Judging Process and Criteria

The Louie Awards judging process consists of two rounds of judging during an intensive two-round process. In this first round, judges are split into hubs across the country where they will hold, touch, and view physical copies of the cards. Each hub is responsible for judging a certain portion of the categories. The top five scoring cards in each category are then moved into the second round of judging which is done virtually. During the second round of judging, all judges re-score and rank the top five cards.

Louie judges are invite-only and consist of a mix of retailers, makers, reps, and associate members.


In each judging round, the cards are evaluated based on five criteria:

  • Originality: Does this card take a unique approach to design, concept or execution? 
  • Impact: Does this card have emotional impact? 
  • Design Excellence: Is the overall look of this card visually appealing? Did the designer make good choices in typography, paper, envelope, print quality, and artwork arrangement? 
  • Sendability: Is this card likely to be purchased and sent for the occasion or purpose specified by the category? Are its format and design functional? 
  • Value: Is this card priced appropriately based on the overall quality of the product? 


The cards are judged on a scale of one to ten. Point range is as follows:

  • 1-3 | Below Standard
  • 4-6 | Meet Standard
  • 7-8 | Exceeds Standard
  • 9-10 | Extraordinary

Based on the numerical scores, three finalists will emerge in each category, with one earning the coveted Louie Award. Finalists will be announced in mid-February, after which all entrants will be able to access their scores and narrative feedback via their online entry portal.

A Blue Ribbon Panel of five select judges will choose two Cards of the Year from among the category winners in each price break. Winners will be announced at the Annual Louie Awards celebration at *Noted.

Become a GCA Member

Every GCA member saves on their LOUIE Awards card entries. But there are so many reasons to join. The GCA today represents nearly 200 American and international publishers from diverse businesses – ranging from young start-ups to established companies of all sizes, scopes and years in the industry – as well as suppliers that provide production services and product distribution at the wholesale level.