Advance and Offset Alpine big NPA winners

Perth printer Advance Press won top honour at the National Print Awards while a resurgent Offset Alpine bagged the most gold medals.

Advance Press won the Judges Award for best overall print job with its Rio Tinto 2014 Calendar, which also won gold in the calendars category. Advance also won a gold and a silver award.

Last year’s biggest winner, Geelong firm Adams Print, bagged two golds as did labels juggernaut Collotype Labels which won all the medals in both labels categories, and finished second to Avon Graphics in embellishment.

Blue Star had the most overall medal tally, but only one of them was gold – for offset printed annual reports – with another six silver.

[Full list of winners from the 2015 National Print Awards]

Winning the biggest award in print caps off a successful rebirth at Advance, the former Geon division bought by management led by general manager Ian Smith as the print giant crumbled two years ago.

Director Paul Meloncelli says producing the winning job, printed on a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105, was a team effort and a product of Advance’s commitment to quality.

“We do lots of work for Rio and they always demand a high quality jobs, so we create pieces like this that are some of the best in the industry,” he says.

“It is great to be able to show it off as a sample for potential clients, and we try to have high standards year in year out.

“We knew it was a nice piece so we entered it, but it is hard to know what everyone else will think of it so it is great to get the accolade.

“It has been a great couple of years for us and I am feeling positive about the local print industry.”

Offset Alpine bounced back from its underwhelming 2014 showing, with three gold medals this time, triple last year’s count despite less nominations.

The IPMG company was victorious in the multi piece productions and campaigns, heatset web offset, and four-colour offset leaflets, flyers or brochures categories.

General manager Michael Bartlett praised his staff for the big medal haul, including a clean sweep of the heatset web offset category.

“Our systems, our procedures and most importantly our people drive the quality focus each and every day, striving to produce world class products,” he says.

“Without the hard work of all our employees, successful nights like these aren’t remotely possible. Our employees are always looking for better ways to produce work and set a higher standard. I could not be prouder.”

Bartlett says close relationships with quality-conscious clients are essential, and that working with and guiding them for the best result definitely helps produce award-quality work.

“Our medals came in very different categories across a number of papers and processes. It is very rewarding to work so closely with our clients at many different levels and produce such good work day in day out, regardless of how many medals we win,” he says.

“Our aim is to produce quality work that will help our clients be successful in what they are producing, industry recognition of this is great for both us and our clients.”

[Related: More awards coverage]

The return to direct entry seems to have created a more varied winners list with no other firms winning multiple golds and many new names winning medals.

Michael Warshall’s Nulab picked up one gold, down from last year’s two, but won the Currie Group award for brilliant images for the Mens Shed Photography book.

The other sponsor awards went to Dominion Print, which won the Heidelberg Award for its self-promotion pack, a the Fuji Xerox effectiveness award went to McKellar Renown for its BMW Welcome Pack – a multi-channel piece that included augmented reality.

Media Super awarded two print executives on each end of the spectrum, one whose career is getting going and another recognised for a lifetime of achievement.

Blue Star Web supply chain and pre-production manager Sean Thompson was named Young Executive of the Year, having worked his way up from a general hand in 2006.

“I am so thankful for all the opportunities I have been given,” an emotional Thompson said when accepting his award. “For the table over there, this is for you too.”

Finally, Buckner Group chairman Malcolm Buckner was recognised for his 37-year print career, including helping to set up the PICAs, with the inaugural Industry Legend Award.

“This is an awesome industry and tonight shows its future is assured. The technology and energy has always been here, and if you put in you get a lot out of it,” he said on the stage.

Organisers say 473 people attended the awards dinner on Friday night. It was hosted by TV presenter Emma Freedman and Media Super's Patrick Horneman, with entertainment by pop singer Wendy Matthews at The Waterview in Bicentennial Park, Sydney.

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