Struck By Gold
And the winners of the 17th annual Gold Ink Awards are …
As summer rolls into fall, it's time once again to announce, and display on these pages, the winners in the book competition of the 2004 Gold Ink Awards, which has earned the respect of some of the most renowned producers of printed material in the industry.
Over the course of three days, our esteemed judges poured over entries in 46 categories, including eight book categories, debating the merits and sweating over each nuance of the 1,574 submissions before bestowing a gold, silver or bronze designation on a winner. It was tiring work that sparked enough spirited discussion to keep our judges busy for four days.
Two categories—jackets and textbooks—were judged separately this year, along with the returning six categories—hardcover, children's books, cookbooks, fine editions, soft cover and covers.
The print competition didn't require those who submitted entries to perform a backflip or swim an individual medley to qualify, as some Olympic athletes had to, but they did wait several months—between the time they mailed their entry and judgment day—before knowing if their submission would put them on the Gold Ink podium.
Some of the factors that the judges were compelled to consider included how difficult the project was from a production standpoint, the quality of the materials that were used, and how well the materials were manufactured and integrated.
"The two things that stand out are, first, the amazing prevalence of new imaging technology on press, high-definition stochastic imaging in particular," says Christopher Farrell, associate creative director at Rodale Press. "On some very high-end pieces it was impossible to imagine that any technical improvement might still exist, [and it seemed] that we might actually be at the very limits of what can be accomplished with ink on paper.
"Second is the very impressive results some of these technologies delivered on some of the more cost-driven communications, relative to more traditional technology."
As judging proceeded through that first week of June, the Gold Ink Awards committee decided that breaking up some categories into smaller groups this year and adding more categories to the 2005 Gold Ink Awards competition would broaden the scope of the awards and increase the chances of winning for some entrants.
For example, the book jacket category grew out of a discussion among the judges that a book cover and a book jacket are made up of different elements. Our winner in the book jacket category, "The Firefly," published by St. Martin's Press, was described by Charles Hames, production manager at New York University Press, as a beautiful example of printing on a metalized sheet with superb knock-out of white type throughout the piece.
The fierce competition in all the categories was a testament to the number of flawlessly printed materials entered into the contest.
"On many levels it was difficult to find characteristics to separate one [entry] from another," says Lisa Woodard, director of creative services at Lenox Collections, a direct marketer of fine collectibles and gifts. "The exceptional printing, binding, varnishing and overall presentations made for some hard choices."
"Trying to judge the Gold Ink Awards is far more difficult than one can imagine," says Harris Fogel, chairman of the media arts department at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. "Often, many of [the entries] are extraordinarily varied within the same category, which at times feels like judging apples and oranges."
A separate category for letterhead/stationery, which was submitted in the potpourri category, was also created during judging. The judges determined letterhead/stationery couldn't compete fairly in the potpourri category. New categories for next year include greeting cards, synthetic papers and envelopes, as each provides particular challenges on press.
Though many stunning pieces were submitted, the judges managed to award only one gold winner in each category. Awarding one silver and one bronze in some categories wasn't as easy, and in those, multiple silver and bronze designations were given. As in past years, Gold Ink judging rules allowed the judges to bestow pewter awards in each category on those submissions deemed worthy of an honorable mention.
Another winner of note was "The Art of the Letter," in the Fine Editions category. Judges described the piece as having a wide variety of expertly handled printing, stamping and finishing.
The participation of print-industry professionals is what makes the Gold Ink Awards successful, and the competition would not have grown over the past 17 years without their support. On behalf of all of us at BookTech Magazine, I'd like to thank all those who entered and our judges, who gave up their time and brought their enthusiasm to judge the entries fairly and honorably.
– Warren Chiara