ArmstrongQ takes top honours at American Print Awards

ArmstrongQ has received nine Benny awards at the 2013 Printing Industries of America (PIA) Awards in Chicago, including best of show for the second year running.

PIA Awards_okArmstrong took out a variety of categories including art prints, calendars, the booklet or brochure series, service catalogues, book jackets, digital printing, other special finishing techniques and print/graphic arts self-promotion.

Owner Bob Armstrong tells Australian Printer, “The Bennys to the print industry is equivalent to the Oscars of the film industry. It is rare for an Australian company to win a Benny, and we have won 14 in two years. We have won the world’s best calendar two years in a row, and our calendar won the best of show this year. Those sell for $30,000 each.”

Armstrong says the success of his Body of Work series is the result of a six-year campaign to achieve excellence in print. He says, “Print has now become a commodity and margins are down. So we decided to go to the top end where the higher margins are.

“A few years ago, a few of us from the printing industry set out to produce the best printed material in the world, which was pretty ambitious. We thought the best way of testing this is submitting our work to reputable awards, getting feedback, taking it on board and gradually enhancing the product.

“Body of Work has now won 115 national and international awards. Last year the American print awards said it was the best print in the world, and we have done it again the second year. We have received acknowledgement from the highest people in the world that we have met our target.”

The Body of Work art prints, which range from $25,000 to $1m in price, feature a tactile finish. Similarly, alternate pages of Armstrong’s best in show calendar are printed on silk, which can be used as scarves.

Armstrong says he worked closely with Roland DG Australia to produce much of his award-winning work, including the calendar, art prints, and self-promotion book cover, which were printed on a Roland VersaUV LEJ-640 UV-LED large-format, hybrid flatbed printer.

The two are also working on a series of wall hangings aimed at casinos, priced at $35,000 to $1m. Armstrong adds, “Next year in America we are going into the rental market, and eventually we will come to Australia. For $150 a week you can hang one of these on your wall, and it changes every month. That is where the main game is, because that is petty cash money to most companies.

“We have done psychological analysis on all the photos to show the mood each one creates. It has a motivational interest on anyone who is in the room – it changes attitudes. So there is a big case for anyone who wants to make a statement in a room, an open space, hotels, commercial buildings, private homes and things like that.”

Armstrong adds that he no longer intends to compete in the Australian printing industry awards, as he prefers the American judges’ focus on wow factor rather than technical issues.


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