean, beautiful label with powerful punch - Cooper-King Distillery, and Gosnells Mead, the latter’s label being printed four colours with a second hit of black to give extra density. Sharp, clean foiling meanwhile left no excuse for blurred vision from any of the judges, all of whom who agreed: “Samples showed impressive accuracy with both foiling and spot UV. The entire entry demonstrated innovative finishing all round.”

Highly commended:
The Label Makers

Bespoke digital printer of the year

Winner: Screaming Colour


Judges were looking for short-run, high-value brochures, packaging and presentation packs. They found “a standard across the whole category that was stunning, but this entry in particular was amazing.” The London printer produced a sumptuous publication for Photo Ark, which documents zoo animals before they become extinct, using a slipcase printed in four colour plus white. Other samples included a pop-up brochure for a global property insurance client and a KPMG presentation to a building society that became a key tool in its sales strategy.

Highly commended:
Pureprint Group
TOD London UK

Catalogue printer of the year

Winner: Precision Colour Printing


Although high-quality printing was essential for this category, judges also took into account the production constraints often imposed in catalogue work. However, that wasn’t strictly necessary for the Dukeshill sample, which wowed the judges with care and attention to detail that was probably only matched by the fine-food supplier’s own production methods. The premium feel of the catalogue was further enhanced by a cover that featured gold foil-blocking by Celloglas. The judges were also praised the Bravissimo catalogue, the text pages of which were also produced on the firm’s Manroland 32pp Rotoman. While it didn’t feature and special finishes, the judges were still suitably impressed by its stunning simplicity, courtesy of the Telford team’s repro and print mastery.

Highly commended:
Wyndeham Southernprint

Newspaper printer of the year

Winner: Mortons Print of Horncastle


The Stratford upon Avon Herald is almost 160 years old. But time stops for no one and the pressures of weekly, or daily, production are as demanding for old timers like the Herald as they are for relative newbies such as The Essential Journal, launched in Liverpool in 2014. Titles rolled off by Mortons, based in Lincolnshire, also include the Hackney Citizen and 5,000-run Moorlander with its news and features for Dartmoor locals. To celebrate the latter’s 50th issue this May the printer produced a new 16-page lifestyle supplement on a Manroland Uniset machine. The judges were won over by this and all the samples from Mortons. “Excellent colour, you almost forget its newsprint,” said one.

Highly commended:
Reach Printing Services (Westferry)

Point-of-purchase (PoP) printer of the year

Winner: Imprint Group part of Pureprint Group


White Stuff was the right stuff for last year’s highly commended entrant. The Newcastle-headquartered printer created a ’Run Wild’ window campaign for the fashion chain of 120 shops. It centred on a layered horse and overlapping backdrops to give a 3D effect. With many elements, packing and delivery was kept simple, with every item logged online so each store could tap onto the site to see exactly what they would receive. Judges approved of this and projects for Peacocks, Kurt Geiger and Dune: “Excellent use of materials, CAD design, layering and depth.”

Highly commended:
Augustus Martin
SMP Group

Fine art printer of the year

Winner: Pureprint Group


Aesthetics, beauty, perfection. As this category suggests, judges look for prints, books or catalogues demonstrating the highest levels of origination and print. Pureprint rose to the task. The Embassy of Brazil – The Art of Diplomacy involved several prototypes for a facsimile of a booklet from 1944. The end-result was a matt-laminated printed case outer and jacket with black Colorado cloth. “Sublime printing with incredible binding,” said the judges. Other samples included 450 copies of a Gagosian Gallery book celebrating artist Anselm Kiefer, and a 75th anniversary edition of Jonathan Kenworthy’s sketches. The latter typifies the unique print skills needed to carry off this award: the repro, print, paper and presentation were all special in their own right and successfully brought to life the elegant drawings within its pages.

Highly commended:
Boss Print

FMCG packaging printer of the year

Winner: Curtis Packaging


Typical FMCG packaging has a short shelf-life but fast turnarounds, tricky consistency demands and runs that can be achingly long. Curtis Packaging in Redhill surmounted them all with what one judge said were “samples that pushed boundaries of what I thought possible”. They included packaging for Jo Loves’ body sprays, Tisserand, the gourmet Marshmallowist and House of Life beauty brand. The latter involved “tearing up the manufacturing tolerance rule book”: embossing made in-press colour measuring of ink impossible so operators had to print “the old-fashioned way” to ensure consistency. Another challenge was minimising movement between foiling and cutting processes. The result – a gold-foiled logo perfectly central to a two-piece carton – is testament to the time and effort needed to win this demanding category for Curtis.

Highly commended:
D2 Printing

Social stationery printer of the year

Winner: The Sherwood Group


Judges wanted consistent print, finishing and repro, and offered the warmest greetings to Sherwood’s stationery – which delivered the goods this year. The Pop’n’Rock and Swing cards put it in the winning groove thanks to four-colour cards with spot sealer varnish and little tolerance in die-cutting. Sherwood also had the right moves for cards for Art File and Nigel Quiney Publications, as well as a conference menu for the Greeting Card Association. “A diverse range of samples with impressive details,” said the judges.

Highly commended:
Loxleys
Taylor Bloxham Group

Report & accounts printer of the year

Winner: Empress Litho


“Who would have thought accountants would appreciate such beautifully presented print?” asked the judges after being comprehensively wowed by the quality and attention to detail displayed in the Empress entry. More clients are embracing illustration-led design and exacting print for their reports and accounts. No exception are Howdens, Derwent, Informa and property company U+I, all of whom turned to the south-east London printer to shake up their spreadsheets. U+I is a photogenic business demanding high-quality imagery. And when it came to presenting its numbers, the client was no less demanding on aesthetics. All financials and figures came within a detachable 8pp cover and a cloth-lined book block. That block was section sewn and bound into white buckram-style cloth, while magazine-style front sections meant the smart money had to be on Empress Litho for a win.

Highly commended:
Pureprint Group