The inaugural UK Graphic Awards in September have been hailed as a ‘raging success’ by winners, sponsors, and attendees from across the wide-format print industry, with outstanding projects celebrated in categories ranging from branded interiors and graphics roll outs to innovation and green awards (see full list of categories and winners below).
The awards delivered the first opportunity to bring the industry back together following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and the feedback on the reunion has been tremendous.
Alex Mighall from sponsors R A Smart said: “The event was a raging success in our opinion - well organised and executed without a fault! It was a perfect opportunity to network and celebrate an industry that, despite an incredibly tough 18 months, has produced some exceptional work worth acknowledging. We can’t wait to do it again next year!”
Plans are now underway for an even bigger event in 2022, with the organisers announcing a date of October 5th.
“A positive and electric atmosphere”
Dan Tyler, founder of the awards and CEO at Vism, said: “One of the sponsors described the awards as celebrating our incredible community, and I think that’s exactly right.
“It was so exciting to feel the positive and electric atmosphere as people caught up with friends and colleagues they hadn’t seen for two years and new connections were made.
“There was so much joy and laughter, and some people said they wished they had brought even more colleagues from their teams along to share the celebrations.
“The feedback has been amazing and our plans for next year are already underway, with key sponsors from 2021 already signed up again, and some exciting new categories being prepared. We’re going bigger next year. I can’t wait for this.”
Demonstrating the value of passionate teams
Mark Bartlett, Managing Director at Signbox, winners of the Best in Show award sponsored by Agfa, said: “Reflecting on the past 18 months of the pandemic, we are delighted with this recognition for such a creative, passionate and resilient team who have diligently and successfully delivered these outstanding projects. The marketing opportunities are equally beneficial and positively demonstrate the value of the teams involved. For our clients, they bring confidence in the business recognition.”
Signbox also won the Innovation Award, sponsored by Compass Business Finance. Sarah Crumpler, Head of Marketing, said: “At Compass, we’re passionate about the success of the people and the businesses we support, along with the industries that they’re part of. Sponsoring the UK Graphic Awards gave us the opportunity to be a part of recognising and celebrating some of those successes, as part of an incredible community.
“The night itself was an incredible celebration, with companies receiving well-deserved recognition for work that would otherwise have gone unnoticed as part of their day-to-day business.”
Focusing on the future
Winner of the Rising Star award, sponsored by RMC, was Kalub Smith of Sovereign Signs. Alex Yates, Sales Manager, said: “'Sovereign Signs are delighted to be working with Kalub, our Rising Star Award Winner. Although he has only been with us a short time, he has made a lasting impression with his eagerness and desire to learn new techniques and technologies within print and graphics and is thoroughly deserving of recognition.”
John Bayly, Director at Wild Visual Communications, who won Retail Project of the Year, said: “It was a pleasure to have been part of the awards. As a relative newcomer to the industry, it’s been amazing and also humbling to be recognised in such a way by our peers, especially when such established names were also in the running. The only downside is now we need to work out how to do even better next year!”
Recognising a range of skills and experience
Imageco took home three awards on the night – Leisure and Hospitality Project, The Green Award, and Wide Format Print Company (under 30 employees). Nathan Swinson-Bullough, Managing Director, said: “Here at Imageco we are delighted with our three awards. We work tirelessly on amazing projects and at the same time acknowledge our social and environmental responsibilities. The awards are a credit to the team we have at Imageco and we value the recognition with extreme pride. We don't do what we do to win awards but it's great that the UK Graphic Awards were created to acknowledge and celebrate the work of the industry.”
Dan Tyler says that both Imageco and Signbox’s success reflects that it is worth taking the time to enter multiple categories. “The awards are free to enter and with the range of categories on offer, companies may have a number of projects or business-related initiatives that can be entered,” he said.” Our aim is to make sure everyone has the chance to highlight all the great work they do with no barriers to entry.”
Highlighting the skill and dedication of all the winners
Lisa Samuels, General Manager at Grapefruit Graphics Ltd, Graphics Roll-Out of the Year winner, said: “Being shortlisted for and then winning a UK Graphic Award was a fantastic and exciting morale boost for the team at Grapefruit! Seeing our hard work and dedication recognised is always a proud moment, and we are already thinking about what project to enter next year!”
Simon Wheeler, Director at Stylo, winner of the Museums & Galleries Graphics Project of the Year category, added: “Stylo are very grateful to the judges in recognising us as winners. This is a great reflection of the effort and pride everyone at Stylo puts into each job. Working on prestigious projects such as this one for the British Library highlight the skill and dedication they put in every day.”
Steve Poulton, Print and Business Development Manager at Into Print Digital, Event & Exhibition Graphics Project of the Year winner, said: “With all that has gone on within our industry in the last 18 months it was an achievement to get recognition let alone win, giving the team credit for their continued hard work! This project stood out as it was an open brief and incorporates all the services we offer.”
Supporting the industry moving forwards
Edward Arnott, General Manager at Leisure and Hospitality category sponsor Amari Plastics, Leeds, said: “Amari Plastics along with ADAPT are leading suppliers to the UK Graphic industry, so when the UK Graphic Awards were announced in Leeds it was a no brainer that we should co-sponsor them. Our customers are amongst the best in the UK and supporting them is what we do.
“The awards evening was a great event and we look forward to working with the organisers again for future award dinners.”
Alex Mighall, from sponsors R A Smart, added: “We decided to sponsor the inaugural UK Graphics Awards as we thought it would be an amazing opportunity for the industry to recognise some of the remarkable work that our customers are producing. We’ve been involved in the sale and support of digital wide format printing solutions since they were first introduced in the late 1990s. Now, with the introduction of our dedicated ‘Large Format’ signage division, we’ve cemented ourselves within the industry as a key supplier to some of the biggest names in the game and we’re keen to support them wherever we can!”
Dan Tyler added: “Social media went berserk after the awards, and it was great to see everyone sharing photos, with lots already aiming to enter next year. I’m already excited to see how this thing evolves and together with our brilliant sponsors we plan to bring even more value to the industry. One thing’s for sure, we’re just getting started!”
The winners in each category can be found at https://www.ukgraphicawards.com/winners