I was all set to write a post on how LOUIE entries were due December 16 — that’s next TUESDAY already — but that deadline has been extended to January 6, which means that if you are of a procrastinating nature, Santa just gave you few more weeks to do so.

I really do encourage designers big and small to enter. This year’s marks the 26th edition of the prestigious awards, which recognize the most outstanding greeting cards, invitations, and announcements marketed in the U.S. during the previous calendar year.

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The 26th LOUIE Awards will feature a total of 29 categories – including awards for everyday and seasonal occasions, card sets, invitations and personalized designs, as well as special categories such as Print & Production Excellence, Rising Star, Superbly Stated, Most Humorous and Letterpress. Most are divided into two price breaks: Above $3.50, and $3.50 & Below.

New this year are two wedding invitation categories, one for smaller and one for larger-sized suites; these categories are separated by printing method rather than by price break. Go here for complete competition details and to enter online.

Judging from the call for entries, this year’s gala is going to be yummy! The theme, “Eye Candy: The Best Cards of the Year,” was designed by LOUIE Awards Chair Cambria Evans, creative director/founder of J.Bartyn Design, and overseen by LOUIE Strategic Chair Katy Greenspan, director of the artist community at Minted. “This year’s playful candy theme emphasizes how sweet it is to send greeting cards, invitations, or announcements,” says Evans, former art director+designer for Martha Stewart.

The delicious theme will be reflected on everything from the LOUIE Call for Entries to the décor of the LOUIE evening gala in May. I am loving this Call for Entries. LOUIE printed materials are always exquisite since some of the brightest minds in the industry design them, and then premier suppliers donate their supplies & services. In this case, credits were listed as “nutrition facts” — Universal Engraving provided the engraved dies; Infinity Foils, the foil; Neenah Paper, the paper; and The Social Type, the lovely logo.

Submissions will be blind-judged by a panel of industry experts on originality, impact, design excellence, sendability, and value, over a two-day period in early February, during the NY NOW gift show in New York City. Judging is quite an unforgettable experience — I have been lucky enough to do it twice now and am really hoping that I can fit a two-day jaunt to New York into my schedule this year.

Finalists will be announced in March, and awards will be presented at the 26th Annual LOUIE Awards celebration on Sunday, May 18, 2014, during the signature mix marketplace in New York City.

use me!

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