Good morning all, I’m so excited to share this (rather long) post with you! When I was approached about a month ago to have The Paper Chronicles sponsor the Best New Product awards at *Noted, I initially thought “no way, no how” as my expertise in this arena has been limited solely to judging. But I thankfully reconsidered, and I am beyond grateful to sponsor it as well as officially announce it here today.

Since its inception, *Noted has been able to position itself apart from other trade shows because it is produced by The Greeting Card Association rather than a corporate entity. Thus the aim of *Noted is to promote not just the greeting card medium, but the makers themselves — so this Best New Product competition, called Noted@ *Noted, takes on a slightly different approach.

First off — and to me this is HUGE — you don’t have to be exhibiting to enter. That means you can be represented at the one trade show solely dedicated to greeting cards without having a booth! If you’re in this camp, you can enter up to four entries for $30/pop. Meanwhile, all *Noted exhibitors get a free entry, and can submit four additional paid entries for $25/each for a total of five.

What makes greeting cards special is their ability to capture and spread any mood, so in reexamining last year’s categories, we tried to focus on those elements that comprise that magic. We ended upping the number of categories from four to 10. I’m showing last year’s winners beneath their respective categories for a bit of perspective. I hope all makers reading this immediately start thinking of which of their offerings speak most to these categories (drumroll please):

Best Color Combo Card. Nothing sets a mood like color, and we’re seeking the most alluring examples. Don’t forget to include color or kraft envelopes!

Best New Product Line. Show us your new collections for 2020! We are seeking standout illustration and copy, as well as a distinctive cohesion across the range.

Inklings Paperie
2019 Winner, Best New Product Line
2019 Holiday Collection

Best Noted Mailer. A lot of careful effort goes into these, so we want to see — and share — what you’re sending out!

Best Tear Jerker Card. This special category is reserved for those cards that splendidly capture and share heartfelt emotions during challenging or celebratory moments in life.

Best Use of Profanity Card. Some may call these blasphemous, but we’re seeking the true visionaries of this vulgar vein.

Most Beautiful Card. Send us your best and brightest dazzlers!

Most Encouraging Card. Whether it conveys a sender’s empathy or congratulations, submit your uplifting design here!

Printing Innovation. This category highlights individual cards or ranges that utilize newer, cutting-edge or unexpected printing processes or formats.

Up With Paper
2019 Winner, Printing Innovation
Sardines Card

Smart Marketing. Describe (with images if possible) wholesale initiatives undertaken since May 2019 to capture the interest of retailers and increase sales for everyone. Whether it was a special offer or a social media campaign, we want to hear all about it!

Ramona & Ruth
2019 Winner, Smart Marketing
Kindness Grows Mailer

Snarkiest Card. Let’s go beyond “ok boomer” to get your most sarcastic offerings (for real!).

To keep everything fresh, this year’s entries must have been introduced after January 1, 2020. Finally, this colorful gem below took top honors in Creative Copy, which as a category we felt was overshadowed by the new individual card categories.

CharmCat Creative
Winner, Creative Copy
Gender Non-Specific Card

We’ve assembled a really impressive group of judges whom I know most makers would love to get their work in front of:

Dan Collier, Daniel Richards Showroom (Atlanta & Dallas), as well as the retail venues Archer Paper Goods (two Atlanta stores, one in Athens, Georgia, one in Dallas and a new one in Charlotte, North Carolina) as well as The Merchant Atlanta (two locations around Atlanta and one in Dallas).

Barbara Mooney, Daisy’s Mercantile, Alameda, California.

Chelsea Shukov, Sugar Paper, which produces its own luxe wholesale range and also has California stores in Brentwood, Newport Beach and Marin.

Audrey Woollen, Urbanic Paper Boutique, Venice, California.

Tory Wright, Paper E. Clips, a major Canadian wholesale distributor of cards and giftware.

Fresh off LOUIE judging, I will also be judging.

So, on March 16, be ready to upload your submissions through a portal (very similar to that for the LOUIEs). Submissions will be accepted through April 3. At that point, the judges will score the entries.

On April 15, top three finalists will be notified. Each will submit their finalized cards on an 8.5-by-11-inch board to be shipped or hand-delivered to *Noted in San Francisco by noon on April 30.

Finalists will also be asked to send in six individual cards of each finalist design. We’re going to need them that evening, when the judges gather to determine first, second and third place in each. The next day, May 1, the Show’s opening day, winners will be announced at 11 am!

I absolutely can’t wait to see what comes in. Obviously there’s a lot of moving parts here, so give me a shout at sarah@thepaperchronicles.com with any questions. And best of luck to everyone!

Art by Sooshichacha  @sooshichacha⁠⠀
Adapted from a best selling design from @calypsocards ⁠⠀
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