The annual Print & Design Awards never fails to bring out the sunshine. I don’t know how it happens but this event has always been blessed with a sunny day. As I sat on a bench on the Embankment waiting to board the Silver Sturgeon I watched all the lovely people in the printing industry, sunglasses on, chatting to colleagues and friends - all getting ready for a fun day out on the river. Cheerful optimism was tangible. Its always a jolly occasion but there is a definite uplift in mood in the industry – and its good to see. There is no doubt we have been through difficult times - thankfully we are now seeing growing confidence in suppliers and printers alike.
Having worked in the industry for a few years I have watched the trends and the disastrous effects market forces have had on some special people and their businesses. The influences brought about by the ‘digital age’ (or whatever you want to call it) have resulted in a sink or swim situation for many printers and some have had few choices and little control. Others have fought on, re-worked their business models and are stronger for it. We have all had to face the facts - print has a significant part to play in the future but it has become a part of something bigger. James Bridle, writer and newspaper columnist recently wrote in the Guardian, “Digital is now both the infrastructure and the mode of our daily communication. It shapes our culture at every level. In most of the developed world it is the foundation on which our personal lives are built and multinational corporations operate. It underpins global communications. It is in essence in everything.”
Personally I find it all very exciting – so many new things to learn and build upon and it was great to be at the awards and welcomed by the Whitmar team. The Silver Sturgeon cruiser is a pretty impressive venue and the trip on the River Thames from the Embankment to Greenwich is very enjoyable and an interesting experience in itself passing many famous landmarks and historic buildings. It was a grand turnout with suppliers and their customers all out together for an excellent lunch, convivial conversation and tiptop networking. As the boat made its way up the River Thames Rob Mulligan, publisher at Whitmar welcomed us all and introduced Andy Knaggs, Editor of Digital Printer and Cross Media magazine to present the prizes.
There were thirteen awards in all including Best Website, Best use of Social Media and Best use of Recycled Paper as well as Large Format, Finishing and Environmental awards. Notably Best Cross Media campaign sponsored by Ricoh went to a printer - Wellington Press for their Vodafone Video Book - the judges said it was a keenly contested category and the winner showed a great example of ‘print in the mix’. For the second year running the Pureprint Group won the Direct Mail award for a piece called ‘Memories Alumni’ for Kings College London. The DM award was sponsored by Konica Minolta. The winner of the Supreme Award was Hampton Printing who also won the Books and Booklets award for their Chic Luxury Consumer Brochure - the prize was presented to Managing Director Chris Cooper by Peter Jolly of Duplo. Commenting on the winning piece the judges said, ‘Simply an outstanding piece of print and finishing with beautiful imagery. The judges couldn’t find fault with it.’
What a wonderful day for the printing industry!
P.S. More information and pix at: http://www.paperandprint.com/print-design-and-marketing-awards.aspx