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The GAPP Awards, THE South African print awards

When it comes to human beings there is an innate need and desire for competition. To pit our skills and abilities against someone else. We see it in all walks of life from school, through to sports – both amateur and professional, to industry. We constantly want to be the best, do the best or align ourselves with the best.

Introducing The GAPP Awards. The South African Printing, Packaging and Signage Industries are mature markets which are on a par with their international counterparts. However, apart from competitions for specific sectors of the markets there is no competition for the industry as a whole. The GAPP Awards will now address this situation. The aim is not to crown an overall winner because to compare signage with flexo or gravure with newspaper printing would not be possible. The aim is to find a winning printer in each category.

The GAPP Awards will cover 30 categories of print spanning all substrates and all types of print from litho printing, signage, gravure and flexo as well as all types of end product from stationery through to packaging. The competition is the intellectual property of Sentient Publishing and is being run under the banner of The GAPP, being the magazine with the broadest reach and coverage of the full printing industry. The GAPP Magazine is now in its fifth year of publication and addresses all sectors of the printing industry. As a result, The GAPP Awards will also address all sectors.

Vikesh Roopchand, managing director of Sentient Publishing commented, ‘As a team we felt that there was a need for a competition to showcase the capabilities of local printers. It has to be a full-spectrum competition which represents all sectors and types of print. In all the discussions with potential sponsors, suppliers to the industry and various printers we have found that there is a great deal of support for this concept. The aim is to make this a fully inclusive industry event and to act as a unifying feature for the different parts of the industry.’

Bronze, Silver and Gold trophies and certificates will be presented in each category according to the results of the judging. Printers, their clients or agencies can enter work but it is the printer who will win the Award – should one be presented.

Vikesh added, ‘We want to reward excellence in printing and in so doing to create an environment where printers are driven to consistently improve their quality and processes in order to excel. We believe The GAPP Awards will provide just that level of motivation.’

There are 30 categories of print addressing all forms of print from signage to packaging. More information on the categories can be found on the website

The competition will be run over an 18-month period allowing sufficient time for companies to accumulate and submit their entries. Companies will be limited to a maximum of three entries per category and each entry will carry an entry fee. All entries will be submitted via the dedicated website which includes an electronic pay point. Entries can be submitted by printers, the company or individual for whom the work was printed or even by the agency responsible for the design. However, it is the printer who will win the award and therefore, the printer must approve entries being submitted. Once the entries have been submitted and payment made, an entry number will be generated. A copy of the entry form will then have to accompany the physical entry which will have to be sent to a central location prior to the judging process being undertaken. Entries will only be considered as finally submitted once the printed entry has reached the central storage location. Any commercial job produced within the borders of South Africa during the competition period will be eligible for entry.

A portion of every entry fee will be set aside for the provision of education and training for people currently employed in the printing industry or for young people wanting to enter the industry.

Judging will be handled by a panel of specialist judges selected by a convenor of judges in consultation with industry experts. The judging process will take place anonymously. However, judges having any prior knowledge of any job will be required to recuse themselves from judging that specific entry. All judging will be conducted on a matrix allowing for complete impartiality and fairness. The judges’ decision will be final. Judges will have the right to move entries from one category to another if they feel it is warranted. They will also have the right to request a copy of the work ticket if they believe it is necessary. Judges will also have the right not to present an award if there are insufficient entries in any category or if they believe the standards are not high enough.

Mark Ellis, country manager for Avery Dennison South Africa, one of the Associate Sponsors said, ‘There is a definite need in the local market for a competition of this nature. As a company we were completely behind the concept from the outset and look forward to being part of this exciting initiative.’ Avery Dennison is a global company active in more than 50 countries worldwide and with 26000 employees worldwide.

Speaking about the sponsorship levels, Vikesh said, ‘The decision was taken very early on in the process that there would be a limitation set on the number of Platinum and Award Event Associate level sponsors. This gives the Sponsors in these levels the additional value of standing apart from other similar players in the same sector.’

Entries for the 2015/2016 GAPP Awards are now open and the main gala event will take place in October 2016. For more information please contact Sentient Publishing on 011 475 5095 or via e-mail on

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