Case Study

Paragon ID

Hull-based Paragon ID – formerly known as BemroseBooth Paragon – is the world’s leading provider of magnetic and thermal paper tickets in all formats to the transport and car parking sectors. Founded in 1826, the company has more recently moved into the development of RFID technology.


Despite its position as the largest supplier of car parking tickets in the UK, profits at the company were falling in the face of intensifying international competition and a declining ticket sector. Paragon ID identified a need to become more innovative in order to survive, and approached the University of Hull for help.


A 2-year KTP was established between Paragon ID and the University of Hull, employing Hull chemistry graduate Haydn Ward as the KTP Associate. The objective of the KTP was to open new business avenues to ultimately replace sectors within the ticket market that were expected to decline.

The Paragon ID and University teams worked together to develop improved in-house ink production processes and novel security features, leading to the creation of a number of innovative new magnetic inks suitable for ticketing purposes.

The team developed the manufacturing plant and protocols for magnetic ink production at two tonnes per week, including protocols relating to safety, health and environmental legislation.

Haydn was able to complete an MSc in Chemical Engineering while working as the KTP Associate.


The impact of the KTP has been significant, contributing to a trebling of Paragon ID’s turnover and profit in the period that followed.

Paragon ID’s tickets and inks are now used on transit networks around the world, including underground and train systems in London, Paris (RATP), New York, Nice, Cairo, Caracas, the US and Canada.

During the KTP, the partnership was shortlisted in the 2016 Knowledge Transfer/Exchange category of the Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards, and was commended highly in the 2016 Educate North Awards within the Commercial Engagement category.

This partnership has also won both the 2018 Yorkshire Business Masters Investment Award and the 2017 Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Turnaround Award. It was also shortlisted in the Innovation and International Trade category and the Advanced Manufacturer and Manufacturer of the Year category for the 2017 Yorkshire Business Masters competition and the 2017 Made in Yorkshire Awards, respectively.

In May 2019, the award-winning partnership also claimed the Business Impact Award at Innovate UK's 2019 Best of the Best Awards.

In 2018, Haydn was recognised as being one of the Top 30 under 30 in the Yorkshire/Humberside region, and was shortlisted by The Manufacturer magazine as Young Manufacturer of the Year 2018.

Future developments

Haydn Ward is now employed as the company’s Technical and Development Manager, and is the company supervisor for a second KTP with the University of Hull, looking at the development of recyclable contactless cards. This presents another export opportunity for Paragon ID, as well as delivering economic and socio-environmental benefits.

“Our partnership with the University of Hull has been a game changer for BemroseBooth Paragon, opening up new markets and contributing to an extraordinary increase in turnover and reputation.” Andrew Jones General Manager, Paragon ID