Judging the Gold Ink Awards
If you’re reading this site, you’re probably familiar with the Gold Ink Awards. If not, you should be. It’s the most prestigious award given for excellence in printed materials. You remember print, right? Awards are given in many categories―types of books, types of magazines, covers, jackets, digital printing, catalogs, directories, packaging, etc. The awards are presented at a wonderful banquet.
I’m proud to have been asked to be a judge this year for last week’s judging. My teams have worked on award-winning projects, and we always celebrated the award with the print vendors responsible for the beautiful work. I was even okay with getting up at 5 AM to get the train to Philly … though my dog was less than thrilled.
Luckily for me, the other judges had done this before. More importantly, their knowledge of design and manufacturing was deep and wide and, well, a bit humbling. And they were great to work with.
No, I won't tell you who won. Truth be told, after a day of judging 10 categories of books, magazines, covers, jackets, digital print, etc., I would be hard-pressed to say. Things do start to blur.
Some things that do stand out for me:
- Magnificent products from outside the U.S.―Germany, France, and China, for example.
- A digitally printed product that appeared very simple, but was so well printed it was a bit shocking.
- Some book covers were really outstanding, but most not so much; I thought this was a design issue and not a manufacturing one.
- A reminder of how much fun and creativity can go into children’s books … and how difficult manufacturing them can be.
- Did you know that Til Schweiger is Germany’s biggest movie star?
- An appreciation for the printing quality that can go into phone books.
- A magazine that, because of its content, I would not have thought of it in terms of the printing. Shame on me, it was clearly outstanding.
- The Scientology church has WAY too much money and, like all religions with too much money and a burning desire to convert us all, is a little scary.
Although conversation, invariably, drifted to e-books we mostly talked about design and manufacturing (except, of course, for the NY Post headline that day―“Obama Beats Weiner”). It was a real pleasure to focus on those things. It had been a while since I spent that much time talking about things like design’s impact on manufacturing, whether the spot lam was off, whether they could have used a different color thread for the hand binding (they couldn’t, by the way), etc.
Though not needed, it was a great reminder of the pleasures provided by a physically manufactured book or magazine. It was also fun to revel in great work done by designers, printers, binders.
Of course this opens up all kinds of questions and hand-wringing about, oh lordy, that big topic―“the future of print.” Yes, more content is being distributed and read digitally … as it should be. But as I’ve said in every blog, I do also love print and would like to assume that there will always be a place for such great work to be created by the artists and craftspeople we have and enough people to appreciate it.
Thank you fellow judges and thank you everyone at Printing Impressions. I hope you’ll ask me back. Oh, and fingers crossed that I’ll end up with that guitar book.
He is currently Production Director for Teachers College Press. Previously, he was Vice President, Global Content and Media Production for Cengage Learning. Prior to that he was Vice President of Production and Manufacturing for Oxford University Press, Pearson/Prentice Hall, Worth Publishers and HarperCollins.
In those capacities, he has been a leader in managing process and content for delivery in as many ways possible.