32nd 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.
The 32nd Annual Louie Award Winners have been announced! Check them out below and read the press release here.2021 Louie Winners Gallery
To view a full list of the categories this year, click here.
NEW categories we are excited to celebrate this year:
- Celebrating Diversity & Inclusion
- Cards for an increasingly diverse, unique, and wonderful world.
- Trends & Events
- Cards that reflect the current times, trends, and events.
- Special Recognition:
- Illustrator of the Year
- Writer of the Year
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. The deadline typically falls at the end of the calendar year.
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 late 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 May 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.
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.