BSGA Awards showcase the best of British signmaking

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Kettering-based Sign of the Times scored a notable triumph at this week’s British Sign Awards, taking the coveted Sign of the Year title and trophy for the second year running with an outstanding installation called ‘Timeless’ – a working timepiece which hangs suspended in the six-storey atrium at Senator House in London.

The awards competition, which reached its culmination at a gala ceremony held at the East Midlands Conference Centre at University Park in Nottingham, was attended by over 300 people and brought the industry together in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

Sign of the Times winning entry comprises a whole series of giant suspended letters that spell out the actual time in different parts of the world – with colours denoting the different time zones.

David Catanach, Director of the BSGA (British Sign and Graphics Association), which organises the awards, commented: “Last year, Sign of the Times won the top accolade for its stunning reception area display for Heinz, but this year, the judges felt that its submission actually surpassed even that!”

He continued: “Timeless combined unbelievable creativity with mechanical and precision engineering, signmaking skills of the highest order, plus complex computer programming and electrical and lighting expertise. It is a real tour-de-force that perfectly illustrates just how skilful British signmakers can be.”

Other big winners this year were Trade Signs, which took both the Wayfinding and Sign Construction Awards for its massive project at Exchange Quay in Manchester’s Media City, and London-based Goodwin and Goodwin, which, despite fierce competition from the big boys of the industry, scooped the Architectural Award for its beautifully crafted art-deco style floating canopy and sign over the entrance to the Picturehouse Cinema in Piccadilly Circus. In addition, Goodwin and Goodwin also received the Craftsman Award for their ‘signs with soul’.

One winner who couldn’t make it to the presentation was Nick Dowall, who started the Cambridge Sign Company in March 2014. At the very last minute, Nick had to drop out because a courier company had let him down and 20 parcels destined for retailers countrywide had gone AWOL, thus requiring poor Nick to replace the missing products in double-quick time!

Had he made it to Nottingham, he would have picked up two trophies – the Commercial Vehicle Graphics Award for a creative ‘colour me in’ wrap on a series of vehicles, and the award for Small Signmaker of the Year in respect of his outstanding first year in business, which saw him complete the graphics for 270 individual vehicles, provide graphic support for two fleets numbering over 500 vehicles and brand a franchise chain of 36 shops, as well as producing work for a number of blue-chip clients.

“We’ll make sure Nick gets his trophies – he thoroughly deserves them both!” said David Catanach.

He then went on to say: “We feel that the success of the event this year has firmly established the awards as part of the sign industry’s annual calendar.

“It was all made possible by the involvement and support of the sponsors. 3M, in particular, as the principal sponsor of the whole awards scheme, has played a major role in helping the BSGA get the awards scheme off the ground, but we are also very grateful to the sponsors of the individual awards, including William Smith, sponsor of both Vehicle Graphics categories, Spandex (Interiors), Blackburns Metals and Plastics (Architectural), Atlantic Tech (Wayfinding), Soyang (Wide Format), Vink (Illuminated), Epson (Innovation), Amari (Small Signmaker), Roland DG (Apprentice), Nationwide Platforms (Roll-out), Signs Express (Product of the Year) and Sign Directions (Retail).

“A special mention also has to go to Trade Etching Direct which, as well as sponsoring the Craftsman Award, designed and manufactured all of the trophies presented to the winners.”

As a part of the pre-lunch drinks reception, the BSGA organises a ‘sponsors showcase’ that provides the companies that support the awards with an opportunity to present some of their products and services to the visitors.

David added: “East Midlands Conference Centre allowed us the space to integrate the showcase with the awards reception and the feedback from both the sponsors and visitors was excellent, so much so, that we intend to further expand this feature in future. We also intend to return to East Midlands Conference Centre in 2016, most likely on Thursday, 3rd November, when we are looking forward to detonating even more signmaking fireworks!”

The full list of awards and winners is as follows:

The Vink Illuminated Sign of the Year

  • Winner: SIGNBOX for UBM Headquarters, London
  • Highly Commended: JOHN ANTHONY SIGNS, Rio Tinto, London
  • Highly Commended: SIGN OF THE TIMES, Timeless

The Roland Apprentice of the Year

  • Winner: NATHAN ASTON, Ast Signs
  • Highly Commended: SAM LUMB, Applelec
  • Highly Commended: ABIGAIL MORMONE & ROSALIA SCOZZARI, CGI Creative Graphics

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The William Smith Commercial Graphics Award

  • Winner: THE CAMBRIDGE SIGN COMPANY, ‘Colour me in’
  • Highly Commended: XTREME SIGNS, Grunge Wrap of a VW Truck
  • Highly Commended: KINGDOM SIGNS, Nissan Jukes Fleet

The Sign Directions Retail Sign of the Year

  • Winner: JOHN ANTHONY SIGNS, Harrods Fine Watch Room
  • Highly Commended: IDENTITY SIGNAGE, Coffee Republic
  • Highly Commended: MERSON SIGNS, British Land Retail Parks

The Blackburns Metals & Plastics Architectural Sign of the Year

  • Winner: GOODWIN & GOODWIN, Picturehouse Cinema, Piccadilly
  • Highly Commended: SIGN OF THE TIMES, Timeless
  • Highly Commended: TRADE SIGNS UK, Exchange Quay, Salford

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The Epson Innovation Award

  • Winner: EXAPRINT, ‘Living Logo’
  • Highly Commended: JOYCE DESIGN, shop front ‘vehicle wrap’
  • Highly Commended: IINDESIGN, embedded NFC

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The Spandex DI-NOC Interiors Award

  • Winner: SIGNS EXPRESS, SHEFFIELD, Sheffield Children’s Hospital
  • Highly Commended: SIGNBOX, Paternoster House, London
  • Highly Commended: SIGN 2000, Tapi Carpets

The Atlantic Tech Wayfinding Scheme of the Year

  • Winner: TRADE SIGNS, Exchange Quay, Salford
  • Highly Commended: MERSON SIGNS, British Land Retail Parks
  • Highly Commended: IDENTITY SIGNAGE, Kent and Medway NHS

The Trade Etching Direct Craftsman Award

  • Highly Commended: REDBOX SIGNMAKERS
  • Highly Commended: HNS SIGNS

The William Smith Personal Vehicle Graphics Award

  • Winner: SIGNS EXPRESS, NORTHAMTON, Nissan Le Mans
  • Highly Commended: JOYCE DESIGN, PowerMax cars
  • Highly Commended: THE VEHICLE WRAPPING CENTRE, Suzuki GSX & Nissan GTR
  • Highly Commended: COASTLINE GRAPHICS, A Very British Aston Martin

The Sign Construction Award

  • Winner: TRADE SIGNS UK, Exchange Quay, Salford
  • Highly Commended: CASTLETON SIGNS, The Shard
  • Highly Commended: ASTLEY SIGNS, Rugby World Cup Sign

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The Soyang Wide Format Project of the Year

  • Winner: HOLLYWOOD MONSTER, Westfield Shopping Centres
  • Highly Commended: DIGITAL TIGER, Hogarth’s Gin Palace
  • Highly Commended: EYECATCHING SIGNS, Nursery school facade

The Nationwide Platforms Roll-Out Programme of the Year

  • Winner: ASTRA SIGNS, Arnold Clark
  • Highly Commended: MERSON SIGNS, Halifax
  • Highly Commended: IDENTITY SIGNAGE, Jablite/Styropak

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The Leisure Industry Signage of the Year

  • Winner: PULLINGER SIGNS, London Eye Rugby World Cup Wrap
  • Highly Commended: IMAGE TECHNIQUE, Cineworld Xscape Centre
  • Highly Commended: GOODWIN & GOODWIN, Picturehouse Cinemas

The Amari Small Signmaker of the Year

  • Highly Commended: N1 VISUAL SOLUTIONS
  • Highly Commended: HNS SIGNS

Sponsored by Signs Express

  • Winner: NovaSkin by Nova Aluminium
  • Highly Commended: NeonPlus by The Sign Group
  • Highly Commended: Perspex Naturals by Perspex
  • Highly Commended: Easymount Air by Vivid Laminating
  • Highly Commended: ArtCast by Photocast

Full details of all award winners can be found on the awards website at 

Pictures from the event and of all winners can be downloaded at :
The Winning Projects - 
The Event - 
The Awards Presentations -