July 9, 2019 •
Greeting Card Association Launches Noted, Celebrates LOUIEs

Winners Lounge 2019 LOUIE

Brooklyn made a hip host for the greeting card get-togethers

The third week in May was a busy one for the Greeting Card Association (GCA). First, the inaugural Noted: The Greeting Card Expo kicked off May 18 at the Brooklyn Expo Center. Then, on May 19, the GCA announced the winners of its 2019 LOUIE Awards, the international greeting card awards competition.

NOTED Ribbon Cutting Ceremony action shot
Carlos Llanso of Legacy Publishing Group takes the ribbon-cutting honors at Noted as the rest of the board cheers him on. All photographs courtesy of Maggie Schultz, GCA.

For this, the 30th anniversary of the LOUIE Awards, the celebration moved from its usual location in downtown NYC to booming, edgy Brooklyn. Benefitting from a fresh new venue — 26 Bridge — and a brand-new show — Noted — this year’s LOUIEs event was a welcome mix of high energy, fresh faces and familiar industry friends.

Noted 2019 Donuts Carts
With a focus on connections and commonalities, Noted was a bit different from most trade shows, and beautifully presented, unexpected amenities like donuts were the norm.

“There’s nothing like the genuine and lasting connection you get from receiving (and sending) a greeting card,” said Peter Doherty, GCA executive director. “But consumers’ tastes are constantly changing and greeting card makers continue to evolve and respond. The wide variety of product submitted during this year’s LOUIE Awards campaign is proof that card companies are always looking to innovate.”

NOTED Card Installation
At the show entrance, attendees were greeted by a card installation, painstakingly assembled by UWP Luxe’s Monika Brandrup with cards culled from exhibitors.

Launched in 1988, the LOUIEs honor Louis Prang, the German-born Boston lithographer and publisher known as the Father of the American Christmas Card. Nearly 200 companies submitted hundreds of entries in 55 categories in this year’s competition. Seventy-four companies had at least one card advance to the finalist round.

Overhead image of 2019 LOUIE Awards
Once they said the secret word — “LOUIE” — they entered a speakeasy, dotted with roulette wheels, a black jack table and plenty of great company, food and drinks. All photographs courtesy of Maggie Schultz, GCA.

A panel of 19 industry experts judged entries against five criteria: originality, impact, design excellence, “sendability,” and value; all identifying information about the entrant was withdrawn from the entries. A Blue- Ribbon Panel of five judges selected the Cards of the Year and chose to honor the Judge’s Award for Excellence from among all categories.

“Our thanks to an outstanding panel of judges who gave two days of their time to review, comment and select the LOUIE finalists and winners,” said Doherty. “In addition to the judges, Fern Gimbelman of Designer Greetings, the LOUIE chair and our fantastic sponsors are the unsung heroes of the LOUIE Awards.”

Taking the highest honors were Calypso Cards, for Card of the Year, $4 and Below, and UWP Luxe, Card of the Year, Above $4. Quilling Cards received the 2019 Judge’s Award for Excellence. Texas-based KB Paperie was named 2019 Rising Star.

The winning cards were also on display at Noted throughout the event. For the tenth year, Universal Presentation Concepts designed the display showcasing winners and finalists. Next year, both the LOUIEs and Noted will jet to San Francisco. Look for the card submission period will open in early September.

All LOUIE winners are posted at www. greetingcard.org. For information on GCA membership, contact [email protected].

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