The winners of Europe-based label association FINAT's 34th label awards competition were announced at a ceremony during the association's annual FINAT Congress in Monaco, June 5-7. There were 241 awards entries representing 49 label companies from 25 countries. Mike Fairley of Tarsus, chairman of the judging panel (standing in for Tony White, who was unable to assist due to health issues), was joined by the judging panel regulars Murat Sipahioglu (Turkey), Steve Wood (UK) and Rik Olthof (Cartils, the Netherlands). This year the judges received additional support from Bill Bruce (editor of foodbev.com) and Bernard Plat, past president of the French label association UNFEA.
"To work and talk with the other experts provided a valuable opportunity to gain insights about the label industry and the people involved, comments Fairley. "It's always challenging to determine which label is better than another, and why, but seeing some of the best labels that have been produced gives a valuable overview of just what can be achieved by those printers at the top of their game. To see and understand the amount of work, skill and effort that goes into producing a label with up to 12 print and process stages is quite stimulating. Having said that, a label in just two or three colors or processes can have just as dynamic an impact."
The Best in Show and Printing Processes Group winner awards went to Multi Labels, United Kingdom, for “The Irishman Single Malt” label. According to the judges, this label received consistently high marks from both technical and design standpoints. "At first glance this label looks simple to produce but the facts tell another story. The generous use of delicate gold hot foiling especially in the signature and reversed out areas is worthy of note. The fact that 10 colors were used to achieve the finished result along with embossing and varnishing in a single pass is testament to the degree of control required to produce this label to such a high standard. A combination of the best attributes of the flexo and screen processes have produced the result which merits the Best in Show," the judges said.
Collotype Labels was the Group Winner in the Marketing/End-Uses category for Griffith, Australia, for De Bortoli Wines – La Bohème. "This is a very attractive label with an opera theme. The complexity of the flowers surrounding the central figure adds an extra depth to the finished result. The use of a subtle buff color surround encapsulates the main figure very well. The six colors were printed using offset lithography and finished off with a satin varnish," the judges explained.
The Non-Adhesive Group was won by Masterpress S.A., Poland, for Heineken The Future – Limited Edition. "This sleeve has immediate eye appeal with stars in abundance," the judges explained. "The use of silver foiling makes the label stand out on the bottle. Using 9 colors, UV and solvent flexo and gravure makes this a complex label to print."
The Innovation Group winner was won by the Schreiner Group GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, for its Pharma-Tac Plus label. "As usual the entries in this category are fairly complicated, this one is no exception," the judges said. "Basically it combines an information booklet integrated with two peel-off parts for documentation purposes and a strong hanger allowing the bottle to be suspended on a rack. Using 9 colors and a combination of printing processes this label offers a solution to an ongoing medical issue of providing information along with the infusion."
The top ten countries entering and winning awards:
Turkey 39 entries, 12 awards (31%)
UK 28 entries, 11 awards (39%)
Poland 25 entries, 10 awards (40%)
Germany 20 entries, 7 awards (35%)
India 13 entries, 4 awards (30%)
Switzerland 11 entries, 5 awards (45%)
Greece 10 entries, 5 awards (50%)
France 10 entries, 3 awards (30%)
Spain 9 entries, 4 awards (44%)
Austria 9 entries, 1 award (11%)
For images of the winners described above and others, check out this slideshow.