35th Annual Louie Awards
The annual Louie Awards program has been honoring the best cards in the industry for over 30 years. Brought to you by the Greeting Card Association, the Louie Awards recognize, reward, and celebrate that moment when art, editorial, and design perfectly coalesce to bring these emotions to life and memorialize the numerous milestones in our lives.
Officially known as the International Greeting Card Awards Competition, the Louies are named after Louis Prang, the German-born Boston lithographer credited with the birth of the U.S. Christmas card in the 1870s.
Launched by the Greeting Card Association (GCA) in 1988, the prestigious Louie Awards recognize the most outstanding greeting cards, invitations, and announcements marketed in the U.S. during the previous calendar year. The competition is open to all domestic and foreign publishers of greeting cards, invitations, and/or announcements, and attracts hundreds of entries annually.
35th Annual Louie Award Finalist Announcements
Join us as we announce the finalists for the 35th Louie Awards on Zoom! We will celebrate the top 3 cards in every category. RSVP Here.
When: Tuesday, February 27th
Time: 12pm MT/2pm ET
35th Annual Louie Award Ceremony + Reception
Join us as we honor the best cards of the year right before kicking off *Noted: The Greeting Card Expo. This event is our opportunity to gather for an unforgettable evening to connect with industry peers, welcome back in-person events, and celebrate the Louie Award winners.
Join us on Tuesday, April 16th from 6:30-9:30pm on the Fort Mason Campus in San Francisco. Tickets are limited, so act fast!
Ticket price: $135
- Save $10 by purchasing a ticket on or before February 14th
When you join, register, attend, or participate in any GCA activity, you agree to abide by GCA’s Code of Conduct.
Why Enter the Louie Awards?
Exposure and Visibility!
- Get your cards seen– All submissions are reviewed by our judges panel that is made up of buyers, retailers, members of the press, sales reps and others looking for the best new cards in the industry.
- Expose your designs to prestigious retail judges from Paper Source, Barnes & Noble, and more.
- Winners will be announced at *Noted in front of hundreds of retailers.
- Awards ceremony takes place during *Noted, with winning cards on display.
- A digital Finalist and Winner’s Kit will be available to help you promote your Louie-winning designs.
- Be a part of Louie Award Display – Cards that advance to the finalist round will be prominently displayed at the Louies display right at the entrance of *Noted where 600+ retailers will see your cards front and center.
- Learn where you stand – Applicants will receive access to the final scores for each entry as well as any comments from judges.
- Go social – Finalist and winners cards will be showcased on the GCA social media accounts.
- Live on forever – Images of all finalists and winners will remain archived in a Finalist and Winner’s Gallery on the GCA site.
History of the Louie Awards
Since 1988, the greeting card industry has come together each year to celebrate the best our industry has to offer. Hundreds of companies from around the world enter thousands of their best cards for the chance to win the coveted Louie Award.
One of the best things about the program is the number of new publishers who enter and win each year! The finalists are announced in February, and the GCA promotes every finalist on the web and through social media. The announcement of the finalists gives us an opportunity to share the spotlight with some truly gifted greeting card publishers, designers, and artists. The excitement continues to build until April when the winners are announced.
That’s only the beginning. Each spring, our fabulous publishers and GCA Associate members come together again to design and build an outstanding awards celebration. This is where the Louie Award winners are announced for the first time. Not even the finalists know who will win, so we encourage all finalists and greeting card professionals to attend! Because our awards program is all about excellence in printing, our volunteers also create the invitations, program, and other items seen each year at the Louie Awards celebration.
Following the Louie Awards celebration, each winner is automatically entered into our annual Consumer’s Choice competition. Through the Consumer’s Choice Awards, Louie Award winners can expect increased exposure, press coverage, and lots of social media attention from thousands of consumers.
History and Judging Criteria
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 51 categories in this year’s competition. Fifty-five 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. in 2019 was 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 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. All judges recuse themselves from judging their own company cards.
The Changing Face of the Louies
In 2010, Andy Meehan headed a strategic review to consider ways to refocus the Louie Awards and establish a more modern direction reflective of today’s greeting card industry.
The following year, the Louie Awards, chaired by Katy Greenspan, saw exciting changes, including the addition of new categories, the expansion of the program booklet to include photos of all finalist cards, a stunning new Louies exhibit at the National Stationery Show and a Consumer’s Choice Award.
For the 25th Louie Awards, Monika Brandrup-Thomas chaired the Louie Awards and she continued to build on these enhancements and chose to commemorate the 25th year by recognizing in a special way excellence in greeting card design.
For the 26th Louie Awards, we engaged buyers from major retailers, industry sales reps, stationery bloggers, and magazine editors as judges, continuing to build on the credibility to the competition and attracting companies that may not have previously considered entering. The finalists cards within the Louie Exhibit is centrally located in the Javits Center at the National Stationery Show©, offering increased visibility for the card designers and manufacturers alike. We also expanded the section on the Greeting Card Association’s website to showcase images of the finalists’ and winning cards, along with links to their respective companies’ websites. The Consumer’s Choice Award, given to the winning card receiving the most votes on the LOUIEs Facebook page, continued as well.
Each year, the Louie Awards Committee seeks to engage a diversity of publishers and artists committed to excellence in the social expression industry. To achieve this, we look to increase opportunities for early exposure for those companies named a finalist or a winner, knowing that it enhances the value in being part of the Louie Awards.
We welcome your feedback on ways we can advance, strengthen, and expand the Louie Awards in the years to come.
We look forward to the LOUIE Awards every year. I love to see the beautiful work that comes from the designers and companies from across the country and around the world.
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.