The narrow web category of any Excellence in Flexography Awards competition is always one which is hotly contested. Approximately one-third of all entries fall into the category; for the 2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards, there were 170 narrow web prints vying for an award. So when the half-dozen judges—who, every year, sit in the northwest corner of the Hyatt Regency Long Island Ballroom D—decide to tighten their collective belts and expect more from a label or wrapper before they give it any award, it ups the competition considerably.

This year, those judges were Jason House of Transcontinental Robbie, Kim Madigan of Smyth Companies LLC, Sean Teufler of Harper Corporation of America, Bill Enright of Mark Andy Inc, Keith Nagle of Nilpeter USA Inc and Ray Mass of Colgate Palmolive.

“It really took the judges some serious deliberation to allow the cream to rise to the top,” recalls Nilpeter USA Inc’s Paul Teachout, one-half of the awards committee assigned to the narrow web category. “This year’s winners were up against some very tough competition. Many of the entries were notable, but the few winners had that little something that set themselves apart from the others.”

And few winners, there were: The 13 silver awards is two less than last year, and the number of prints taking home bronze—nine—is a tie for the lowest amount given out since 2014. Interestingly, the 14 gold awards is the most in the last five years. Put together, it amounts to a roughly 10 percent drop in the total number of awards given out in the narrow web category, when compared to 2017.

Narrow Web Judges

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Narrow Web Judges WEB

Narrow Web Awards, 2014-2018

Bob Loescher of Nilpeter USA Inc, the other awards committee member overseeing the category, believes that’s because the samples continue to improve every year, making what qualifies as award worthy that much rarer. “Converters are taking full advantage of prepress techniques and embellishments to present the most appealing labels,” he says, “but you can see that the field is definitely leveling out, as the samples are all demonstrating a high level of excellence.”

The litany of embellishments seen in the wide web category were far less prevalent on the other end of the size spectrum. Teachout, a four-year judge, points out that while stylistic and enhancement-based trends were evident in the past, the only visible commonality in 2018 was that everyone has raised the bar in both technology and execution.

“We definitely saw an increase in process control, allowing more difficult applications to reach another level of excellence,” he adds. “Every year, we seem to take another step forward in executing the most technically advanced printed pieces.”

Multi-Color Corp’s Francis Ford Coppola The Countess Walewska Authentic Potato Premium Vodka Label was the winner of the Best of Show title in the category. “Overall this is a complex print, and it has very fine detail and registration,” judges observed.

See the Narrow Web Winners

View each award winner, see the printers behind them and read what judges had to say, all in the May issue of FLEXO Magazine.

See the narrow web winners in the 2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards →

See All the Winners in the 2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards

Wide Web

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Wide Web

See the winners →

Mid Web

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Mid Web

See the winners →

Narrow Web

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Narrow Web

See the winners →

Combined Corrugated

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Combined Corrugated

See the winners →

Preprinted Linerboard

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Preprinted Linerboard

See the winners →


2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Envelope

See the winners →


2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Self-Promotion

See the winners →


2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Non-Traditional

See the winners →


2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Student

See the winners →