Congratulations to our 2022 Printweek Award winners

Bespoke Digital Printer of the Year

Winner: Pureprint Group


Pureprint Group impressed the judges with their submission which included a diverse array of digitally printed collateral. For the University of Exeter it produced a retirement book and clamshell box to be presented to a distinguished academic at their retirement ceremony. It was a complex job that demanded exacting standards and Pureprint rose to the challenge, meeting the client’s deadline and budget.

Highly commended:
NSD Labels

Bespoke Publications Printer of the Year

Winner: Kingsbury Press –part of Bluetree Group

Sponsored by:


This was an impressive entry from a company that is headquartered in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, and boasts studios and showrooms in London and New York. The judges heaped praise on Kingsbury for its submission, which showcased a “creative use of spot colours and foil” in addition to “lovely finishing”. One sample that particularly caught the eye was produced for wallpaper and paint company Graham & Brown. To colour match Kingsbury tested lots of different papers against a roll of wallpaper sent by Graham & Brown and in addition it matched the gilt edge finishing of the book to paint sample pots provided by the company. One judge said the finished results was a “very professionally produced piece using various materials”.


Highly commended:
Empress Litho 
Hampton

Book Printer of the Year

Winner: Generation Press

Sponsored by:


This specialty litho and digital printer based in Poynings, Brighton, West Sussex, really pushed the boat out with its entry which judges said was of a consistently high standard. Its samples included a collaboration between the acclaimed artist Kaws, a photographer, designer and the Generation Press team, which resulted in the production of an impressive book showcasing the artist’s vibrant colour palette. Kaws used five bespoke fluorescent colours to create his work so Generation Press had to accurately colour match these on press. It’s little wonder the company received high praise for its inventive approach, with one judge describing Generation as a “designer’s printer unafraid of challenges”

Highly commended:
Hampton
Pureprint Group

High-volume Digital Printer of the Year

Winner: Precision Proco Group


Using bespoke software, Prime – part of Precision Proco Group – was able to integrate with The Beano’s existing e-commerce solution and create an option for customers to become the comic’s ‘editor’, build their own avatar and personalise their own version of a 32-page book featuring a choice of different covers. The Beano was overwhelmed by the response to the concept which far exceeded its expectations. Equally impressive was the personalised book Precision Proco produced for Lego printed in full colour on premium paper with a wipe friendly cover.

Highly commended:
Plastic Card Services

Label printer of the Year

Winner: The Label Makers

Sponsored by:


This Bradford-based label manufacturer prides itself on giving its customers a tailor-made, personal service and that ethos is reflected in its entry, which caught the eye of the judges who loved the company’s use of finishes, foils and varnishes. For a limited-edition bottle of Kraken Rum it printed an ornate label applied to the brand’s striking black embossed bottle complete with kraken tentacles. A cold silver foil was applied first and this was then overprinted with translucent flexo gold washes to create a rich lustrous and opulent metallic look, before a secondary hot gold foil was applied by means of a fluted die to provide relief, tactility and contrast. At the other end of the scale judges loved the “simple but stylish” label the company produced for Poynings Grange Vineyard, which also features gold hot foil and exudes understated elegance.


Highly commended:
Amberley Labels

Packaging Printer of the Year

Winner: Colourpoint


In this highly competitive category one company stood out from the crowd. Located in Bourne End, Bucks, Colourpoint doesn’t print bog-standard packs – it produces wonderfully crafted, bespoke boxes that are as elegant as the luxurious contents that are typically found inside. The company’s work for jeweller Vashi and Royal Salute Whisky wooed judges who admired the “superb foiling” and the high quality of print and construction. But the one piece that really caught the eye was a large super deluxe presentation box produced to house five limited- edition photographs of the band Queen of which only 15 were produced. The inside of the lid featured a clear acrylic ‘pocket’ framed with gold material and printed with the Queen crest. One judge said the presentation box was “beautifully engineered and well thought out”.

Highly commended:
Showcase Creative

Post-press Company of the Year

Winner: Colourpoint

Sponsored by:


For fashion designer Richard Quinn it produced a stunning ‘music box’ concept to launch his latest bold fabric designs to social influencers. The floral material used to cover the boxes was designed, printed and supplied by Quinn, and included a printed ribbon which was used throughout. The box comprised a top shelf and a bottom drawer section, both were fitted with foam cut on Colourpoint’s Zünd that was ‘flocked’ in pink and blue to create a luxurious velvety feel. The company produced 100 boxes in a week and judges said the quality couldn’t be faulted. They also praised the amazing quality of Colourpoint’s work and its impressive finishing on the bespoke presentation box it created for Royal Salute whisky.

Highly commended:
ACA

Wide-format Printer of the Year

Winner: Omni Colour

Sponsored by:


For almost 30 years, London-based Omni Colour and its sister company K2 Screen have worked with galleries, museums and artists to produce print, graphics and branding for major corporate clients, event organisers and high-end fashion retailers. For its entry, which judges praised for its “super quality” and “fantastic results”, Omni Colour showcased its full range of wide- format skills. From a new permanent artwork by Alexandre da Cunha for Battersea Power Station’s new Underground station, which saw the company make the most of its formidable sourcing skills to complete the job – there were only three rolls of the required vinyl available in the UK and Omni Colour needed 16 to print the artwork – through to the life size prints of Beano characters to accompany an exhibition in London commemorating 70 years of the comic, which were UV-printed directly on to MDF. As one clearly impressed judge put it “hats off to this entry”.

Highly commended:
SMP Group

Company of the Year

Winner: Micropress

Sponsored by:


At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Micropress resolved that it was “time for strong businesses to shine”, and that has certainly proved the case for this independent, family-owned commercial printer. It has continually invested in people, technology and innovation since the 1970s and didn’t let Covid-19 hold it back. It’s a strategy that has paid off in spades, with the Suffolk firm’s recent financial results showing turnover growth of 11%, profits before tax up 29% and EBITDA growth of 33%. It has used its strong cash position to hold more than £1m in paper stock, which has proved invaluable during the supply chain shortages that have challenged the sector over the past year or so. The company’s mission statement is ‘your partner in print’ – it wants to be an extension of its clients’ business, and Micropress’s financial results suggest it has achieved this goal. As one judge put it: “You could say the numbers speak for themselves, but in this case they positively sing!”

Highly commended:
FERO Retail Marketing 
Qualvis Print & Packaging

SME of the Year

Winner: Eight Days A Week Print Solutions

Sponsored by:


Despite the economic headwinds created by the pandemic, Nottingham-based Eight Days A Week Print Solutions has continued to grow over the past few years – in that period it has almost doubled its income and seen a threefold increase in net profit year-on-year. It has won several new clients, added to its existing contracts and extended the options available to its customers for their print and mail solutions. It has also achieved a 4.6-star rating on Trustpilot and 4.6 stars on Google reviews. “An MBO last year, significant investment and still delivering the numbers against the backdrop of a pandemic,” said the judges. “Wow – a very worthy winner.”

Highly commended:
First 4 Printing Finishing

Customer Service Team of the Year - Large Enterprise

Winner: WTTB

Sponsored by:


WTTB prides itself on offering the highest possible levels of customer service. But don’t just take its word for it, on business review website Trustpilot, WTTB has an 84% ‘excellent’ rating from more than 2,250 reviews. The company believes that to offer good customer service you must be proactive. As a result, as soon as a customer registers on the WTTB website they are called by a member of the team who helps them to navigate the site. The company, whose team can be reached via Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger to ensure a speedy response, hosts regular webinars on relevant topics to allow customers to talk through any issues or get up-to-date information on relevant subjects that might help their businesses. “There’s a genuine desire to help customers,” said one judge. “This is the kind of support I would like to see from some of my own suppliers.”

Highly commended:
Printed.com

Customer Service Team of the Year - SME

Winner: Eight Days A Week Print Solutions

Sponsored by:


Eight Days a Week Print Solutions was proud of its customer service offering prior to the pandemic, but the exceptional circumstances since spring 2020 have seen the firm use this ethos to help customers deal with an unprecedented situation. Its know-how enabled customers to achieve significant results, including helping one client to successfully navigate a sudden tenfold increase in volumes. Others needed to quickly change pack formats and turned to Eight Days to help them to continue communicating with their clients. Eight Days put on double shift patterns to cover workloads and meet 24-hour mailing objectives. And with the travel industry rocked by the impact of Covid-19, Eight Days also helped a travel industry client to completely overhaul its direct mail offer, helping the company to smash its sales targets and save money during lockdown. Judges were won over by the advice and solutions Eight Days offered its customers with clear benefits in terms of audience engagement, cost savings and increases in revenue.

Highly commended:
Rapidity

Environmental Company of the Year - Large Enterprise

Winner: Delta Group

Sponsored by:


Delta Group decided to put in place an ambitious environmental strategy after realising the UK is currently not on track to meet its future emissions reduction targets. In the space of 12 months, it implemented a series of measures including the launch of what it describes as a “sector first” net-zero dashboard to provide company-wide environmental data. It also partnered with 52% of its clients to execute sustainability audits and action plans, and provided carbon calculators to measure campaign emissions. As a result of these steps Delta has reduced its own carbon footprint by the equivalent of 517 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Unsurprisingly the judges were impressed by Delta achieving “amazing results in such a short time frame. Proof positive of what’s possible when you set a strategy and sell it to the staff”.

Highly commended:
Bluetree Group 
Go Inspire Group

Environmental Company of the Year - SME

Winner: Park Communications


Over the past two years Park has focused on transforming the sustainability of large-format materials. It also reduced the impact of customer mailing wrappers and laminates and enabled customers to publicise that their publication is carbon neutral, in addition to a slew of other measures. Off the back of this work Park has significantly enhanced the range of recycled papers and compostable laminates it offers, and the company claims it was the first in the UK to introduce a recycling service for non-paper-based materials. Park continues to seek further areas in which the business can reduce its environmental impact. As the judges remarked: “When you’re an environmental trailblazer, then in theory the law of diminishing returns applies. Not in Park’s case.”

Highly commended:
FaberExposize UK 
Impress Print Services

Marketing Campaign of the Year

Winner: Printed.com

Sponsored by:


There was a standout winner in this category thanks to its Herculean efforts to support its clients in the depths of the pandemic. Throughout 2020 and 2021, Printed.com noticed huge numbers of its customers were diversifying their print offer, with retail customers moving online and hospitality customers branching out into takeaway foods. To celebrate the tenacity of its clients and give new businesses the boost they needed the company launched ‘Creative Springboard’. As part of the campaign it gave three of its customers the chance to win a sponsored spot to exhibit at design-led trade show Top Drawer London. In addition, all prize winners would receive £1,000 worth of print and a helping hand from the Printed.com team to ramp up their marketing and PR for the show. The campaign itself ran across social media, garnering more than 100,000 impressions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, resulting in 250 entries, and more than 3,000 public votes to decide the winners.

Trainee of the Year

Winner: Mark Mwebe, Micropress

Sponsored by:


Mark left school with only a few GCSEs and went straight into a Learn2Print finishing apprenticeship scheme at a large local company. Over the first two years of his apprenticeship, he learnt a lot about printing and became interested in the entire print process, so having seen an advert placed by Micropress for a printing apprentice he decided to apply for the post. At Micropress he was given a mentor to shadow and continued attending college where he received a Technical Certificate Advanced in Machine Printing at Level 3 and NVQ in Machine Printing – Litho at Level 3. The judges said Mark was a “brilliant example of what someone can achieve with passion and commitment”.

Highly commended:
Brandon Smith, Harkwell Labels
Matthew Kenyon, MM Packaging UK

Innovation of the Year

Winner: Alfred Willday & Son


Fourth-generation printer Tom Willday impressed the dragons on Dragons’ Den last year, and achieved the same among the Printweek judges with his Willsow plantable childrens’ books made using seeded paper – quite literally bringing print to life by engaging youngsters via the vegetable-based tales. The books are completely sustainable and 100% biodegradable. The cover and back pages are made of embedded seed paper with non-GMO seeds and Willsow also uses eco biodegradable inks for the front and back page.

The books are Singer sewn using cotton thread so no metal, plastic or glues are used in the product. “Fantastic innovation to be able to ‘plant’ a book and watch it grow,” enthused one judge, while the sustainability smarts also found favour: “I was impressed by the care in following the sustainability principle through the whole production process from the cotton Singer sewing to donating seed paper offcuts to the local community,” noted another judge.

Innovation of the Year

Winner: Prinovis


Judges praised the collaboration between Prinovis, customer News UK and equipment supplier Sitma in developing a solution to achieve News UK’s sustainability goal of dropping polybagging of its weekend supplements and associated inserts. Finding a workable way to do that using a recyclable paper band was no mean feat given the required volumes and production time scales.

The magazines and inserts need to be enclosed securely by the paper band ready for wholesale distribution, and without inserts coming loose in-store. A detailed testing and ramp-up process culminated in the entire 1.2million a week print runs for both The Times and Sunday Times being successfully converted. What’s more, as well as proving a sustainability success the paperbanding solution has also become a commercial hit as well. Advertisers have embraced the band’s unique promotional power, with bookings at News UK full for six months ahead. “Multiple clients have made repeat bookings due to huge response rates,” to the delight of all parties.

Innovation of the Year

Winner: EBI


“Great ROI” was the succinct verdict of a member of the judging panel for this category. EBI has tripled response rates with a fresh take on direct mail, harnessing the power of the Internet of Things for a technology-led interactive solution that it has dubbed Digital Direct Mail (DDM). A slim device, fitted into each DDM pack, allows the recipient to instantly trigger their interest with the push of a button. A targeted campaign for customer Jaguar Land Rover resulted in a letterbox-friendly DDM pack that rotated up to 45-degrees “playfully reiterating the maximum departure angles of the new Land Rover Defender”. A 50% response rate and high-quality leads that resulted in an impressive level of sales showed the power of the new approach. EBI worked with technology partner WND-UK in collaboration with Sigfox on the IoT aspect, alongside agencies Spark 44 and Edit Agency. Overall, the judges praised the fresh approach for being “an engaging use of innovation, print and technology that creates opportunities”.

Innovation of the Year

Winner: VR Print


VR Print used the hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to look at how the Tonbridge firm could take a more creative approach to growing its business. The result was moving upstream with a clever photobook offering that combines technology, fast turnaround, keen pricing, and the development of a mini lay-flat photobook product that is patent pending.

The Pocket Memories offering involves a mobile-friendly website as well as apps for Android and iOS, and VR Print used artificial intelligence tech to make the interface simple for users with a target ordering time of less than three minutes. The setup allows consumers to order memory books for important life events, while businesses such as event organisers and charities can link to the technology for custom branded books that can be used to promote their brands and generate additional revenue. “Differentiation is key to offset changing markets and deliver customer satisfaction,” said one judge.

Innovation of the Year

Winner: Go Inspire Group


Go Inspire’s work on the myLakeland Club offer pack impressed the judges thanks to the incredible sophistication of the piece, with most pages containing variable data and personalised content, depending on the recipient’s location and behaviour. Go Inspire developed 29 new behaviour-driven segments as part of the project, and for each segment a number of specific variants were applied and reviewed through an iterative test and learn programme. As the pack evolved through the testing process, the number of possible permutations more than doubled to 7,700. One judge described it as “data-driven 360-degree comms at its best. Not only giving customer engagement an uplift, but also increasing revenue due to relevance”. The approach paid off for Lakeland, with incremental spend and average customer value making impressive gains and customers embracing the highly targeted offers. Alongside this the clever packs also resulted in a substantial boost to customer retention and a reduction in customer churn.