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Brilliant and Inspiring

Brilliant and Inspiring

The British Sign Awards 2019, which culminated in a glittering luncheon and awards presentation ceremony on 14th November, also provided the perfect occasion for the UK sign industry to gather and enjoy some festive frivolity at Leicester’s Christmas themed Athena Conference and Banqueting Centre.

Held annually and designed to recognise and reward the UK’s best signing projects, the seventh British Sign Awardsm which is organised under the auspices of ISA-UK (formerly the BSGA), turned out to be the most successful edition of the event to date, attracting the largest ever audience.

David Catanach, the Director of ISA-UK, commented:  “We had more entries than ever before, plus a full complement of sponsors, covering every award category and, with an attendance of nearly 400, it was a full house.

“It’s fair to say that the whole event had a real party atmosphere.  The Athena was decked out as a winter wonderland, the actual awards presentation was created to deliver an Oscar-like vibe, and it was all driven by the host Shaun Williamson (the ill-fated Barrie Evans from Eastenders) who shocked and delighted the gathering by starting things off by belting out his version of the song ‘Sweet Caroline’.

“Even the trophies were extra special. Designed and produced by Trade Etching Direct, which also sponsors the Craftsman Award, the unique trophies combined etched stainless steel and brass with acrylics in red, white and blue and also featured internal illumination.

“Most importantly we had a host of inspiring winners and shortlisted entries, all demonstrating the outstanding skills and creativity that continue to make the UK sign industry world class.”

Judging the awards is scrupulously fair, with the identities of entrants carefully hidden from the judging panel until their decision is finalised.  Each judge awards marks from 1 to 10 for each entry and the outcome isn’t known until the scores are finally added up.

Ray Hirst, Organiser of the Awards, reported: “If it’s of any consolation to the runners-up, in most categories the scoring was incredibly close, with as little as 0.5 of a point deciding the winner in one case.

“In the end the system delivered some fabulous winners representing the full spectrum of the industry, ranging from small sign businesses to the largest companies.”

The top prize – the trophy for Sign of the Year – was another incredibly close call, with four entries – ‘IM External Signage’ by isGroup, ‘One Bartholomew’ by Signbox, ‘Dorset House’ by Goodwin and Goodwin and ‘McDonalds’ by Butterfield Signs – shortlisted by the judges.

The decision went to Goodwin and Goodwin for its work at Dorset House, an art-deco building in London and the trophy was presented by Mike Smith, Operations Director at SignFab on behalf of joint corporate sponsors SignFab, Make it Happen and FirstliteLED.  The winning project included the primary building sign, plus a curved and stepped canopy in polished stainless steel and stainless steel and glass door surrounds, all intricately produced in the art-deco style.

Another special award was for Young Signmaker of the Year, sponsored by Antalis, because it carried a special prize for the winner – the chance to visit Orlando in Florida next year to take in Sign Expo, the world’s biggest sign exhibition.  The prize was courtesy of ISA (International Sign Association), represented at the awards event by the association’s President, Lori Anderson, who flew in from the USA especially for the occasion. In addition to the flights and accommodation provided by ISA, the winner will also receive £250.00 spending money from ISA-UK.

In yet another close-run competition, the top prize went to Daniel Garrett of Graffiti Design International.  Dan joined Graffiti in 2013 and over the past six years has worked his way up to become Joint Works Manager at the East Sussex-based business.

The full list of results is as follows:

Small Sign Business of the Year (sponsored by GE Current)

Winner:  Butler Signs

Highly Commended:  Apogee Design and Print.  Eyecatching Signs

Retail Sign of the Year (sponsored by shopVOX)

Winner: Butterfield Signs for ‘McDonalds’

Highly Commended:  Butterfield Signs for BWorks. Lavastar Signs for Tenerife Pearl

Illuminated Sign of the Year (sponsored by SloanLED)

Winner:  Signbox for ‘One Bartholomew’

Highly Commended: Impact Sign for ‘1, Portland Street’. Sovereign Signs for ‘Leeds Playhouse’.

Vehicle Graphics Award (sponsored by Pyramid Display Materials)

Winner:  Print Sauce for ‘Sam’s Van’

Highly Commended: Castleton Signs for ‘The Loft’. Grafix Signs for ‘Showcase Vehicle’.

Architectural Sign of the Year (sponsored by Righton Blackburns)

Winner:  Goodwin and Goodwin for ‘Dorset House’

Highly Commmended: isGroup for ‘Hatton Garden Gateway Sign’. Signbox for ‘One Bartholomew’.

Cratfsman Award (sponsored by Trade Etching Direct)

Winner: Morgan Signs and Design for ‘Restaurant Narrowboat’.

Highly Commended:  isGroup for ‘Hatton Garden’. isGroup for ‘IM Group’.

Leisure Sector Award (sponsored by RMC Digital)

Winner: Castleton Signs for ‘Hop Vietnamese’.

Highly Commended:  Goodwin and Goodwin for ‘Genesis’.  Signs Express (Warrington) for ‘Liverpool John Lennon Airport’

Innovation Award (sponsored by Nationwide Platforms)

Winner:  Signs Express (Central Lancs) for ‘White Bull Mews’.

Highly Commended:  Signbox for ‘HSS Hybrid System’. Signs Express (Leeds) for ‘Yorkshire Rose’.

Décor Award (sponsored by Drytac Adhesives)

Winner:  Sign of the Times for ‘Telford Mann’

Highly Commended:  ‘Castleton Signs for ‘HOP Vietnamese’.  HNS Signs for ‘FESPA’.

Wayfinding Scheme of the Year (sponsored by The Sign Show and supported by The Sign Design Society)

Winner:  f.r.a. for ‘Metquarter, Liverpool’.

Highly Commended: Populous for ‘Tottenham Hotspur Stadium’. Impact Signs for ‘1, Portland Street’.

Roll-out Award (sponsored by VISM)

Winner:  Beyond Signage for ‘Applegreen’

 Highly Commended: Butterfield Signs for ’McDonalds’. DMA Signs for ‘Homes England’.

Construction Award (sponsored by Eurobond Adhesives)

Winner: isGroup for ‘IM Group External Signage’

Highly Commended:  Castleton Signs for ‘Devon House’. Goodwin and Goodwin for ‘Dorset House’.

Wide Format Project of the Year (sponsored by Epson)

Winner:  Lavastar Signs for ‘Tenerife Pearl’

Highly Commended:  Castleton Signs for ‘Fox’. Wrap Graphics for ‘The Tide’.

Product of the Year (sponsored by Sign Directions Online)

Winner:  Silver Bullet Large Format Pro Primer (developed in association with Digital Tyger)

Highly Commended: HSS Hybrid Sign System (developed by Signbox).  Legno Internal Wayfinding System (developed by DMA Signs).

All the winning and shortlisted entries, together with images from the event, can be viewed now on the awards website at

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