Pride In Print judges have wrapped up the judging process for this year’s awards, noting a marked increase in digital print entries.
The phenomenal growth in digital print has been recognised by the New Zealand Pride In Print Awards, which decided “on the spot” to create an extra category in the sector during the judging at Auckland’s Alexandra Park Raceway.
Digital provided the most dynamic growth in any category at the Awards, and judges noted that its spread of applications had grown. Senior digital judge Matt Hall said that because of this it was deemed fair to create a new category of Applied Digital Graphics so that the entries could be assessed more accurately.
“We had the evidence before us of how digital has moved into the signage area, for example. We found there was a need to recognise specialist entries where you are not just judging a finished print product, but need to consider the impact of that very large print signage 'in situ’ – that is, what it looks like when film is applied to an aircraft fuselage or against the glass of a company's entrance foyer.
“It made sense to judge these kinds of print applications in their own specialist category,” he said.
Senior pre-press judge Bill Ashworth said that judges have also given thought as to whether such large-scale print applications need to be viewed “on site”.
“In future it may be necessary to actually go and see the application, in order to be able to appreciate its impact. As it is, we believe we are doing justice to the digital field by immediately creating this new area for judging.”
Overall, competition was good in all areas with only annual awards showing a drop in entries, reflecting the general business trend towards publishing official reports online.
Judges’ convenor Grant Letfus said there had been a particularly-good standard of entries in several categories.
“Obviously digital is the stand-out, and one would have to say that the quality of digital print has risen to the point where that category now produces strong work that provides fierce competition in the Supreme Award selection process.
“However there was also a high standard of gravure printing, also showing some innovation. One entry used silver ink over a metalised film, allowing the product to be picked up on packing lines by a metal detector.
“Security print items such as stamps and credit cards were of a very high quality as were some of the screen printing entries. The level of entries from news-papers showed a marked rise. In
the environmental section, golds were awarded, which is pleasing as this category did not reach gold standard last year,” he said.
Mr Letfus said that one disappoin-ting aspect was that some entrants let themselves down by submitting individual samples with flaws.
“We had one entry that had been printed with some ‘position-holding text’ still in place, instead of the correct caption to a photograph. One could say it was not part of the actual print process itself but it reflected on the quality of the job.
“It just goes to show the depth to which the judges go in their scrutiny of entries now.”
Mr Letfus said that some screen printing entries also suffered because the individual samples were marked, leaving the judges with no option but to review them as representative of the whole
“In the environmental category, judges reported that entrants next year need to put a lot more information in with their entries to justify the ‘environmental’ tag. Similarly, we had lenticular entries which could have been improved if working sheets without the opaque had been provided. This would allow the judges to get a better feel for the finished quality.”
Overall, Mr Letfus said the bar continued to be raised in terms of print quality, which was an endorsement of the rationale of Pride In Print, established in 1993 to promote excellence in print and discourage buyers taking work away from New Zealand.
Awards Manager Sue Archibald said she was delighted to see a rise in the number of companies who had
“We have worked hard to capture interest among all the diverse industry sectors, encouraging entries from smaller printers as well as large, and from provincial firms as well as the major city operations,” she says.
“We now have categories that range across the whole field of printing, and the Awards are constantly developing. Each year we review the way the industry is heading and redefine our categories to ensure we reach out into every sector.
“So to see even more companies entering the Awards this year is a great endorsement of that policy.
“I would urge printers to start thinking about their entries for 2009. It’s not too early! Remember that all work completed in 2008 qualifies, and we are already nearly three months into the year.”
Pride In Print winners will be announced at Awards Night at Auckland Sky City Centre on May 16. A full house of 1000 people are expected to attend.