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Sleeve Label Awards | AWA Confers 4 with Top Honors

AWA Alexander Watson Assoc. bestows awards on four winners of its annual Sleeve Label Competition.

AWA Alexander Watson Assoc., Amersterdam, Netherlands, for the fourth consecutive year, bestows honors of excellence upon winning entries in its annual Sleeve Label Awards competition. Awards were presented at a special ceremony during the recent AWA International Sleeve Label Conference and Exhibition held on April 19–20, 2018, at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Midtown, Atlanta, GA. Yolanda Simonsis, editorial director emeritus of PFFC-Online.com, and Corey Reardon, president and CEO of AWA Alexander Watson Assoc., made the presentations, attended by an audience that AWA sources say, "truly represented the entire sleeve labeling industry supply chain."

This year four submissions earned highest recognition for the following criteria: first impression/shelf appeal; printing and artwork execution; converting and seaming; shrink execution onto the container; and innovative features. The awards ceremony credits one of labeling's newest and fastest-growing technologies for design quality and originality, product, and application for all types of sleeve labels.


Sleeved cans—one of the fastest-growing sectors for sleeve labeling—delivered two winners. Safety Seal Plastics, Guelph, ON, Canada, was recognized for labels decorating One Love beer cans. Judges said: "Graphics that mimic the strokes of an artist’s brush on canvas and the incorporation of technically challenging holographic and tactile effects—coupled with the complex use of matte and gloss finishes—put this sleeved can in a league of its own. … [This is an example of] flawless execution of a very creative and ambitious sleeve."



Earning recognition for making an environmental contribution went to Safety Seal Plastics once again for another beer can sleeve label, this time for "Big Spruce Tag! You’re It!" Judges celebrated this sleeve for its excellent use of perforation and tear tape to facilitate sleeve removal for recycling the can after use. They underlined the fact that this technique could very useful in a wider context for sleeve removal from PET containers. Coupled with consumer advice as promoted by the "pull infographic," this approach would, the judges said, "greatly reduce the recycling concerns associated with shrink sleeves." They further applauded the graphics and overall execution of the sleeve, noting that quality was not compromised to secure its environmental credentials.



In the category for heat TD shrink sleeves, Masterpress, Bialystok, Poland, took the award for limited edition Stock Carbon Prestige vodka bottle sleeve labels. The judges commented on its "simple elegance of this presentation on the shelf, which is not only eye-catching, it also exudes the 'prestige' of this product," adding that it "has a depth of design and technical execution that is among the best we have ever seen."




Judges deemed the entry for Restless Spirits Distilling’s Gully Town whiskey bottles by Phenix Label as a truly original combination of design and imaging. It was so unique they felt the need to institute a new awards category for Innovation.

The winning sleeve, said the judges, was "a storybook label that calls us to know more about Gully Town!," citing as highlights "the monochromatic copper colors punctuated with vivid blue and white accents. Clever use of the river as a window to the contents exudes the historical significance of this product. The feeling of textured/hammered copper that is achieved through a reverse-printed tactile coating is not only creative, it is a first ," felt the judges, "and it solidifies this label as distinctive and innovative."



Wielding the gavel for this year's competition included judging experts Tom Hammer of Siegwerk, Séamus Lafferty from Accraply, and Will Schretzman of Verst Group. Collectively, the judges felt, "It was a hard task to choose winners from the universally high quality of the entries, across all the categories—which in itself is testimony to the industry’s achievements today." While the number of awards were limited this year, they felt these entries truly represent a step forward for the sleeve labeling industry.

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