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In-Print Contest: Why You Should Enter

Entering In-Print can win you more than just a plaque. In-plants say their awards have won them increased recognition and more business.

What's more, winning an In-Print award shows departments the in-plant can produce high-quality printing—something that will make them think twice before sending their next job outside.

Many in-plants are already busy gathering samples of their work to send in. Other shops, though, have never bothered to enter—a true loss to them. They deny their shops the chance to be recognized for their work. They lose the opportunity to impress customers and thus bring in additional work. And they prevent their hard-working employees from feeling the satisfaction that comes from having their hard work recognized.

Many winners hang the awards on the wall or their in-plants so people see them as they enter. This often leads to more business.

Other winners use their awards as rewards for customers by having duplicate plaques made to present to the departments the jobs were printed for. Hanging in their offices, the awards act as permanent advertisements for the in-plant.

Obviously, the more prizes the in-plant wins, the more customers it can impress this way. And the way to win more prizes is to enter more items.

Though many shops enter only three items, to avoid paying a fee, the big winners know they increase their chances by submitting a lot of entries. They recoup their expenses with the recognition they receive.

The University of Oklahoma uses the very act of entering a piece as a marketing tool. Sarantakos sends letters to departments telling them their printed materials were high enough in quality to be submitted to the In-Print contest.

The awards also help boost employee morale, he adds. He holds a reception after the awards are delivered to the shop to reward employees for their great work. This makes them feel proud and motivates them to continue doing their best work. It also reminds them to keep an eye out for jobs to enter the following year.

How To Win

Managers who have won many times over the years stress that entering In-Print should not be a last-minute venture. Those who win most often say they recognize potential prize winners early and set aside several copies to keep them.

Sarantakos stores items throughout the year. When it's time to select entries, he and an assistant spread them out on a table and pick the ones with the best chances. They consider the types of jobs that won the previous year. They also look carefully for visible flaws, and use cotton gloves to handle the pieces.

All this care may seem excessive, but be assured it is not. The first things the In-Print judges look for are flaws. They use loupes to check for poor registration and hickeys. They scrutinize folds to make sure both halves of the sheet line up, often eliminating entries that are cracked along the folds. Other things they look for: holes and missing dots in solids, color variation from page to page and track marks on paper.

Winning an award in In-Print isn't easy. But you certainly won't win if you don't enter. And once you win, you can reap the benefits.

More contest details on our In-Print page.