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In-Print Contest

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Contest Rules/List of Categories

Tips | Awards
Why You Should Enter

The Winners Have Been Selected

On March 10, in the IPMA headquarters building in Kearney, Mo., five printing industry experts came from all around the country to judge In-Print 2014. The contest, sponsored by In-plant Graphics and the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA), was open to all U.S. in-plants.

For nearly 10 hours the judges scrutinized each of the 410 entries, inspecting each fold and using loupes to check for poor registration and hickeys. In the end, the five judges selected 66 winners from 35 different in-plants. These included 30 Gold award winners from 22 in-plants. Here are the winners:

The biggest winner was the University of Oklahoma, which pulled in seven awards, four of them Gold. Three in-plants won four awards each: University of Delaware, Kohler Co. and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first two won one Gold apiece.

Both Bucknell University and the Church of Scientology International scored Gold award sweeps, earning the top prize for all three of their awards. Other three-award winners were Washington State University and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

All 30 Gold winners are candidates for two Best of Show awards (one for offset, one for non-offset). These winners will be revealed at an awards banquet on June 11, in Milwaukee, during IPMA 2014 conference. The Best of Show winners will receive a crystal obelisk trophy. The other In-Print 2014 prizes will also be presented at this ceremony.

Contest Judging

This year's panel of judges included:

  • Christopher Donlon, Kohler Corp.
  • Alvin Griffin, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
  • Mike Lincoln, State of Colorado
  • Steve Weigel, Iowa State University
  • Chris Anderson, Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators

Larry Clements, of Redlands Community College, who was on hand to photograph the winners, also served as a substitute judge when other judges stepped aside during categories their in-plant had entered.

To pick the winners, judges considered the degree of difficulty required to print a job, and often consulted the entry forms to see which equipment was used. (i.e. A four-color job printed on a single-color press might outweigh a similar job printed on a four-color press.) On the other hand, some jobs with excellent printing, failed to win prizes due to poor stitching. For a glimpse of what the judging is like watch this video:

 

Click below to watch videos showing the judges selecting the Best of Show winners:

Tips

Over the years, the judges have provided a number of helpful tips on what makes a winning entry. One thing the judges love to scrutinize is the folds on entries to make sure both halves of the sheet line up perfectly. They often eliminate entries that are cracked along the folds because they were either folded against the grain or folded without first being scored. This is the most common reason pieces are eliminated. Also, many entries were eliminated in the past because poor quality copies were submitted, when better copies almost certainly existed.

Here are some other reasons that entries were thrown out. Did you have any of these problems with your entries?

  • Holes and missing dots in solids, possibly due to a piece of dust landing on the plate during platemaking
  • Spots and specks, especially in company logos
  • Poor ink coverage
  • Color variation from page to page, particularly noticeable in company logos or headers that appear on consecutive pages
  • Color variation between stationery, envelopes and business cards
  • On multi-page forms, the lines on each page must line up with those on other pages
  • Out of register printing
  • Front-to-back registration off
  • Doubling: when ink from the first blanket transfers onto the second blanket and gets printed on the paper again as a ghost image
  • Mottling: spotty, uneven printing in solid areas
  • Too much powder used, which leaves a gritty, unpleasant feel on the paper
  • Bad folds
  • Track marks on paper
  • Inserts that don't fit together right
  • Items placed in the wrong categories
  • Design problems like: bad letter spacing; crooked lines of text; fuzzy photos
  • Pages printed upside-down

On the entries in our non-offset categories, here are some of the problems judges encountered:

  • Images were not centered
  • Roller marks on page
  • Color consistency changed from page to page
  • The darkness of the toner in the text portions of the piece changed from page to page
  • Unfolded press sheets were submitted, not a finished product

One more tip: Pieces that include a number of different parts (e.g. a direct mail package filled with loose pages, or stationery submitted with a business card and envelope) have not fared well in the past. You increase the chance that the judges will find an error. It's best to enter the single piece of which you are most proud.

For example: One in-plant entered a direct mail package filled with loose pages, some of which had enough blemishes to disqualify the whole entry. But if the pocket folder had been submitted by itself, the judges agreed, it would certainly have won in the folder category. So pick your categories wisely. And simplify.

Often, many in-plants enter the contest right at the deadline. As a result, they don't properly inspect their entries and submit the best copies. This has cost several in-plants prizes, since if they had only sent a copy with better folds and crossovers, they would have won. Instead they were eliminated. Many items have been tossed out for infractions as small as a missing dot in the middle of a solid, or cracking on a fold that hadn't been scored.

You should examine all four copies of your entries in detail--don't just grab any four from the top of the shelf. Look at the folds and registration. Are they perfect? Are there any visible hickeys? Look carefully, because if you don't take the time to scrutinize your entries, be assured, our judges will.

The best advice is to get your press operators involved. Show them the entry form when it first appears each November. Get them interested in saving flawless samples--and put them aside far in advance of the deadline.

Also, and this is extremely important, when filling out the entry form, please check off the correct category. A brochure is not a folder. Don't put offset pieces in the digital category, or mistakenly enter a category for small shops if yours is a large shop. When judging day comes and the judges see your piece in the wrong category, it may be disqualified--especially if they have already judged the correct category.

Awards

In-Print winners will receive elegant plaques, which will be presented at the next IPMA conference. From all of the Gold Award winners, the judges will pick one Best of Show winner from the offset categories and one Best of Show from the non-offset categories. Those in-plants will receive trophies during the IPMA Awards Banquet.

Here's a list of Best of Show winners through the years:

  • 2013 - Church of Jesus Christ of LDS/Washington State University
  • 2012 - University of Minnesota/University of North Texas
  • 2011 - Brigham Young University/University of North Texas
  • 2010 - University of Oklahoma/University of North Texas
  • 2009 - Briggs & Stratton
  • 2008 - Conoco Phillips
  • 2007 - Conoco Phillips
  • 2006 - University of Delaware
  • 2005 - University of Missouri-Columbia
  • 2004 - University of Delaware
  • 2003 - University of Missouri-Columbia
  • 2002 - Phillips Petroleum
  • 2001 - Boeing
  • 2000 - SAFECO
  • 1999 - University of Missouri-Columbia
  • 1998 - Hitachi Data Systems
  • 1997 - Boeing
  • 1996 - Phillips Petroleum
  • 1995 - Brigham Young University
  • 1994 - Phillips Petroleum
  • 1993 - Boeing
  • 1992 - USAA
  • 1991 - Boeing
  • 1990 - Boeing