May 26, 2017
Greeting Card Association honors best in the industry

The Greeting Card Association (GCA) announced the winners of the 2017 International Greeting Card Awards Competition, the LOUIE Awards, at a gala Sunday evening, May 21, during National Stationery Show (NSS).

The GCA awarded highest honors to: Madison Park Group (Card of the Year, $4 and below category) and Easy, Tiger (Card of the Year, $4 and above category). The second Judge’s Award for Excellence was awarded to Emily McDowell Studio.

Additionally, two companies were recognized as Rising Stars: The Cove Company ($4 and below category) and Birdwalk Press ($4 and above category). Richard Evans, a 50-plus year veteran of Birchcraft Studios (now Birchcraft Studios by DFS) received the GCA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to his company and advancing the industry through his GCA leadership.

“Today, when many communications are abbreviated to a couple of words on a screen, greeting cards are a way to show friends, families and co-workers that you’re thinking of them in a creative, thoughtful and meaningful way,” said Carlos LLansó, GCA president and CEO, Legacy Publishing.

And today’s typical greeting card buyer is changing. Research from GCA member American Greetings (Quantitative Consumer Studies, 2015 – 2016) demonstrates the value of greeting cards among Millennials: Their total spend on greeting cards surpassed Baby Boomers last year.

History, Criteria and Lifetime Achievement Award

Launched in 1988, the LOUIEs honor Louis Prang, the German-born Boston lithographer and publisher dubbed the Father of the American Christmas Card. Over 230 companies throughout the world submitted nearly 1,000 entries for the greeting card and social expression industry’s definitive awards competition. Seventy-six companies had at least one card advance to the finalist round. The LOUIE Awards are open to all publishers in the U.S. and throughout the world; while GCA members receive a reduced entry fee, any publisher who marketed and sold cards in the U.S. last year is eligible.

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originality, impact, design excellence, sendability, and value; all identifying information about the entrant was withdrawn from entries.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

In addition to the LOUIEs, the GCA recognizes individuals who have made a significant and enduring contribution to the industry through their work, dedication, creativity and excellence.

“Richard Evans exemplifies the very best in our industry — for his commitment to service and quality and for his continued stewardship of a family-owned business,” said Peter Doherty, CAE, GCA executive director. “We are grateful to Richard for his countless contributions, and we are so pleased to honor him with the GCA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.”

“And a special thank you to Nicole Hite-Heleniak, Vice President, Creative Studios, Hallmark Cards and her team for their tireless work over the last several months to create a magical “Universe of Wonders” for this year’s LOUIEs Gala,” added LLansó.

Sponsors of this year’s LOUIE Awards include: American Greetings, Designer Greetings, Hallmark Cards, National Stationery Show, and Universal Presentation Concepts (Platinum Sponsors); Viabella (Gold Sponsor); Infinity Foils, Neenah Paper and Universal Engraving Inc. (Silver Sponsors); Avanti, Birchcraft by DFS, Bobst and The Madison Park Group (Category Champion Sponsors); and LOUIE Supporter: Fine Impressions.

Hallmark Cards provided entertainment at the LOUIE Awards Gala. GCA members supplied materials and production for the call for entries, invitations, program book, thank you and congratulatory cards, envelopes and gala décor. Those companies are: BrightMARKS, Exclusive Bordering Company, Fine Impressions, Infinity Foils, J.S. McCarthy Printers, Leader Paper Products, Neenah Paper, The Occasions Group, Universal Engraving, and Universal Presentation Concepts.

Universal Presentation Concepts designed the display showcasing winners and finalists as well as the inaugural GCA Village, which provided GCA member companies with the opportunity to exhibit under the GCA brand and benefit from pre-show promotional opportunities.

All LOUIE winners are posted at

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