An Unexpected Place.
Home of the 2014 European best summer destination, Portugal is reviewed by many visitors as a country with an incredible selection of touristic activities. Nevertheless, there is more to this country than just dazzling beaches and unique world renowned wine. Around 760 sea miles from Lisbon and 2110 sea miles from New York lie the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago formed by three groups of volcanic islands. Discovered by Portuguese navigators in 1427, the islands offer a dramatic variety of landscape beaches, lakes, geological structures, trails and also natural hot springs. In fact, two of the seven natural wonders of the country are located here: Pico mountain, the highest point of Portugal, and the blue and green lakes of Sete Cidades.
Driving through some of the narrow side roads of the main island of São Miguel, you will notice this island is mainly made up of grassland, most of which is often occupied by cows. After all, the Azores are quite well known nationally for their production of cheese and milk. Should you ever find yourself driving through Rua da Encarnação, in Fajã de Baixo, Ponta Delgada, you will pass by what at first sight may resemble another ordinary grass field. However a large sign displaying a company logo and open gates hide something more than one could ever expect to discover in such a remote location. Stepping into the inocuos warehouse a few meters past the main gate, the scenario changes dramatically. A spacious hall with its roof rising to the height two floors, where walls are filled with awards, prizes, certificates and interesting decorative prints. Standing prominently in front, welcoming those who come in, there is a simple wooden shelf displaying a Guinness World Record.
Nova Gráfica is a company that was founded in 1982 by four partners eager to pursue a career in Typography. By 1996, just 14 years after its creation, they had become the third printing company in the country to make major investments in machinery and advanced tools, such as digital printing.Even so the will to innovate was far from its end. Major investments in increasing production capacity followed, as well as the renewal of technical resources and acquisition of certified quality management systems, thus resulting in the need to expanding the working facilities by 500m2. By 2005, the company’s renewed system became the first in the Iberian Peninsula to work in such an innovative way. Due to the acquisition of new advanced machinery, Nova Gráfica became the Azorean printing company with the most modern and advanced facilities that year.
But, once again, more innovation was to come. Up to this point, work was done in the main island of S. Miguel. This changed the year after when the company opened a second station in one of the central islands of the archipelago, also equipped with advanced resources. In 2007, after purchasing a publishing company, Nova Gráfica was certified for having an environmental managment system. More recently, as well as being distinguished for its “Eco-Managment and Audit Scheme”, it also became the first Portuguese printing company to implement a rule of “color management and normalization”. Nowadays, the 43 collaborator group holds a collection of over 37 great awards and over 32 honorable mentions in both national and international contests. What is more remarkable, is that most of the workers have gained their printing knowledge from within the company itself. As if these were not enough, a new challenge arose.
A Big Homage.
Manuel Ferreira was an Azorean journalist, a writer, and a proeminent figure in the culture of Azores, born in Ponta Delgada on January 29th, 1916. In 2005, to celebrate the writer’s 89th birthday, Nova Gráfica published one of his works, “O Explorador Micaelense Roberto Ivens” in a special edition. The book was 89 centimeters tall, paying homage to Mr Ferreira’s age. But the year after, deeply commited to celebrate the great quality of the authors work, as well as to contribute to registering the archipelago’s culture and history locally and abroad, the printing company decided to be even more ambitious.
On April 2nd 2006, during the ceremony celebrating the city’s 460th anniversary, while Manuel Farreira was distinguished with City Hall’s gold medal, Nova Gráfica launched “Açor Eterno-Trilogia de uma ave e de um povo“. The book was a collection of the 90 year old author’s three publishings about the symbol of the Azor in the Region. What made it different, was, once more, its dimensions. The book was made 47 centimeters wide, 168 centimeters tall, matching the author’s exact height, and weighed 39 Kg. This 332 page work focuses on the different ways the Azor is represented through photographic records and sketches, followed by constant notes from the author. According to Nova Gráfica, this book will become a reference for those who seek to know the story of the Islands’ main symbol.
The “biggest printed book of Europe”, of which ten copies were made, won Nova Gráfica two Graphic Arts awards, and it was actually submitted to the Guinness World Record for its record size to be made official. Some of its copies were offered to institutions, such as the National Library, and to important portuguese entities, like the town mayor, the president of the Azores and to the president of the Portuguese Republic himself. The book has also been exposed internationally, for instance in Poland, at the Eurographic Press and in a contest in Belgium.
Small, but Huge.
On February 20th, Social Justice is celebrated worldwide. Taking this into account, the printing company decided to commemorate it in an unparalleled way. On this scheduled day, in 2012, TERRA NOSTRA newspaper, printed by Nova Gráfica, published two editions both themed “A Hug to the World”, gathering testimonials from several immigrants residing in Azores. Whilst the first edition came in a normal shape, the same can not be said about the second one. It measured just 18.27 x 25.35 mm (0.72 x 0.99 in) and weighed 1 g (0.04 oz). The newspaper was measured on 16 February and was published on 20 February 2012.
“It is officially the world’s smallest newspaper,” said Anna Orford, a member of the Guinness World Records, remarking that, indeed, it was a “perfect replica” of the normal sized newspaper. 3000 copies of the special 32 page edition of Terra Nostra, which costs 2.5 euro, went on sale and can be read using a small magnifying glass to increase the text from six to eight times. And as well as causing an international discussion around social justice, this initiative has brought contributions to other social causes. The revenues from the newspaper sales will be used to help the Azorean Organization of Disabled People, which will support the publishing of a book written by a sightless young writer.
For the second year in a row, Nova Gráfica has been elected nationally to be an honorary mention on the prestigious award “Equality is Quality”, which recognized the company’s good practices in the struggle to fighting discrimination and to promoting equality among men and women at work, on their job, as well as the conciliation of professional , familiar and personal life.
Social responsibility is also one of the main concerns of the company, which is focused on doing business whilst taking society and the environment into account. To promote this kind of ethical behavior, Nova Gráfica has produced the book “Sinagoga Sahar Hassamain de Ponta Delgada – História, Recuperação e Conservação“. This book is being advertised and sold for 10€ to raise money that significantly supports the reconstruction of one of the most important temples of Ponta Delgada. Moreover, Nova Gráfica is an active me member of REDE RSOpt, a Portuguese company network focused on social awareness, responsibility and entrepreneurship.
Considering all of the company’s major achievements and looking back at how they began, it becomes clear that ambition and perseverance are key factors in achieving success. If not for the motivation and hard work of all collaborators, little could have been achieved. Nova Gráfica stands out as a true example of a group of individuals who turned their passion into work, thus leading them to success. In times where youth is becoming more focused in finding a well paid job rather than following their dreams, it is very important not to overlook these examples of accomplishment, which, in many ways, are true forms of inspiration for a better future.
Please be sure to visit the official Guinness World Records website to get a closer look at the newspaper!