Perfection in Print
The 18th annual Gold Ink Awards honor the truly exceptional among more than 200 pieces submitted in the book categories.
As the weather heated up in the early part of June, so did the excitement around the offices of North American Publishing Co. (BookTech's parent) as judges from varied backgrounds in the graphic arts industry convened to judge the 18th annual Gold Ink Awards.
This year's judges had their work cut out for them as almost 1,500 entries were submitted into the competition, with 203 pieces entered into the eight book categories alone. Over the course of four days, the esteemed judges pored over an array of submissions in 50 categories, examining and debating the print quality of each one.
Before the start of the contest, the judges were given instructions to consider the difficulty of printing the given project, the quality of the material used, and how well the materials were manufactured and integrated. And above all, the judges were told, as difficult as it was, to award a single Gold, Silver and Bronze winner in each category, as well as Pewter awards for those that didn't take home a Gold, Silver or Bronze, but are exceptional in print quality and worthy of an award.
While the judges yielded a single Gold and Silver winner in each book category, they elected to award multiple Bronze winners in the "Books, Fine Editions," "Children's Books" and "Hardcover Books" categories, as the quality of submissions entered were just too great to settle on a single Bronze winner.
Some other submissions were clear-cut winners. For example, the Gold winner in the "Children's Book" category, "Jungle Gym Jitters," was chosen for its "subtle printing on an excellent sheet choice, [which] elevates this book to the level of fine art," said judge Charles Hames, production manager at New York University Press.
Other winners of note were "The Beauty of Speed," in the "Books, Fine Editions" category, which was hailed for its crisp color printing and impressive example of binding images across spreads, and "New Century Math" in the "Textbook" category, which was awarded a Gold designation for its "superb and consistent printing throughout; a good example of very high manufacturing standards," noted the judges.
Broadening the Field
The toughest competition among the book categories was in "Hardcover Books," which yielded 13 Pewter winners, and the "Children's Books" category, which yielded nine Pewter winners.
This year's competition included four more categories, some of which were created during last year's judging, in order to broaden the scope of the awards and make the competition fairer for some of the entrants.
After 18 years, the Gold Ink Awards competition continues to become more and more competitive. "It's pretty impressive when you're throwing things out that last year would have taken a gold," noted one judge, who also judged the Gold Ink Awards in 2004.
In fact, so many pieces were of such high quality that judges were forced to evaluate many pieces using the loop and light box, and determine winners based on nitty-gritty detail. "I'm seeing a hairline of chapping due to the stock," a judge commented in examining one of the finalists.
"Those pieces that took home awards this year were truly outstanding in their execution of high-quality design," says Mark Hertzog, PrintMedia Group publisher, and organizer of the Gold Ink Awards competition. "Every year, as the scope and reputation of the Gold Ink Awards grows, so does the competition and the challenge to our judges."
BookTech Magazine would like to thank all the printers and publishers who entered pieces in the competition this year, and all of the judges who shared their time and expertise to judge the entries fairly and honorably. And most of all, congratulations to this year's winners!
— Warren Chiara