The judging panel for The Sign Awards’ inaugural event has been revealed, after a tight-lipped process saw their names kept under wraps as they worked through more than 100 submissions and selected the 2023 winners
The panel, made up of 3 experienced signmakers with decades of experience between them, recently completed their deliberations to choose the winners of the 12 prizes up for grabs at the inaugural gala dinner on March 22nd in Birmingham.
They are Michelle Henry (New Zealand), Cameron Garrett (Australia) and Paul Walters (New Zealand).
Michelle is a fourth-generation signwriter. She started making signs at the age of 4 as gifts for her friends’ bedroom doors, and years later founded her own sign company (HNS Signs) in 2010, which won numerous domestic and international awards.
She sold her business in 2021 to start a new life in New Zealand but has stayed in the industry she loves and now works for Signwise.
Michelle commented, “Being asked to judge is such an exciting opportunity. It’s great to see so many talented companies and individuals out there. It was a real eye-opener being on the other side of the fence. Normally, it is me entering these awards, so I now have a new appreciation for judges. It is not an easy job. Way harder than I ever imagined!”
Paul joined the sign writing industry right back at the beginning when hand-painted brush skills were taught. While he has gone on to be very proficient in all the new technology that has come out, he still has a big passion for keeping those fundamental industry skills alive.
Cameron has been in the sign industry for over 20 years and is now a Teacher of Certificate III in Signs and Graphics at TAFE Queensland, Australia.
Cameron commented, “It’s a huge honour to be asked to be a judge at an event that showcases the most talented and passionate signmakers who have spent many years building their skills and businesses and brings recognition to those that truly deserve it. Judging these very worthy entries has been a highlight in my career.”
Describing the judging process, Michelle concluded, “We were blown away by the calibre of entries for these awards. They were so impressive that it made our job very difficult. We spent days reading through the entries, making notes on each and comparing and contrasting. The finalists were so good that we went back and forth on our decisions many times. It was that close!”
The winners of 12 prizes, chosen by the judges, will be revealed at the sold-out inaugural gala dinner on March 22nd at Birmingham Town Hall.
The event is being supported by a number of big-name sponsors from across the industry, with backing from Amari Plastic Manchester, HP, ISA-UK, Metamark, SloanLED, SMITH Sign & Display, Spandex UK, Tradeprint, Vink Lighting Solutions, Zund UK and 3M.
Nicola Robinson, General Manager at Amari Plastics Manchester, said that “Amari Manchester is celebrating 45 years in business this year, so as General Manager, I’ve been looking at ways to celebrate with our customers and suppliers. I felt that sponsoring The Sign Awards is a great way of saying thank you to the signage market by being a part of recognising and celebrating the best of the industry.”
Vicky Hudson, Business Change Manager at William Smith Group, added, “The Sign Awards has emerged as the leading event dedicated to celebrating the contributions made by sign and graphic companies. Sharing their passion for the industry, we believe it is important to provide recognition to people for all their hard work. To be able to come together as a collective in order to share experiences and celebrate is something we’re extremely excited about.”
For more information and a full list of the finalists, visit thesignawards.com