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The 4 keys to awards success


As the Global Flexo Innovation Awards open for entries, Christopher Horton, independent judging panel chairman and industry expert, gives his four top tips on how to impress the judges…

The Global Flexo Innovation Awards isn’t just about judging the merits of a print sample. So what do you need to consider when putting your submission together?

1. Know what makes you special – and tell us

Last year one entry that caught the attention of the judges for its creative use of design was a bag for a pet food. Typically, in that kind of packaging, you’d put down a white solid flood coat before the other ink colours. This company actually knocked out the white behind the eyes of the pet, printing directly on to the foil and making the eyes shimmer and sparkle. It was a very interesting use of creative design. The strange thing was that the company didn’t even point that out. The judges just happened to notice it.

2. Set your own bar higher

I think our judges this year will be slightly more skewed towards technical expertise, and will look more critically at the submissions. We’re trying to demonstrate how the flexo process continues to innovate and grow and become more powerful as a tool. And as this is the second year of the awards, we need to push the bar higher. If the general print quality submitted isn’t at a high enough level, it may be eliminated.

3. Back it up with the facts

I’m hoping to see more detailed submissions this year. Last time, because some entries only gave the minimal amount of input, we had to go back several times to get more detail. The companies that provided the most holistic information, about what they did and how they did it, stood a greater chance of being recognized.

So, take a bit more time to provide the types of details the judges will find more valuable. If we don’t have an idea of the creative journey a brand image took, it’s harder for us to understand it. Think of it in terms of a narrative: the specific print item is the focal point, but you should use it to show us how you’re providing benefit to your customers too.

If someone is demonstrating a conversion from gravure, for example, or printing on a new, challenging substrate, it’s extremely beneficial if we can see what the previous process was. Why did you make the choices you did? What challenges did you face, and how did you go about overcoming them?

In the area of design creativity, provide some original designs and share the expectations from your client. But also tell us what adaptations you had to make so the design would work within the flexo process.

4. Show how you’re innovating in this crisis

Flexo is extremely well-placed to help the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, because it’s used in critical food and medical packaging, and can react to market changes faster than other print technologies. And for those companies that can’t market and sell in the traditional way right now, because of travel restrictions, the awards provide an avenue to share their successes. Tell us how you’re improving your workflow through this pandemic in order to reduce costs; how you’re helping your suppliers; and how you’re innovating to operate for essential needs.

Christopher Horton is a print innovator, entrepreneur and consultant, and is independent judging panel chairman for the Global Flexo Innovation Awards.