Posts Tagged ‘National Print Awards’

  • NPAs tee off in Sydney’s southwest

    The 2018 National Print Awards will be held at Brighton Lakes Golf Club in Moorebank, southwestern Sydney, on June 29. The big night will feature the gold-medal winners from each state’s PICA awards.

    According to Andrew Macaulay, CEO of Printing Industries, the nominees this year truly represent the best of the best Australia’s printers have to offer, and not just from the big states – smaller markets such as Tasmania and the Northern Territory now have the chance to compete on the national stage. “These are truly national print awards, and truly a representation of the best that has come out of each state,” he said. “This is about quality and it shouldn’t matter where you’re producing it – we’re in a national economy, and this is a way of showcasing work on a national scale.”

    The venue, well outside Sydney’s CBD, was selected in response to members’ feedback that the awards should be held at a location closer to their businesses. “Venues in the CBD are neither near where printers are nor very affordable. This is a terrific venue which has hosted a number of industry events, and was recommended by some members,” said Macaulay.

    Macaulay encourages printers to sign up for the day’s events preceding the awards, including a golf day, seminars, and the PIAA’s annual general meeting. “The industry golf day will be a fun social event, and people should definitely book because it’ll sell out quickly. We also encourage all members to attend the industry seminars and the AGM in the afternoon, where we’ll give an account of our actions and our vision for the future.”

    Tickets are available at or

  • When worlds collide – A voice in the wilderness: James Cryer

    With PacPrint13 and its dizzying array of new high-tech digital and digital-assisted machinery giving visitors a bright visual cue as to where the future of Australian print is heading, industry gadfly James Cryer suggests it’s about time for the National Print Awards to reflect this future for print.

    Astronomers are hard people to whip into a frenzy. But occasionally – just occasionally – something happens to excite their passions and make them sit up and take notice, or even duck for cover.

    It’s not often that you get two planets hurtling past each other – both going in completely opposite directions (although, I suppose that’s what “going past each other” means).

    But last Friday night [24 May] we had a near-miss of the most cataclysmic proportions, as ‘planet PacPrint’ soared at warp speed into the outer-limits of our imaginations, at once exciting and tantalising with glimpses of what ‘the future of print’ looks like.

    Meanwhile, we had ‘planet NPA’ [National Print Awards] drifting slowly along in the opposite direction, desperately trying to suck us back into the vortex of yesteryear.

    Never was the disconnect more dramatically illustrated, than by the difference in composition of these two bodies – PacPrint proudly presenting the exciting new face of print – 90 per cent digital and 10 per cent offset – while the awards continue to flog those two processes almost in exactly the opposite proportions. What’s wrong with this picture?

    Why didn’t someone frog-march whoever it is that persists with these categories down the aisles at PacPrint to give them a taste of the sunlit uplands where digital is king because it generates so many new and exciting opportunities.

    So let me cut to the chase. The real test for a category should be: Does it have the wow factor? If not, chuck it out.

    Out would go ‘One, Two or Three Colour Printing’.

    Out would go ‘Leaflets’ (Really, leaflets? This is like being rewarded for getting up in the morning.)

    Out would go four out of the five ‘Magazines’ categories (we don’t need five categories, plus, they’ve got their own awards).

    Out would go ‘Labels-roll’ and ‘Flexographic’ (these are specialist sectors that have their own, much better, awards).

    Out would go the ‘Small business’ category.

    Now – before anyone dies of apoplexy – there is a remedy. Let’s discard (yes – let’s be radical) the old model of gold, silver, bronze as we’re kidding ourselves that we can really split the atom between them – and divide EVERY category into ‘Large’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Small’ sized printers.

    By doing this you’d then encourage a greater number of smaller entrants (believe me, I’ve done the survey). Gold, silver and bronze is a hangover from the horse-racing industry – and look at the mess that’s in.

    Eliminating these categories alone would save half the audience from nodding-off into their soup.

    In would come new and exciting categories like ‘Multi-piece productions and campaigns’, which really does showcase what print is capable of – i.e. the ‘wow factor’!

    Somehow, we have to wean ourselves off this obsession with dishing-out rewards just for piling-up dots like pancakes, one upon the other, like a short-order pastry-cook.

    We’ve come a long way – we can all do that now. The test of wining an award in a print industry awards event is NOT to impress one’s fellow printers – so much as to impress the external print-buyers and even the public at large. That should be the acid test! No wow – no prize.

    But now, this raises a thorny issue: until now, the judges have been instructed to look only at the “pancake-stacking” qualities – not if the ‘pancakes’ are juicy, mouth-watering or even edible. There is a strong case that there should be at least ONE category where the total concept and execution is taken into account and recognized, where everyone gets recognition – from the designer, the photographer, the pre-press – not just the printer!

    They do it in the US ‘Benny’ awards, so why not here? It’s called ‘bringing the creative-process and the printing-process back together again’, which is where they belong. It’s something our “Justus” magazine is seeking to do, here.

    And finally, still on this theme of catering to a wider audience – the Kiwis, in promoting their “Pride in Print” recently co-opted a daily newspaper to include a supplement promoting their awards, which landed squarely on the breakfast tables of half of New Zealand.  How’s that for a novel approach – getting a ‘printer’ to promote ‘print’!

    The NPAs could potentially be a showcase event, proudly displaying our wares to print buyers and the wider community. But nobody is going to get their rocks off while we persist with categories like ‘Leaflets’ or ‘One, Two or Three Colour Printing.

    Seriously, we must have a national debate on what we want from our showcase industry awards event.  The current awards regime may be a good excuse for a get-together – of course it is! But, it is not a platform which reflects the industry’s current abilities and (more importantly) nor does it hint at its future capabilities.

    A walk down the aisles at PacPrint was exciting and inspirational, revealing a world of limitless possibilities. That should be the theme for the national print awards

  • The 30th National Print Awards open to royal treatment

    Registrations are now open for the ‘crowning event’ of the PacPrint13 week, the 30th National Print Awards, with one of Australia’s most popular comedians, Julia Morris, set to bring a touch of royalty to the night’s proceedings.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, the National Print Awards is pleased to proclaim that the Lady Julia Morris of the Manor of Gosforth will be your noble entertainment at the banquet convened to crown the Kings and Queens of Australia’s print and graphic communications industry.”

    So went the proclamation from John Wanless, chairman of the 30th National Print Awards, after registrations opened for what looks set to be the ‘crowning event’ of the PacPrint13 week in Melbourne – the National Print Awards Presentation Dinner, on Friday 24 May at the Palladium Ballroom at Crown.

    Lady Julia (pictured), or Lady J-Mo, as she prefers to be addressed, may have earned her title via a dubious online nobility store (a gift from her fiancé, now husband, who also managed to mis-spell her home town of Gosford) but that has not stopped her making the most of her titled status which, she says, reflects her ‘fabulosity’.

    “Anyone who has been to an awards ceremony will understand that there needs to be a special classiness to such an event,” Lady J-Mo said today. “When the theme is ‘The Midas Touch’, as it will be at the NPA, there has to be even more sparkle. I think that’s where I come in.”

    National Print Awards Chairman, John Wanless, already basking in the glow of the milestone 30th Anniversary event, says the signing of one of Australia’s leading ladies of comedy is a coup.  “The National Print Awards Presentation Dinner has always been one of highlights of the Australia graphic arts calendar and having Julia there to host the Awards in her inimitable style will I’m sure make this a truly memorable event.”

    For her part, Lady J-Mo professes to be equally delighted, adding that the night’s theme – The Midas Touch – especially resonates with her. “Even before my ascension to the nobility, I loved gold as much as the next girl,” she confesses. “And of course, now that I’m a genuine member of the elite, it has become so much more important to me. I guess you could say that I have a bit of the Midas Touch myself, really.

    “That’s why it’s wonderful to be invited to lend my grace, style and all-round class to the National Print Awards this year. I understand instinctively, as you do, that this is a sophisticated and refined event which requires the elegance I can provide – however, because I feel somehow that you are all my equals, I will waive the need to bow or curtsey to me for the evening,” she adds graciously.

    Those wishing to take advantage of the opportunity for an audience with Lady J-Mo and, of course, the chance to celebrate the achievement of excellence in print with a night of fine dining and wonderful entertainment, can register online now at or look out for a printed copy of this year’s invitation, which are being circulated around the industry.

    “There’s no question that the 30th National Print Awards will be the crowning event of a very exciting and important week in Melbourne during PacPrint13,” says Wanless. “With so many industry people in Melbourne for PacPrint, and with highlights like Lady J-Mo hosting and some other exciting entertainment we will soon announce, it’s likely to be an extremely popular event so book early to avoid disappointment!”

  • Young Achievers Award – James Cryer’s clarion call to the future

    A proposed new awards system to recognise the winning qualities in young professionals across our industry will not even mention the term – apprenticeship.

    Imagine a gala event held at one of our capital city’s lavish hotels with TV cameras and the press jostling as glamorous young things strut the stage to the acclaim of an audience of thousands. Next day the media exposure is overwhelming with press and TV coverage.

    Hollywood? The final episode of Celebrity Detox? Australia’s Next Top Model? No – this is the grand final of the Printing Industries National Young Achiever of the Year Award! Fanciful? Maybe. Impossible? Possibly, but all it needs is vision, something the visual arts industries has in spades!

    Parents would be lining up outside printing companies demanding their offspring be given a job!

     Back to reality. Full marks to Bill Healey for appointing Joan Grace to head-up the new printing industry training initiative. Out of the RMIT train wreck may arise a better programme more suited to the needs of our industry.

    The printing industry is a collection of fiercely independent tribes with multiple training-streams and therein lies our strength and weakness when it comes to inducting new entrants. I’m not suggesting all these tribes should get crunched-up into one over-arching, supra-organisation – it’ll never happen! I am suggesting that there is an opportunity, bigger than the differences and it is the need to attract and retain new entrants. (Note my avoidance of the word, apprentices.)

    Joan’s arrival, and her focus on building exciting new training pathways, creates the perfect opportunity for us, as a multi-sector industry, to come together and work towards creating an industry-wide programme to recognise, reward and retain the best and the brightest. This would extend across all sectors; signage, labels, packaging, mailing, etc – not just offset. It would recognise all functional roles such as customer-service, production admin and sales, not just apprentices.

    It would be a fully integrated system of states’ awards leading to a national awards structure not dissimilar to the current National Print Awards. By bringing all the associations together to cooperate, it would also raise the profile of print, which would in turn, help attract new entrants!

    Where to start? The good news is we’ve already begun!

    I refer to the existing event known as the NSW LIA/Heidelberg Graduates Awards, which has been a great showcase of the best and brightest apprentices mainly from the offset sector. It contains the organisational expertise to enable an expansion. It could easily be re-defined to include all the other segments that go to comprise the greater printing church; labels, flexible, packaging, mailing, signage – reminding us that we are a collection of diverse tribes.

    Heidelberg has been a stalwart sponsor from the start. Nevertheless, with the need to broaden the award’s ambit and to present it as a true mirror of the industry, it would be more appropriate to re-brand it as the Printing Industries awards scheme. Individual suppliers could still sponsor a particular award category.

    The changing mix in training pathways. We have a unique opportunity to re-think the calibre and type of individuals we wish to attract and reward. Sadly, the need for factory-floor based apprentices is dwindling as other more exciting roles emerge. This is the story of our industry right now, not doom and gloom but readjustment. The contemporary industry is based on more capital, less labour, keeping the dream alive but with fewer bodies.

    Apprenticeships have zero resonance within the design or digital printing fields. The obvious response is to widen the definition of who can enter a new-look awards scheme and include all vocations within the broad visual-communications industry. Young Achievers can be any outstanding employee, according to certain agreed-upon standards of excellence.

    Taking ownership. This new, broad-based awards program should fall under the aegis of the Printing Industries (plural) Association of Australia, the body that purports, by its very name, to represent all the colourful tribes. Actual implementation would be via a body set up comprising all the participating sectors.

    Printing Industries’ Young Achievers Awards has a natural flavour to it and it’s agnostic; it doesn’t align itself with any sector, process, technology or commercial interest. This is vital; it must be free of commercial bias, like the ABC.

    A multi-sector approach like this also meshes perfectly with Printing Industries’ recent success in gaining federal funding to promote the attraction and retention of trainees. What better way to justify such a grant than to invest in a high-profile event, which showcases the best of the best across all sectors of our industry, not just the dwindling offset base?

    To quote from Worldskills Australia’s own website, the Young Achiever Awards would be:

    committed to the development … of vocational education … and to build a skills culture by inspiring young people, celebrating skills excellence and providing them with an opportunity to showcase their talent.

    There is nothing there about apprentices but everything about achievement. That’s the printing industry of tomorrow!

    James Cryer
    JDA Print Recruitment



  • Your 1st rock concert? Alison Stieven-Taylor at the NPA

    The National Print Awards (NPAs) was back in Melbourne this year at Crown Casino. With helium filled gold star-shaped balloons, John Farnham belting out Playing to Win (not live) and TV host Julia Zemiro (she was live) as MC, I could have been at the Logies, which were held in the same room earlier this month, save for the sea of black suits and the lack of sequins and high heels.

    Zemiro relied on her Rock Wiz banter to keep things moving asking presenters and winners alike what their first concert was – and of those she didn’t ask many were happy to share their rock concert stories whispering in her ear as they went past to collect their awards. Or maybe they were telling her their marital status? She did ask a few including a very bemused John Wanless, President of the NPAs, if they were single.

    While there was much backslapping and bonhomie, and a lot of laughter at the revelation of some first concerts – Depeche Mode and the Bay City Rollers among them – this year the NPAs gave off an air of fatigue that may be a product of the hammering the industry has taken by the digital revolution and the GFC. A steady diet of doom and gloom and recognition that the sand many chose to stick their heads in was in fact quicksand, has contributed to collective exhaustion.

    Wanless, whose first concert by-the-way was Ian Dury & the Blockheads, referenced the music industry as one that has survived massive changes transitioning from vinyl and cassettes to CDs and downloads. It is a good comparison, however, the music industry is not buoyant, and today there are fewer players in the market, attrition that continues as more bands release their own materials and by-pass the record companies altogether. The positive here is that more music is being made than ever and where there’s creation there is opportunity to sell services.

    Simon Lane, from Fuji Xerox, who this year has joined Heidelberg and Currie Group as the main sponsors of the NPAs, said in 2012 there will be a 100 million tablets in the US alone. “The industry is changing, you know it and I know it. I won’t tell you digital print is the future, but it is a device. The business still needs to change. In an online, mobile connected society relevance is the key…”

    Not taking away from the truth of his words, we’ve heard this all before. Change isn’t coming it’s well and truly here. It’s no longer just about what kit you’re operating. It’s about services, value adds and enhanced waffle – one salient point Lane made is that print sales people are not as professional as the people they are selling to.

    On Friday night the 450 strong crowd was remarkably decorous. Zemiro actually had to urge them to applaud, something I haven’t witnessed before, and there were only a few occasions when she pulled the schoolteacher routine with “eyes to me”. But the excitement that has been evident in past years was missing. Perhaps suppliers, and their customers, are more burdened by the thought of drupa, which is just around the corner. Certainly there has been much made of this drupa as a ‘make or break’ show.

    Alastair Hadley, who stood in for Andy Vels Jensen, gave the Heidelberg speech. Hadley will retire this year after a lifetime in the industry. Known for his irreverent manner, and quick wit, he quipped that in the future if printers become an endangered species then Sir David Attenborough could be invited to host the Awards.  Has anyone checked Attenborough’s diary?

  • National Print Awards books second comedian

    Negotiations have been protracted… but just a week out from the 29th National Print Awards Presentation Dinner, organisers have pulled off something of a coup by securing comic talent, Tommy Little, to entertain guests on the night.

    Little, who is rated as one of the best up and coming comic talents in the country and was once described by Beat Magazine as “The Future of Funny”, has agreed to perform at the Awards this Friday night, 20 April, before rushing off to his sell-out show, A Fistful of Apologies, at Melbourne’s acclaimed Comedy Festival.

    Despite his relatively young age, Little is a veteran of the Australian comedy scene and is well known as the host of the ‘Studio 1’ talk show on Channel 31 – where he took over from Dave Thornton on the channel that launched the careers of Rove McManus and Hamish and Andy – and for his guest spots on Nova FM, The 7pm Project, The Today Show and Mornings with Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

    John Wanless, chairman for the NPA, said: “Tommy is certainly one of the greatest hits of this year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival, and we’re absolutely thrilled we’ve been able to find a way to bring him to the Awards.

    “For those who have not had the pleasure of seeing Tommy in action, he’s one of the most affable, charming and instantly funny guys you’ll ever come across. We were already looking forward to a fabulous Dinner and glittering Awards ceremony hosted by the lovely Julia Zemiro – Tommy’s addition to the line-up is just the icing on the cake,” Wanless said.

    Tickets to the Awards are now looking better value than ever at just $160 a head – but those who enjoy a good night out and the chance to catch up with industry mates will have to move fast.

    “Already, ticket sales are outstripping the pace of previous years and we have to close off bookings within a couple of days, so don’t delay – reserve your place as soon as possible,” says Wanless.

    To book a seat or reserve a table, go to or call Mandy Palmer at Printing Industries on (03) 8541-7310. Bookings close this Tuesday 17 April at 4pm.

  • Excitement on all sides as Zemiro prepares for NPA

    There’s clearly excitement on all sides as the news that Julia Zemiro will host this year’s National Print Awards Presentation Dinner in Melbourne later this month filters through the industry… and the lady herself has expressed equal enthusiasm about taking part in the night.

    Tickets are selling faster than normal for the event say organisers, particularly in view of the fact that this year’s event does not run in conjunction with a major industry exhibition – a factor Chairman John Wanless says is usually a key driver of ticket sales.

    “We’re delighted with the response to the announcement of Julia’s involvement,” he said, adding that NPA representatives had met with Zemiro this week and she expressed her enthusiasm about the event.

    “Julia (pictured) is delighted with the ‘Greatest Hits’ theme, which fits beautifully with her background as host of Rockwiz,” Wanless said. “She’s told us she’s really looking forward to having some fun with that on the night – for her, it definitely adds a bit of extra enjoyment to be able to run with that musical theme, and we are definitely anticipating a very entertaining night, with her lovely effervescent personality and quirky sense of humour.”

    Obviously, those in the industry feel the same, with ticket sales up so much that Wanless urges anyone who wants to attend to book without delay.

    “Given the sales so far, I’d say we’ll reach capacity with no problems at all this year, so if you’re thinking of coming along, book early to avoid disappointment,” he said. “As well as seeing the lovely Julia in action, the National Print Awards are always a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a sumptuous dinner, hear the year’s Gold Medalists announced first hand, and of course to catch up with colleagues and friends.”

    The National Print Awards Presentation Dinner will be held at the Palladium at Crown in Melbourne on the night of Friday 20 April, 2012. Tickets are $160 a head and can be purchased by downloading the form at or by contacting Mandy at Printing Industries by email at or by calling 03 8541 7310.