Competition – sometimes a positive and other times a negative but it is always there. We learn as young children to compete with each other, whether it be a running race or a spelling Bee. We support our favourite rugby team or we cheer on our national cricket team. Competition is everywhere – except at the moment it is not present in the South African Printing Industry. Almost a year ago the only competition for printers in the local market was closed down and printers were left with no way to measure the quality of their printing and adherence to industry standards. Following a lengthy process of investigation, research and negotiation with various industry players, Sentient Publishing has decided to launch The GAPP Awards to address its core markets of Graphics, Advertising, Print and Packaging. The Awards will combine the prestige of producing work of distinction while allowing the participants to have fun and interact with like-minded people. This competition will be fully-representative and will address all aspects of printing across all sectors of the industry. The competition will address all types of printing including litho, digital, flexo, gravure, silkscreen and large-format and will include all types of substrates whether paper-based or not. Categories will pit similarly printed products against each other as opposed to looking at specific printed products such as calendars or annual reports. The specific printing technique used to produce each entry will form the main entry criteria. Other criteria will be developed to ensure clarity and further differentiation. At present 20 categories will create a platform for fair competition. This may change depending on the input requested and received from the different sectors of the industry. Judging will be conducted using specific set of criteria pertinent to the production method for each category. Independent auditors will verify the decisions reached against a matrix which will ensure that there are no irregularities arising from the judging process. A competition of this nature requires buy-in from the industry and as a result the competition will be extensively marketed and rolled out across a number of platforms including magazine advertising and a dedicated website – currently being developed. All entry criteria will be formulated and created with the assistance of industry bodies and recognised industry experts. In addition judging will be handled independently and separately from The GAPP Magazine, Sentient Publishing or any of its staff or agents. An independent convenor of judges will be appointed who will work in consultation and conjunction with industry bodies and players to select respected and reputable judges. Judging will be held in secret and judges will be required to recuse themselves if they have been involved or have prior knowledge of any specific job in a category. Commenting on the decision to launch The GAPP Awards, Sentient Publishing CEO Vikesh Roopchand said, ‘It has become clear to us that there is a dire need in the industry for a competition, but not just a litho-based competition, one which addresses all sectors of the industry. While there are competitions for the packaging industry and the flexo sector, it is not our aim to compete with these but rather to compliment them. We want this to be a completely inclusive and representative competition where companies from all facets of the industry can find value. ‘We believe that The GAPP is the most representative magazine serving the printing industry due to the fact that it addresses all sectors of the industry. As such, and given that there is no one industry body which covers all sectors of the industry, we feel that we are ideally positioned to bring a competition of this nature to the industry. Sentient Publishing is also completely independent from any printer, major publishing house or industry supplier.’ Entries for The GAPP Awards will be opened as soon as the entry portal website is up-and-running which is scheduled for September 2014. The awards ceremony will be held in March 2016 and all entries created between September 2014 and December 2015 will be eligible for entry. More information, such as entry criteria and production requirements, will be made available as each element of the competition is finalised. A tiered sponsorship programme will also be made available to companies who wish to be associated with the Awards and the search for ‘The Pinnacle of Excellence’ in each category. To use the words of Walt Disney in conclusion, ‘I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.’ This competition will introduce a new level of imagination, drive and motivation to an industry which is looking for direction and a reason to regain traction.
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