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Nearly 300 sign industry professionals gathered at the Athena Centre in Leicester on Thursday (Nov. 8th) for the annual British Sign Awards where they were able to toast some of the best work completed by British sign businesses over the past year.

A total of 15 awards were presented, covering every aspect of signmaking, from traditional crafts, through vehicle wraps and interior décor, to large scale, highly engineered signs.  The final award, the Sign of the Year, went to Blaze Signs for its work at the Grafton Centre in Cambridge.  The project consisted of 30 giant ‘lifestyle’ lightboxes, each featuring an individually designed, laser-cut, fret-work panel with a specialist Analok anodised finish.

It was a great day for Blaze Signs.  In addition to the Sign of the Year and Architectural Sign of the Year, they won, courtesy of ISA, an all expenses-paid trip to the International Sign Expo in Las Vegas next April.  Pictured are (l to r) Steve Spackman, Sales Director at Blaze, host Steve Davis, and Kieran Mulkerrins, General Manager at the Blaze factory in Birmingham.

What impressed the judges about the project was that it required ‘a huge volume of highly skilled work and combined real craftsmanship with modern technology.’

The guest speaker at this year’s event was ‘The Legend’ Steve Davis, six times World Snooker Champion, who was a huge success with the audience and, with the assistance of BSGA Director David Catanach, kept the presentations of the awards flowing smoothly.

The event also provided an opportunity to introduce the new affiliation between the BSGA and ISA – the International Sign Association – to form ISA-UK.  Three members of the ISA Management team  – Lori Anderson, President and CEO, Brandon Hemsley, Chief Operating Officer and Kelly Miller, Director of Meeting and Events, together with Bob Mattatall from the Sign Association of Canada – travelled from Washington DC specifically to support the event. Lori was also able to explain some of the advantages the new affiliation, which officially launches on January 1st next year, will provide to members.

The ISA contingent also had a surprise for everyone, including the BSGA, at the end of the show.  During the unveiling of the Sign of the Year award winner, Lori Anderson interrupted proceedings to announce that ISA would fund a trip for the winner to visit the ISA International Sign Expo that will take place in Las Vegas next April.

“It came right out of the blue,” said David Catanach, Director of the BSGA, “and provided a great finale to what had been a fantastic day.”

He also singled out Mission Motorsport for a special mention.  “Mission Motorsport is a charity that supports ex-servicemen suffering from physical and mental injuries as a result of their service, and we were delighted that, just three days before the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, they brought the fantastic Poppy Car, an award winner in its own right, to the event.”

He also paid tribute to all the sponsors.  “The awards are a special event that, in addition to recognising the outstanding work of British signmakers, brings the whole industry together in a unique and convivial atmosphere.  Without the sponsors none of it would be possible and we would like to thank them all for their support.”

The winning entries, together with images from the Awards event, can be viewed on the awards website at

The winners of the 2018 awards included:

Sign of the Year

Blaze Signs for the Grafton Centre, Cambridge.

Young Signmaker of the Year

Marc Kisko, Reade Signs

Highly Commended

Yasmine Beverley (Blaze Signs), Bruno Castro (Steel City Signs), Ian Dixon (Astley Signs)

The Construction Award

Interplan Sign Systems, for The Gate, Newcastle

Highly Commended

Astley Signs, John Anthony Signs

The Craftsman Award

Sign of the Times (Piccadilly Lamps, Manchester)

Highly Commended

3D Signs, DMA Signs

The Décor Award

Castleton Signs (BOKAN, London)

Highly Commended

Sign of the Times, Apogee Creative

Illuminated Sign of the Year

Astley Signs (Great North Run Sign, Tyne Bridge)

Highly Commended

Interplan Sign Systems, isGroup

The Innovation Award

Sign of the Times (Piccadilly Lamps, Manchester)

Highly Commended

Castleton Signs, Hollywood Monster

Leisure Sector Sign of the Year

Sovereign Signs (Leicester FC Foxes Fanstore)

Highly Commended

Castleton Signs

Roll-out Programme of the Year

Astley Signs (BP sites)

Highly Commended

Signs Express (Falkirk), W&Co

Architectural Sign of the Year

Blaze Signs (Grafton Centre, Cambridge)

High Commended

DMA Signs, Signs Express (Exeter)

Small Sign Business of the Year

Apogee Creative

Highly Commended

SIGNCO, Eyecatching Signs

Retail Sign of the Year

Grafitti Design (Lush Cosmetics)

Highly Commended

Sovereign Signs, Blaze Signs

Vehicle Graphics Awards

Coastline Graphics – Wrap of the Year

RGVA – Commercial Vehicle Graphics Award

Mission Motorsport – Special Achievement Award

Matt Vinyl Graphics – Special Achievement Award

Wide Format Project of the Year

Signbox (Accenture)

Highly Commended

Hollywood Monster, Signs Express (Stoke)

Wayfinding Award

Placemarque (Ireland’s Ancient East)

Highly Commended

CCD Design, Maynard Design

Sign Product of the Year

DMA Signs (Chiron Wayfinding)

Highly Commended

Make It Happen Training, Avery Dennison

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