The Greeting Card Association (GCA) has announced the finalists of the 24th Annual LOUIE Awards. Among the thousands of cards and invitations published each year, 3 cards from each of the 54 categories reached the final round of the 2011 Awards. The competition drew approximately 900 entries from 180 companies worldwide, and all entries were marketed and sold in the United States during the 2011 calendar year.
Many of the companies were first-time LOUIE entrants as well as smaller companies and manufacturers, with almost 30% becoming finalists. Responding to a Call for Entries sent out in late November, competitors entered their most dazzling creative work in a total of 54 categories. Superbly Stated and Humor â€“ Most Humorous were the only categories without the requisite price break, and this yearâ€™s Awards marked the addition of the new Humor category as well as a large number of invitation-specific entries which garnered a number of honorable mentions.
â€śThe number of first time entrants and small companies who have been nominated for a LOUIE shows that the industry is moving in an exciting direction and that greeting cards are relevant and important in todayâ€™s increasingly digital world,â€ť said Katy Greenspan of American Greetings/Cardstore.com and the 24th Annual LOUIE Awards Chair.
LOUIE judging took place January 31 â€“ February 2, 2012 in New York City, in conjunction with the New York International Gift Fair. The judges included prominent retailer buyers such as Paper Source and Barnes and Noble, industry suppliers, independent sales representatives and members of the social stationery blogger and press community. Each entry was reviewed based on criteria which included Originality, Impact, Design Excellence, Sendability and Value.
Winners in every category, as well as the â€śCards of the Yearâ€ť will be announced during this yearâ€™s LOUIE celebration on a new night, Sunday, May 20 at ESpace in New York City. The event will take place from 6:30 to 10:30 pm. To purchase tickets, please visit www.greetingcard.org. In addition, the nominees will be showcased in a special LOUIE Awards display designed by Universal Presentation Concepts, Inc. (UPC) at the Jacob K. Javits Center during the National Stationery ShowÂ®, May 20 â€“ 23 in New York City. The winner of last yearâ€™s LOUIE Awards display competition, UPC created a one-of-a-kind â€ścard storeâ€ť for the nominees; the display will be housed in the upper level of the Javits Center in the upper reception area off of 11th Avenue.
â€śThe LOUIE display is a must-see at the NSS. Located in the Crystal Palace and designed and manufactured by Universal Presentation Concepts, it will both highlight the talent and creativity expressed in each finalistâ€™s card, and provide an excellent vehicle for exhibiting finalists to enjoy exposure outside their booth. The lobby location makes it convenient for buyers to stroll through it early in the day, so theyâ€™ll have plenty of time to see the product in the exhibitorsâ€™ booth during the Show,â€ť said Patti Stracher, General Manager of the National Stationery ShowÂ®. She added that â€śthis year the display area will also serve as the central hub for information about the Greeting Card Association, and will be a great place for GCA members and prospects to network.â€ť
In addition to a variety of industry suppliers who aid in the production of the LOUIE printed materials and the program book, sponsors of this yearâ€™s LOUIEs include The United States Postal Service, JAST Company Limited, Bobst Group North America, FREEMAN, GLM and the National Stationery ShowÂ®, Glory Moon, Hallmark Cards, Inc., and Infinity Foils, Inc. Through their financial support, these companies, along with many others, ensure the success of the LOUIEs.
To learn more about the LOUIE Awards, to see a full list of nominees, and to purchase tickets to the event, please visit www.greetingcard.org.