LOUIE Award judging ended last Thursday — but scoring greeting cards & invitations for two days straight ensures (for me at least) that images of them will be dancing in my head for quite a while.

Just in case you’ve ever wondered how exactly the 900+ entries are judged, the below form will give you a glimpse (although most of the judging was actually done on iPads, tablets and laptops). Judging took place in Javits Center during NY NOW.

IMG_6762During the judging process, all company names were covered, and though I have my suspicions of who made what, in the interests of accuracy, I’m venturing no guesses as I share a dozen of the many, many stand-outs. Please forgive the rather rough pictures!

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It is always a big treat to hobnob with my fellow judges, who included luminaries from HallmarkAmerican Greetings and Minted as well as editors from a top gift trade magazine and blog. Several savvy retailers — including Rock Paper Scissors’ Lisa Mattison Roberts, Pink Olive’s Grace Kang, Lion in the Sun’s Melinda Morris and Paper On the Avenue’s Gentry O’Neill — were in the group, as well as Daniel Richards’ Dan Collier (not pictured). Also represented were Haute Papier, Great Arrow Graphics and J.S. McCarthy Printers. In the back row, third from the right, is the super-glam LOUIE chair Cambria Evans of J. Bartyn. The lone male in the picture is Robert Sabuda, children’s book author, illustrator and pop-up book maker, and fourth from the right in the back row is Monica Lee of the brilliantly named Smart Creative Women.

Hopefully none of this amazingly talented group will hate me too much for including this photo. Meanwhile, I am so excited for the finalists to be announced next month. I hope a few of my picks make it in!

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I did manage to walk NY NOW’s famed Accent on Design section. While these were by no means the only amazing products, I snapped a few shots, first of Jonathan Adler, one of my minor — okay, major — design obsessions:

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To misquote Eloise, I love, love, love the ceramic hummingbird feeders at Jim Schatz.

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And Sweet Bella has some of the cutest washi tape I’ve seen, both in terms of design and presentation.

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