PPA Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the Premier Print Awards?

You may have a question about the program or how to enter. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

If you have a specific question or one that is not answered below, please call 800-910-4283 and ask for:

Michael Packard, Manager, Sponsorship & Logistics, mpackard [at] printing.org, ext 704

Q: What are the Premier Print Awards?

A: The Premier Print Awards, established in 1950, is the industry's oldest and most prestigious international awards competition. Each year printing companies from the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Australia, China, and other nations around the world enter the Premier Print Awards in hopes that they will be recognized as one of the best in print.

Q: Who can enter?

A: The competition is open to:

  • Printers
  • Trade binderies
  • Prepress shops
  • Any organization involved in the creation or production of print communications
  • Individuals, such as:
    • graphic designers
    • clients
    • others who are responsible for creating a printed piece
    • Students

Q: Does a small company really have a chance to win?

A: Absolutely! The judging is anonymous. The judges do not know which company or individual submitted a particular entry. Each entry is assigned a barcode when it is received; the barcode is the only identification on the piece when the judges review the entries.

Some categories--usually those with large numbers of entries--are divided by company size. This allows like-sized printers to compete against one another. There is also a category for designers allowing them to compete directly.

Q: Can I enter the same piece in more than one category?

A: Yes. In fact, a piece may very well fit more than one category. In years past, the same entry has won a Benny in several categories.

(Please note: you must pay an entry fee for each category in which you enter.)

Q: How would I know if a piece fits in more than one category?

A: For example, a poster-sized calendar you produced as a gift for customers could be entered in

  • Posters (J-1)
  • Calendars (M-1)
  • Print/Graphic Arts Self Promotion (U; check for specific category - U-1, U-2, etc., based on your company's size)
  • And if the poster was part of a campaign for new business you created last year, the poster and all the other pieces could be entered collectively as Promotional Campaign, business-to-business (W-1).

Q: How many samples of each piece do I need to send?

A: One per category.

Q: Do I need to mount my entry?

A: No. In fact, it is preferable that entries are not mounted.

Q: How do I know which category to enter?

A: Choosing a category is easier than you may think.

To help identify the appropriate categories in which to enter your piece, consider:

  • The print production process
  • How the entry is used
  • The equipment used
  • The size of the entry
  • The materials used
  • The number of colors--count the number of ink colors, including varnish. Do not count the paper or substrate or any type of foil.

The following questions may help:

How does my client use the piece?

  • An employee newsletter could be entered in Internal Communications (F) as well as Newsletters (G). And if it were produced on a web offset press, depending on the type of paper used, the piece could also be entered in one of the V categories (Web Press printing)

How did we produce the piece?

  • A wall map could qualify for both Posters (J-1) and Large-Format Printing (X-1), depending on the size of the piece. And any piece produced on a web press would qualify for entry into the V categories (Web Press printing), as well as those categories for Catalogs, Magazines, Booklets, Brochures, and Annual Reports.

What equipment did we use?

  • A calendar produced on digital equipment could be entered in Digital Printing (N-1) in addition to Calendars (M-1). And a long-run newsletter could be entered in the appropriate Web category (V) as well as the Newsletters (G).

Is it a personalized or 1:1 marketing piece?

  • Check out not only the On-Demand and Digital Print categories (N), but also check out the Marketing/Promotional categories.

What materials were used?

  • Recycled paper, soy ink, direct-to-plate, aqueous coating? Then the piece can be entered in S-1 - Environmentally Sound Materials, as well as other categories.

Just remember, some pieces may qualify for more than one category, and you may want to enter that very special project in multiple categories.

See the category descriptions.

Q: What's the difference between a Promotional Campaign and a Direct Mail Campaign?

A: The W categories--Marketing/Promotional Materials--focus on the coordinated effort to promote a business, product, or service. It may or may not include mail as a means of distribution. One important point to remember: entries in categories W-1 through X-5 must include more than one piece.

Promotional Campaigns include multiple pieces and do not have to include any "direct mail" items (postcards, personalized solicitations distributed via U.S. mail). Direct Mail campaigns use mail as their exclusive means of distribution.

Q: Can the judges decide which category our entry belongs in?

A: Your Entry Form must specify a category in which to enter the piece. If the judges feel the piece has been entered in an incorrect category, judges will move it to a more suitable category.

Q: Can I pay the entry fee by credit card?

A: Yes.

Q: How will I know if I have won?

A: Winners will be notified in late June. A list of winning companies will be posted on the website in early August.

Q: What do I win?

A: Each category can have a number of award winners.

The Benny
The Benny is awarded to the most outstanding entry in each category. To win, an entry must be flawless. Given this high standard, the judges do not always award a Benny in every category. Should judges find more than one entry worthy of the criteria, more than one Benny may be awarded. Winners are presented with a bronze statuette of Benjamin Franklin.

Award of Recognition
Finalists in each category receive an Award of Recognition. Recipients are awarded a personalized plaque.

Certificate of Merit
To honor those who have achieved an extremely high level of quality in printing and design, the judges award a Certificate of Merit, a personalized certificate suitable for framing.

Q: Will my entries be returned to me?

A: All entries become the property of Printing Industries of America and will not be returned.

Q: Will the judges comment on our entry so we know why it did or did not win?

A: Because of the large number of entries--thousands are received every year--judges will not be able to comment on individual entries.

Q: I am a graphic designer--can I enter this competition?

A: Yes.