Jacob McClenaghan, awarded Apprentice of the Year 2022 at the recent NZSDA Awards, says he’s interested in working in the Australian sign industry to increase his skills and knowledge.

Jacob McClenaghan
 (l-r) NZSDA president Andy Lowe; Jacob McClenaghan, Signlink Graphics; Arlette Farland, director, Computaleta

McClenaghan, in the final year of his apprenticeship at Signlink Graphics in Hokitika on the West Coast of the South Island, was awarded over $4,000 in prizes thanks to sponsor, Computaleta. He also picked up a bronze medal in the Work by an Apprentice category for his replica of a 1995 Larry Perkins Holden Supercar wrap (see below).

“Jacob says he likes the variety signwriting gives and particularly enjoys wrapping vehicles, which is evident after receiving an award for a wrapped vehicle in the 2022 Awards of Excellence,” the NZ Sign & Display Association told members via email. “Jacob says his advice for anyone wanting to start an apprenticeship in the sign industry is to ask lots of questions from as many people as possible. Jacob has a future goal to travel and work in Australia, to gain even more industry knowledge." 

Signlink Graphics director Antony Merriman: “We are immensely proud of Jacob in winning this award. Being rurally located, there’s sometimes a sense of isolation, not just in location but in your learning and belief in your ability. This award gives him huge confidence. He has come a long way personally, and we have literally seen him grow up. He has developed his knowledge and skills along the way to become an excellent sign writer and really excels at wrapping vehicles. The industry is one of the few industries left that rewards drive and intrigue to excel and he has proven what is possible when you apply yourself.”

McClenaghan has been exposed all facets of sign writing, the NZSDA said. “Yesterday he was applying frosting, today he’s helping to build a light box, and tomorrow vehicle graphics. He is comfortable with all tasks given. He has lead projects on 400m2 of wallpaper install across 27 various walls within a factory and fleet vehicle graphics over multiple vehicles within a short duration."

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McClenaghan was awarded a bronze in the Work by an Apprentice category for his entry Replica Bathurst Car

Description of Entry: “Client wanted a 1995 Larry Perkins Holden Supercar replica wrap. We were given the drivers name and the year of the car he wanted the graphics to match. We had to use a couple of photos we found off the internet and recreate the design. The green and red on the doors is the only computer cut wrap, the rest is knifeless. All logos were either sourced or recreated by us, with the exception of adding his own business name. Our business name was incorporated into the design of a replica logo. Is blurred in the photos. All colours were researched and vinyl matched. The Aratuna logos and Channel 10 are the only printed graphics.

“Jake completed this job from start to finish, and while it may not be an original design it is good representation of his skills, and he has done an excellent job and the customer is extremely happy with the result.”

The NZSDA also presented a number of new awards at its flagship event held this year in Queenstown.

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The coveted 2022 Supreme Award went to Identity Signs, Christchurch, for its entry, High Rider, Low Rider (pictured above). Other finalists were 2 Degrees Ceiling Sign by Big Ideas Group, and Contagious ll by Sign Formula.

“A new award introduced for 2022 that recognises an exceptional stand out entry from any category that demonstrates an excellent interpretation and delivery of managing a vision, an idea or a brief,” said the NZSDA. “Diamond sponsors Cohesive awarded the most deserving entry, chosen by a passionate judging panel elected by the team at Cohesive and the NZSDA."

Paul Walters from Identity Signs said: “Identity Signs feels extremely proud and honoured to receive the inaugural Supreme Award for our Avon City Ford Low Rider in the digitally wrapped vehicle category. Our client gave us free reign to design what we think would best promote their business once again off the back of the 2021 best vehicle wrap award.

"We needed to bring something different to the wrap game that hadn’t been achieved before in New Zealand. Research and design were the biggest hurdles with countless hours put into ensuring every printed panel would fit perfectly to the contours of the vehicle. Our customer was absolutely blown away when we unveiled the final project. They had no idea what we were going to produce for them. And they will be ecstatic when we announce they once again have won multiple awards for their van at this year’s sign awards. Jordan [Garven] produced this masterpiece which showcases his serious design talent and rewards the company, promoting our vision to produce only the best and strive for greatness in the industry." 

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  (l-r) Natalie Jeans, national sales manager, PSP Ltd; Leanne Freeman, MD Sign FX; Andy Lowe, president NZSDA

 The winner of the 2022 Mana Influencer Award - sponsored by PSP Ltd - was Leanne Freeman, who was nominated by her team at Sign FX Auckland.

"I have been in the sign industry for over 30 plus years and have had my own business for nearly 26 of those years,” Freeman said. “My philosophy has always been to teach & empower. Very early on I realised to have a successful business I needed to surround myself with a team who would take pride and ownership of their careers and be dedicated to their craft. I feel this award vindicates my dedication to what I hope is making positive changes to an individual’s pathway. It also symbolises how it is much more fun working with a team instead of just for yourself.”


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  (l-r): John Wall, MD Roland DG Australia; Jordan Garven of Identity Signs; Andy Lowe NZSDA

The winner of the 2022 Keith Langstone Highflyer Award is Jordan Garven of Identity Signs, Christchurch. The award, sponsored by Roland DG, is presented to ‘a rising star’ in the industry.

Paul Walters, director of Identity Signs, said he nominated Jordan for his 10 years of commitment and skills which have won the company multiple sign awards over the years. 

“It's rare to have someone believe in you, invest in you and give you everything you need to grow,” Garven said. “I was lucky enough to have this opportunity, so grasped it with both hands. Paul Walters has given me that chance and gives me the freedom to be creative without boundaries. And for that I am very thankful.

"When you work hard around the clock, learning all that you can, living and breathing what you are passionate about, it eventually manifests into success. This is now evident to me, being the first ever to receive the Keith Langstone Highflyer Award. Receiving this award validates all the hours and hard work that has got me to where I am. It solidifies my place in the industry and I hope it inspires the next generation to push boundaries, find your passion and stick at it.”

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   (l-r): Chris Knuckey, sales manager Total Supply; Logan Sutton, owner/MD Future Grafix; Andy Lowe NZSDA

 The Innovation Champion award, sponsored by Total Supply, went to Logan Sutton of Future Grafix, New Plymouth for "leading positive change in our industry.

“Logan and his team at Future Grafix represent all that this award stands for,” the NZSDA said. “Since Logan and his teams’ sustainability journey began, investments have been made into providing greener alternatives.

"Latex printers have replaced solvent printers, purchases of more energy efficient machinery have been made and Future Grafix participates in waste recycling programs. Future Grafix is concerned about the amount of signage going to landfill and has swapped out some traditional signage solutions to solutions which have lower environmental impact. Logan is passionate about providing solutions and for clients to make the transition to become greener easy and he challenges suppliers to offer new products. For quoting, if a greener solution can be offered, Future Grafix quote both options, offering sample packs and discounts for the greener alternative. Future Grafix are leading positive change in our industry and will inspire others to do the same.”

Sutton said he was "thrilled, a little surprised and so very proud of our team. We have been on this journey for quite a few years now, and still have a long, long way to go. Our commitment has always been to our clients and helping them meet their sustainability (and other) goals, no matter the obstacles. They have stretched us, encouraged us, and pushed us to reach further and constantly strive to do better. So, really, this award is for them.” 


 The NZSDA also released photos from its 2022 annual conference in Queenstown, where guests included ASGA president Mick Harrold (2nd from left, above) and ASGA South Australia state chair Julie Rochester (right).

View all the images here: https://nzsda.org.nz/conference2022/



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