113 firms, 1,200 samples and 40 jury members…

The jury at the Awards gave its verdict on 26 August at The Leela, Mumbai. They said: Print is sleeker, prettier and more powerful, and that they want more of it.

07 Oct 2013 | By Tanvi Parekh

PrintWeek India Awards 2013, the fifth edition, received entries from 113 leading print companies across the country. The Jury Day, organised on  26 August, had 40 jury members, inspecting the 1,200 samples across 25 categories. Print continues to be powerful, or so it seems…
The missing piece(s)
The 40-member jury; a mix of print technologists, design experts and print buyers, was impressed with the apparent display of technological advancements in the print segment. Print veteran Kiran Prayagi of GATE, and Amol Paranjape from JWT felt that the extent and possibilities of innovations have increased manifold. Alpana Parida of DY Works, seconded their opinion, and said, “Technology, which was not available until yesterday, has made possible a wide range of innovations and experimentation.”
But Parida and creative experts like Sridhar Kondiparti (a.k.a. Pops) sensed an increasing gap between the design aesthetics and print capability. Pops said, “The essence of a quality printed product is elements like design, photography, typography, etc. Today, the quality of these elements is deteriorating. However, the technology available offers the printers the scope for innovating other finishing processes, which make the print look a lot more appealing.” Parida added, “There did exist a generation of printers, who had the caliber to amalgamate design and printing. But today, the distributed leadership across the pre-press, press and post-press operations has resulted in the lack of single ownership to ensure a particular level of quality.”
“This time around, the number of entries sent by a participant has increased but the spread of entries across the categories and the extent of work sent seems to have depleted. I was looking forward to more innovation and more blizzards in the entries,” said Geetanjali Bhattacharji of Spatial Access, commenting on the number and quality of the entries.  Bhattacharji is a second-time jury member at the PWI Awards.

Vishaka Singh of Aurora Comms reads the fine print
Seeking more - amalgamation of platforms
An entry in the brochure/catalogue/innovative category, which included an audio-visual presentation, was picked by various jury members as their best. 
Paulose Parakkadan of R-pac India said,  “This audio-video piece of work encompasses various elements of packaging space; from the rigid box packaging, the folding carton, then there is the print and finally, the inclusion of the audio device. This is an excellent example of an all media-inclusive product, how one would want to present their company profile to their clients. It is the kind of corporate communication, which has a long way to go.”
Commenting on the same print sample, Rajnish Shirsat from Radikal, added, “An audio-visual book printed by an Indian printer is illustrative of the strength of the printers today.”

Khushnum Ichhaporia and Vikram Bawa confabulate about print
From the expert
Newspaper guru and print expert Purnendu Sen said, “It’s a mixed feeling when one sees the scale of these awards and the number of entries. When the quality of a print job, which is subject to various factors, is under scrutiny, the parameters of comparison must be defined and understood. Else, the judging process becomes difficult. But a clear message conveyed is ¬Print is not dead and print is not going to be dead.”
In his concluding statement, he asked the printers to keep investing. “Investment results in improvement; in the already existing products and in the extent of the portfolio one can offer. Thus, it is important to think positive, keep investing and keep going.”
The message that we took home (and what the printers should take to their presses) from the Jury Day is, while the technology is available and there is the buyer’s demand, the printer should look at delivering the best across design, aesthetics and printing spectrum.
With technology playing a major role in today’s print production, stress and attention on buyer’s hunger for quality and innovation is what will drive the performance of print firms in order to be profitable in the intensively competitive market.
More power to print!

Screenprinted posters catch the eye

Feedback from the Jury

Ashwini Deshpande, Elephant Design
A couple of entries made use of substrates which they could do without. It’s two different things when we consider the technology available and the need of the product. While the technology to print on these substrates does exist, it doesn’t imply that one uses it irrespective of the demand. The printers sometimes need to practice a bit of restraint.

Geetanjali Bhattacharji, Spatial Access
In the variable data printing (VDP) segment, there is a lot done in the market. However, I believe there is a scope for lot more. Also, in the Innovative Printer of the Year category, there is a huge lift in the extent of innovations that were submitted.

Paulose Parakkadan, R-pac India
I have been on the jury panel last year, too. Comparing the two years, the number and extent of entries were fewer in 2013. With the retail sector booming, one can forsee a change in the way packaging is produced and consumed, especially corrugated packaging. 


Rajnish Shirsat, Radikal 
There is scope for betterment. With respect to going that extra bit and innovating, the Indian print industry has graduated over the years. Products, which seemed beyond the capacity of Indian printers, are now being produced here and which makes us really proud.  

Amol Paranjape, JWT
In my opinion, the printers have more or less arrived at the stage, where they are at par with their international counterparts. The books and catalogues submitted are of great quality. The post-press operations of binding, and finishing have improved considerably as compared to the five years earlier. They are displaying their strength. 

Alpana Parida, DY Works
The fact that 113 companies have participated in the awards is a testimony of the extent of great work being produced. A lot of the work was interesting. For a piece of work to come alive, design elements should be amalgamated. But, I feel, the overall quality, scope and extent of print production has risen.

Masand, art editor at Stuff magazine

Masand, art editor at Stuff magazine

Lupin Pharma’s Sheetal Dandekar