The Asian Print Awards, now going into its 15th year, aims to grow further as a regional competition for print excellence.
We chat with lead judge and print veteran, Major Wong, to find out what the judging process was like and for some solid advice on how to win in the upcoming edition of the Asian Print Awards.
Tell us about your experience judging the 2019 Asian Print Awards.
For Asian Print Awards 2019, I was nominated as a lead judge by the Award Management. We had gathered a panel of experienced international judges from the UK, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. The judges were all committed for three full working days in a closed door environment and on the weekend of Singapore’s National Day celebrations.
Most fulfilling was the consistency and unanimous decisions from each independent judge and as a team. I supposed it was the maturity of an “ace team” that have been together for a number of years. Most important, their judging experiences and expertise have also grown over the past 15 years as they examined and deliberated each entry to its fullest in the judging process.
It was always and most stressful time for the panel of independent judges to nominate and select the “Best of the Best”. The winners have to be outstanding and stand out from among the winning entries. Justifications and diligent deliberations from among the judges are important to decide the winner. I am glad the judges came from varied field of print experiences and most of them are current print practitioners in the industry in their respective countries.
What were the quality of the entries like in 2019?
Print quality is still utmost and remain a key criterion in this award competition. Today, most entries submitted had very little defects and weaknesses as compared to the initial years of the print award competition. We no longer see fundamentals of quality defects from printing and finishing process. Over the years, I observed that most participating companies are submitting entries of the “highest print quality standards”. Quality of entries for this year were excellent and had improved with the maturity of the print award which is into its 15th edition.
We are receiving the “Best of the Best” from the Asia region as the only print competition from Asia. Companies are now more conscious of the award criteria and their submission and had to be the best. I am sure they had vetted their own entries internally before submitting for the award judging.
With lesser fundamental print and finishing defects, the excellent work submitted posed great challenges to the judges to deliberate on each winning entry. Having examined the entries on the table, it is where the experiences and expertise of each judge were tested to the limit in the deliberation process.
What surprised you the most?
1. Seeing Award Winners from New Companies and Countries
It was exhilarating to see new entrants in the competition. Some of them surprised us as award winners though they were newbies. In particular, congratulations to Allegro Print Pte Ltd from Singapore.
This company is a first-time participant and was accorded a prestigious “Special Judges Recognition Award in Design Excellence” and bagged a Silver Award in Self-Promotion Category.
There were also other new entrants. Some of them may not be a winner of this year's award but there's always a second chance and opportunity for next year and the year after next… as long as the Asian Print Award continues.
Surprises also came from winning companies and countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. We were exhilarated to see a Gold Winner from Indonesia in Digital Limited Edition; a Gold Award Winner from Vietnam in Digital Labels as well as another Bronze Award Winner in Personalised Photo books category and a Silver Award Winner from Sri Lanka in Digital Packing. Well, you see the emerging rise and acceptance of digital printing in these countries in Asia.
Suffice to say, the judges had no prior knowledge as to the companies and countries where these entries came in. Yet, it was fulfilling to see the award tally of winners at the end of the judging. The Award Management analysed the results from the judging team. Having done our utmost in the judging process as Independent Judges, we often asked ourselves: have we been fair and diligent to all the entries submissions that were the best of the best in Asia?
2. Multi-Award Winner from India:
This year, I was delighted to see Pragati Offset Pvt Ltd from India winning multiple categories. This company had bagged the most as well as multiple award winners in seven categories. Their winning entries covered a wide spectrum of print products, print processes as in traditional offset and digital printing as well as beautiful embellishments and finishing in its product presentation. I am sure these multi-award accolades bear great testimonials of their marketing achievements and success of the company’s performance.
My utmost congratulations to Pragati Pvt Ltd!
I have seen their previous entry submissions over the past years. This company had made tremendous progress in its print quality and finishing ever since their first participation in the Asia Print Award competition. I witnessed their progress in the Award competition year after year.
These multi-award winnings certainly bear witness and recognition that the company has grown exponentially in it print quality. I am sure their clients are also pleased with their winning entries and award-winning feats.
Today, companies from India had emerged as one of the key award winners in the competition. We also have two other award winning companies: Ramya Reprographic Pvt Ltd and Anaswara Offset Pvt Ltd. What does all these new entrants tell us? It signalled that prints coming from these debutant winners and country like India are now as competitive as the best in Asia.
What advice do you have for printers wanting to join the 2020 edition?
Never belittle your own print production works and think it’s not going to compete. You never know, it could be a winning entry tomorrow. Of course, you need to put in conscious efforts to examine each entry before you submit to the Award Organization.
Also, submit your entries in the appropriate category that you think it best befits as a winner! Putting multiple items in one particular category does not ensure you hit the winning jackpot. If it is going to be a winner, just select one of your best of the best for award submission.
You are entering a print award competing with the Best of the Best in the Asian region. My advice is for companies to conscientiously vet their own entries before submission. Do your own self-check. I understand some companies had taken such seriousness that even their bosses take personal interest in vetting the entries before submitting to the award organization.
To find out more about Asian Print Awards 2020, click here.