How to Select Qualified Entries for the Neographics Awards Competition

For more than half a century, winning a Neographics Award has been the benchmark for printing excellence in the Tri-State region, recognizing excellence in printing and leaders in the NJ, PA and DE Print industry. In 2019, the competition, sponsored by the Graphic Arts Association (GAA), was opened to allow entries from Printing Industries Alliance members. Winning a Neographics Award generates instant industry recognition, and lets existing and potential clients know they are dealing with the best of the best. Being an award-winning printer gives your company fresh marketing content, leverage in recruiting new employees, and a morale boost and bragging rights for your existing employees. Careful consideration and microscopic attention to detail are critical when selecting your entries for the Neographics Awards. (Download entry materials here).

The late Glenn Petry, a printing industry judging legend, spent more than two decades judging printing competitions in the US, including the prestigious PIA Premier Print Awards. Petry developed a list of guidelines and tips on selecting entry-worthy pieces that will help your company take home the “Best of the Best” award, the coveted Power of Print Award. Last year’s Power of Print Award was PIA member, Hatteras Press.

Petry’s primary mandate was “don’t wait until the last minute to select your entries.” Once your company makes a commitment to enter, involve your entire team in the process to create a sense of pride around the work. Have experienced and knowledgeable personnel select four or five samples of each qualified piece as it is produced, and store those pieces in a safe location until it’s time to make the final selection.

Once you’ve decided which pieces to submit, fill out your Neographics entry forms (download forms here) and follow the included instructions to the letter. If you have any questions on entering, or on how to categorize an entry, contact GAA staff at (215) 396-2300 for assistance. Deadline to enter is March 13th and entries must be received at GAA by that date.

Before judging begins, all pieces are grouped by category and displayed on tables.

As the judges evaluate the entries and make their decisions, each winning piece’s award level is noted in the Neographics database. The three award designations are:

  • Best of Category: only one per category is awarded
  • Franklin Award of Excellence: this award is an honorable mention that may be given to multiple entries in a given category
  • Power of Print Award: only one selected, from the Best of Category award winners

The judges evaluate each piece for both the technical quality of the production process and the quality and effectiveness of the art and design. Some of the technical properties Petry listed for selecting winning entries are:

  • No hickeys
  • Folios – must be positioned consistently
  • No roller or gear marks
  • Creep control
  • No scratches or smudges
  • Use of paper – must elevate the piece
  • Stitching/binding/finishing – consistent stitching/no cracking on spine or scores
  • Smoothness – no excessive use of spray powder
  • Embossing – clean and sharp
  • Registration – no color overlaps
  • Die cuts – clean with no heavy nicks
  • Line drawings/halftones – clear with no flooding
  • Gates – must be in alignment
  • Ink lay – smooth and complete
  • Paper grain direction – no cracking of backbone
  • Color consistency
  • Foil stamping – registration and proper pressures
  • Photo consistency
  • Coatings – appropriate usage and consistency
  • Crossovers – must be in alignment

While design plays a critical part in the visual aesthetic, how well the piece is printed separates the winners from the rest of the group.

Get your team together today and evaluate your printed pieces produced between February 1, 2019 and January 31, 2020.  Download entry forms here.

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