Proud printers revel in medals, Kiwi ‘can-do’ takes inky cake

The ink, sweat and tears of New Zealand’s print industry were honoured on Friday night at the Pride in Print awards held at Sky City in Auckland. And Fonterra Canpac of Hamilton was judged the best of the best, taking out the most prestigious award for a metal baby food can.

Supreme Print Award: Fonterra Canpac

A metal baby food can that has been a success in extremely-demanding overseas markets took top honours and the technical excellence of the Nutricia Karicare Gold Plus 1 can, as well as the fact that it had gained acceptance with international clients whose standards are exacting, impressed the judges. And it’s also some much-needed good news after a catastrophic fire at the Hamilton plant earlier this year.

The can earned international recognition from customers in tough global markets, but Canpac print plant manager Greg Wardrop says the awards would help restore morale.

“The fire closed down our production and was a very hard blow to take. This win will help us rebuilt that department and come back stronger. We have had a tough year but this will make us more determined to come back,” he says. And in a testament to the collaborative spirit within the New Zealand print industry, Wardrop paid tribute to competitor NCI Packaging who came to the aid of Canpac while its production was disrupted.

Pride In Print chairman and senior judge Scott Porter says that for any packaging to succeed in the global arena, it had to be outstanding.

“There is a huge emotional attachment in the relationship between mother and baby and that is reflected in the relationship between the product and its packaging. This is a super-tough market for a packaging printer to make an impression. This can represents wonderful colours and density. Technically, they had to print three whites to achieve that density, which has succeeded in impressing the client. I know just how hard that was to achieve. These guys have demonstrated outstanding skill and technique. They are a credit to the industry.”

As well as winning the Supreme Award, the Nutricia Karicare can also won the Packaging Category, where it came up against entrants in flexible packaging, carton board and corrugated board, metal and other types of packaging.

Promotional Print Category: Kinetic 121

Entered by Kinetic 121 and printed by Momento Photobooks of Wellington, the success of the single-edition photo essay “Netherlands-Paris-Netherlands” reflects the growing importance of the photo book market to wedding albums, family histories and personal mementoes.

Kinetic 121 production manager Lisa Thompson says that producing the book was a major test of the printer-customer relationship.

“With this kind of work you know there is only one copy. You just have to get it right. You are capturing personal memories and you simply must do it perfectly.”

Thompson says that Momento was creating an important print niche with such books. “As digital print becomes more accessible in the market, companies such as Momento are showing there is huge potential for personalised print. Quantities of between one and 1000 are within everyone’s reach.”

Senior judge Denise Pringle says the beautifully-presented product was a great example of how digital printing can be utilised. Netherlands-Paris-Netherlands was up against entries covering customised campaigns, catalogues and leaflets, presentational folders, promotional work and calendars in the Promotional Print Category

Publications Category and Web Process: APN Print Manukau

Mindfood July/August 2009 edition impressed judges with the quality of production and also won the Web Process Award, with heatset web print judges saying it stood out because of its high degree of difficulty.

And the judges said: “This magazine had a 50,000 print run on an 18-year-old press and had a four-day turnaround. The quality is extremely high with excellent colour and register. It also has a double gatefold cover for further impact. To achieve this kind of consistency on a press running at ten metres a second is a huge feat for the web sector.”

APN Print Manukau operations manager Craig Harris says “it’s all effort involved in printing it and it’s been a consistent market winner”.

“It’s the machine we put it on, the way the artwork is presented – just the whole magazine comes together and works really well for us. We actually got the client set up at their end to the ISO standard, we did the front-end work and then they followed it through and we get a good result. It is colourful and was run on 90gsm stock which we got designed from the mill specifically for this job – it’s the only one we do on this stock. It has a gate-fold cover as well, which involves a lot of work. It’s quite a tricky job.

“We’re a leading force in the ISO standard – finger-printing our presses and working with outside companies like Frontline Technologies to make sure we’re always printing the best that we can. With the changes that happen, you’ve got to keep adapting them. It is all something that benchmarks the industry.”

Environmental Award: GEON Napier

The Pulp Pallet Labels for Pan Pac, entered by GEON Napier, solved a labelling problem that had concerned exporters of pulp to Asia. It produced a fully-recyclable label that can be reduced to pulp along with the pallets of wood it is attached to, fully meeting the requirements of the Japanese importers.

“This is an example of looking at a problem in a different way and coming up with a new solution,” says senior design judge Kerenza Smith. “The company worked with the end client through every step of research, including pulping tests, to discover the best way forward. It was a partnership approach that reviewed the technological options and environmental research to come up with a replacement for a non-environmental product. It is little things like this that make a difference in our industry. To get this solution accepted in a very demanding overseas market is a very impressive design feat.”

GEON New Zealand group general manager Andrew Durrans says the result helped make this the best-ever Pride In Print for the company.

“We won Golds in all of our regions. We run our own ‘internal Pride In Print’, people within our organisation critique the jobs and we only try to send in the best of what we’ve done. We were a little bit disappointed as a company last year – we were going through a particularly hard time and didn’t enter many. But this year we put in a huge effort.”

Specialty Products Category: Screen Printing Solutions

Screen Printing Solutions’ striking Kicking Imprint t-shirt featured a three-dimensional boot, complete with laces, and the judges said it was an item that required plenty of labour hours to create.

Senior screen printing judge Chris Knuckey says the Hamilton company is going from strength to strength each year and the t-shirt was a well-executed example of a technique using a special ink which puffs up to create a three-dimensional effect.

“They added embellishments such as eyelets and laces on the boot. The text is sharp and there are no flaws. Doing all of this in any kind of big production run would be demanding in the extreme.”

Screen Printing Solutions owner Stephen Wallace said that the company’s plan was to be an industry leader.

“Lot of hours were involved, especially for test printing. We had a vision, we sat down with the customer to create a 3D print and eventually we combined three print technologies which was a mission and a half. The customer response is ‘we are just absolutely stoked’. The textile market is smaller than the rest of print, so to get people to brand their product by using shirts is awesome.

Innovation Award: GEON Christchurch

The innovative folk at GEON Christchurch received plaudits from senior design judge Kerenza Smith who said a sealing tape that combines high-visibility branding with a tamper-proof security solution was an example of a company taking existing technologies and combining them to produce a new opportunity for the print industry.

“The ease-of-use of reel-fed adhesive and high-resolution colour printing have been brought together in this innovation. The company has worked with the client to produce a sealing tape that is highly-visible, and can carry the customer’s logo or whatever additional high-quality graphics they need to have printed. The design makes it tamper-resistant and will show if there has been a breach of security. And variations of the seal have been produced to go with products that are refrigerated or frozen for example.”

GEON Christchurch sales manager Antony Morris says there are a lot of companies out there that are doing a similar type product, but it’s the way that we’ve done it that has made it outstanding.

“The fact is we’ve taken a fairly standard type product that we would supply to the majority of the market and flipped that round to a specialised offering. It is how do we take something that is already outstanding and turn it into something unique

Display Print Category and Digital Process: Digital River Limited

Digital River’s “brave” display for Colorsteel panels beat out other banners, posters, showcards, billboards and applied graphics for the prize, with swatches of the product that were perfectly aligned and mounted on a printed display board to represent all the different colours available.

Senior judge Ron Cuddy said the job was impressive and the finishing on the piece was outstanding.

“The swatches are perfectly aligned and square. They achieved very good colour density and beautiful drop shadows, with perfect registration. This was a very difficult job to complete well, involving two passes through the printer and an enormous amount of work to get it set up perfectly.”

Business Print Category and Screen Process: Permark Industries

A beautiful business card for a plastic surgeon that looks simple but in fact is highly complex combined clever printing and embellishments and won Auckland company Permark Industries the gong.

Screen printing judge Chris Knuckey said both the front and back of the plastic card were printed, and with see-through text, it was essential  the right-reading and reverse-reading images matched up perfectly. And he noted that the company is getting better every year and pushing the boundaries, with this being one of the best pieces of work he had seen in a long time.

“This is a first-class job. It also involved metallic embellishments and the whole thing required a great deal of skill to bring it together.”

The Business Print Category featured stationery, annual reports and company prospectuses, security printing such as stamps, cheques and plastic cards, and business forms.

Labels Category: Panprint

The Tiki Sauvignon Blanc 2009 label, a minimalist wine label design that has “consumer appeal on the supermarket shelf”, impressed judges with its quality of finishing and with senior labels judge Mike Davis saying it achieved true excellence in its production.

“Anything that goes to market with a label is relying on that label to make an impact on the shelves. Designers strive to make something look different and stand out. This label may be minimalist to the first look, but it the cleverness is in the finishing. In terms of a print job the registration and embossing is as perfect as you can get.”

Panprint general manager John Lowther says the minimalist design reflected where the New Zealand wine industry was at.

“The New World wines are different from the Old World. The French and Italian labels are more elaborate. But this label had to be simple and capture the essence of New Zealand, hence the Tiki concept. The customer feedback we got was that it was exactly what they wanted.”

Sheetfed Process Winner: GEON Highbrook

GEON Highbrook’s Ultimate Guide impressed the judges even before they saw it on the judging table.

“I picked up a copy in Taupo and thought it was great,” said one senior judge. “The Ultimate Guide embodies quality and productivity in the competitive publications environment, particularly tourism. The ‘pick up and flick through’ aspect is one of eye-catching colour and sharpness, complemented by good stock choice and easy-to-read layout. It has been run on a perfecting press, probably slotted in as a normal production run and quoted with tight margins, and bound with a soft cover.

In other words, it’s a great-looking, really colourful job and it’s a model example of excellent commercial print: “This is a production job of substantial quantity and is beautifully presented. It is a credit to the design, prepress, print and bind team.”

GEON New Zealand group general manager Andrew Durrans said the job presented technically-difficult challenges, but they managed to conquer them and make it look easy.

“We’re getting more and more commendation about the quality. I guess we’re trying to find a point of difference in an extremely difficult market economy where prices are going down and you’re trying to hold a reasonable price for good quality.”

Finishing Process Winner: Octane Digital

The intricately die cut booklet, “Our Little Secret”, which was printed by Auckland firm Centurion Print, brought magic to the combination of design, illustration and print.

Senior finishing judge Kenny McQueenie said the die cutting for the delicate job had to be “spot on perfect” otherwise it would have been ruined and said it would compete with any print finishing worldwide.

“It was brilliant. There must have been a ton of work gone into perfecting it. This was obviously a specialist job with little or no tolerances for error.

Judging convenor Fraser Gardyne said was  a magnificent project that reinforces the magic of what great design, illustration and print can achieve. It also won a Gold Medal in the BeST Design Awards last year.

“Our Little Secret is one of those surprising packages where the designers and printers have really excelled to delight the viewer. When you opened this little book that was sealed with a bow, each spread revealed a beautifully-illustrated scene in three dimensions. These were created by paper engineering and skilful binding that allowed the book to open displaying a scene in four layers. The illustrations were die cut in such a way that when opened it gave the impression of depth to the landscapes. This is a great example of what is called a tunnel or peepshow book which date from the mid-eighteenth century being inspired by theatrical stage sets.”

Flexible Process Winner: Sealed Air New Zealand

Sealed Air’s winning Littleneck Clams packaging work had actually been entered last year, but tiny registration flaws meant it fell at the final hurdle. This year, however, with the printers having taken the time to get the printing absolutely perfect, the judges could find no fault and said it was a very good example of what can be achieved using flexographic printing when the subject matter is something that can make or break the final appearance of the finished pack. It’s also a great example of taking the judges’ comments on the chin.

“Seafood is very subjective when it comes to what looks fresh and what doesn’t. A lot of pre-press work was done on the images last year to create the very dense black background whilst still retaining a product shot that appealed to both the designer and the final print buyer. It was also necessary to print very clean fine text as well as ensuring the barcodes stayed clean and functional.”

Sealed Air New Zealand print manager Damion Robinson it had received very similar comments in its last Pride In Print Gold a decade ago, because, with the quality of the work, people didn’t believe it came off a flexographic press.

“It is one of very few jobs that just looks remarkable. Our client was just stoked with it. After last year as well, that feedback was given to them and they just couldn’t say enough.”

Special Commendation for Promoting the Print Industry: Spicers Paper

A Spicers Paper promotional competition by Switch Design that invited designers to turn a blank die cut “CardBot” into something memorable created a buzz among the graphic design community and managed to inspire New Zealand’s creative talent while also proving an invaluable marketing tool for printing stock, process and technique.

Marketed to a database of about 600, the promotion attracted about 150 entries which were uploaded for an online voting competition. The four winning designs, “SauceBot”, “KingBot”, “GorillaBot” and “CowBot”, were then physically produced as fold-ups in a process that united design, print, embellishing and packaging.

Spicers Paper marketing manager Carolyn Lockstone said the aim was to re-engage the design community with “ink-on-paper” and bring the focus back onto some of the older crafts such as foiling and embossing.

“They had to download a CardBot image and ‘pimp’ it. The world was their oyster in regards to an embellishing and printing process. We took the four winning entries and worked with them to create the actual printed piece … We still get enquiries today about the Bots and people have collected the series… It was a really great promotion that does show the old crafts of printing. Today it is all about ‘four-colour, cheap-as-chips’ and this was about ‘it doesn’t need to be expensive’ – one foil and one colour and you’ve created this amazing little thing. A lot of the new-age designers don’t know about half of this craft.”

Switch creative director Chris Jones believes the campaign succeeded in stimulating the imaginations of budding designers, with the Pimp My Paper CardBot a “tireless crusader for the revival of old-school ink-on-paper craftsmanship”.

“The problem we have — and especially as younger designers come through the ranks — is that the printing craft is being lost to digital. I not only mean digital as in online, but also young print designers work in a simple space of CMYK and either don’t know of all the printing techniques available or haven’t been exposed to them. They will often turn to CMYK on a coated stock – boring! The concept behind Pimp My Paper was to expose them to as many printing possibilities as we could and also engage with them in order to get them thinking and interacting with paper too.”

Pride In Print judge Fraser Gardyne says the concept was great because the company reps introduced the competition to designers and they then encouraged designers to enter and vote.

“This was a truly memorable promotion which involved people at all levels, whether they entered their concepts, voted, made the CardBots, talked to the paper rep, were educated about the print opportunities or just had a chuckle at the cute entrants and winners. A great promotion on all levels that really demonstrated the involvement and difference print can make.”

Pride In Print chairperson Scott Porter said only occasionally does a promotional campaign come along that is “just too much fun to ignore”. And Pimp My Paper was definitely one of those.

“Although fairly simple in concept, the buzz it created and the creative juices that it got working within the industry were refreshing to see. . . I always find it fun to be a part of our industry when this sort of campaign comes along, as it embraces so many of the good things about being in the print game and brought the best out of many of our great people. Well done to all involved for bringing some fun into our working day during the tough time that 2009 was.”

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