Posts Tagged ‘NPA’

  • 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

  • PacPrint13 sees National Print Awards celebrate 30th anniversary

    The regional print and graphic communications industry will be flocking to Melbourne in May for PacPrint13 – but for those who enjoy pomp, ceremony and glittering celebrations, it’s the National Print Awards’ 30th Anniversary Dinner, to be held on the final day of the exhibition, which will be the week’s absolute winner.

    With the regal theme, ‘The Midas Touch’, the night is sure to bring a touch of glamour to the city as the Awards turn everything to Gold at the Palladium Ballroom at Melbourne’s Crown Casino – just opposite the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre which will be home to PacPrint13.

    Awards organisers are busy with arrangements but are still under a decree of silence as to specifics of the night’s entertainment. Will it involve royalty? Celebrities? No one is saying – but National Print Awards Chairman, ‘King’ John Wanless, let slip that one of the night’s special guests is, in fact, one of the titled gentry – albeit thanks to a dubious online transaction – who is sure to deliver a night of ‘right royal fun’.

    “The 30th National Print Awards is obviously a significant milestone, so we are sparing no efforts in our attempt to create a celebration worthy of the occasion,” Wanless said.

    “Three decades ago, when the Australian print industry was under extraordinary pressure from offshore suppliers, a group of industry professionals from the print, paper and advertising industry came together to create a forum which would ‘recognise and encourage the achievement of excellence in print in Australia’.  Their vision was to convince print buyers – and, indeed, Australian print service providers themselves – that print produced in Australia was equal to, or better than, that produced anywhere else in the world.

    “Today, there is no question that their vision has been realised. Every year, the standard of entries exceeds expectations and, over the years, many NPA Gold Medal winning entries have received the most prestigious international Awards. Simply by reaching the national stage of our competition, this proud heritage marks this year’s finalists as among the best in the world, and truly the ‘royalty’ of our industry,” he said.

    The Dinner itself will be a chance to see these kings and queens of industry crowned for their outstanding achievements – and an opportunity for loyal industry subjects to gather and pay homage to their majestic achievements while enjoying a night of entertainment and sumptuous dining.

    With so much going on in Melbourne during the week of the Awards, those intending to be there are advised to mark the date in their diaries now, and keep their eyes on the recently launched National Print Awards website, and the trade media so that they can move quickly when registrations open.

  • Australia’s most awarded print gets Sappi gold prize

    Offset Alpine’s promotion, Capabilities+ continues its award winning procession, picking up the only gold awarded at the Sappi Trading global competition in Sydney last night.

    The Sappi prize joins a stellar list of accolades accumulated over the past 18 months, including;

    • Gold Award at the NSW Pica, 2010
    • Gold Award at the National Print Awards 2011
    • Heidelberg sponsor’s award for Excellence in Craft NPA 2011
    • PaperlinX sponsor’s award for Excellence in Printing NPA 2011
    • Four Premier Print Awards – the Bennies – from The Printing Industries of America in September, including a prestigious Best of the Best
    • Sappi Trading Gold Award 2012.

    The iconic work is a book designed to showcase the capabilities (sic) of Offset Alpine. A lavish production with numerous embellishments and incorporating multiple printing processes, Capabilities+ has become a collector’s piece for print connoisseurs.

    “It’s been very satisfying for the team here at Offset Alpine. It reflects the skills and capabilities of the company. It also helps maintain the standards required to produce this level of work,” said Garth Hackett, sales and marketing director .

    The work is now entered into the Sappi Printer of the Year competition against other gold winners from The USA, Europe and South Africa in September. It represents one of the industry’s best chances of bringing home one of the prized Sappi Elephant trophies.

    In addition to the Offset Alpine Gold, Australian printers were awarded two silver and six bronze medals in competition against printers from Asia, and Central and South America.

    John Walker, Managing Director, Sappi Trading Australia Pty Ltd, congratulated the winners. “Awards such as these celebrate the achievements of the past two years, but they also point the way forward into the future. They do so by establishing a standard of excellence that others will strive to meet – that’s how we continue to raise the bar of excellence in our industry.”