The LOUIE Awards, Part I – A Gorgeous Silver Anniversary Celebration

So much happens during the National Stationery Show, and one of the biggest highlights of those three-and-a-half days is undoubtedly the LOUIE Awards. For those of you not familiar with these awards and the celebration that goes with them, the LOUIEs (as they’re affectionately known) are the industry’s recognition of the best of the greeting-card best. Each year, a gala party is organized by the Greeting Card Association (GCA) to honor amazing cards in a number of different categories. The 2013 LOUIE Awards gala was particularly special, because this year marked the Silver Anniversary of the Awards.

There is so much to share from the celebration that I’m breaking coverage of the festivities into multiple posts, starting with a look at the Gala design, which Awards Chair, Monika Brandrup-Thomas, of Up With Paper, LLC, conceived of, coordinated, and art-directed, with genuinely stunning results. (Unfortunately, my photos do NOT do justice to the work accomplished by Monika’s team of creatives.)

Leading Up to the Event

The Call for Entries

The 2013 LOUIE Awards Call for Entries introduced the look and feel for the entire campaign: a classic palette of navy blue and taupe, with a dynamic red and dusty blue border, reminiscent of air mail envelopes. The cover incorporated the silver foiling and embossing that would be carried through the event design, from project to project. (Monika Brandrup-Thomas designed the piece, while Katie Scheid, also of Up With Paper, illustrated and created the typographic treatment.)

LOUIE Awards Call for Entries cover

LOUIE Awards Call for Entries cover

And, the interior took the design to a new dimension–literally–with paper engineering by Yevgeniya Yeretskaya.

LOUIE Awards CFE interior

LOUIE Awards CFE interior

The Ticket

This sumptuous, silver-foiled, navy blue cardstock was people’s ticket–literally–into the show.

LOUIE Awards ticket

LOUIE Awards ticket

At the LOUIE Awards

The Entrance

This year, the LOUIE Awards were held at the beautiful Lighthouse Pier at Chelsea Piers. After checking in, guests entered a foyer and were greeted with a stunning paper tunnel entrance comprised of intricate dimensional paper art.

LOUIE Awards paper tunnel entrance

LOUIE Awards paper tunnel entrance

Designed and engineered by Isabel Uria for Structural Graphics, the cut-paper arches featured the soaring swallows from the ticket and CFE designs, as well as dozens of paper airplanes, each featuring the name of a greeting card company.

LOUIE Awards paper tunnel detail

LOUIE Awards paper tunnel detail

Guests stopped in their tracks, wowed by the scope and impact of the paper sculpture, then wound their way through the tunnel, searching and finding their company’s name amongst the airplanes.

LOUIE Awards paper tunnel

LOUIE Awards paper tunnel

The Place Cards

Once they’d made their way through the tunnel, guests located their names and table numbers on coordinating paper airplanes.

LOUIE Awards paper airplane place cards and centerpiece

LOUIE Awards paper airplane place cards and centerpiece

The centerpieces on the place card tables (and the dinner tables) were gorgeous pieces of paper sculpture designed and engineered by Yevgeniya Yeretskaya. They were lit from within, and featured the event’s logo and a soaring, navy swallow, which my sub-par camera did not manage to pick up well in the low light. (All the more reason to upgrade for next year!)

Which brings me to…

The Tables

LOUIE Awards table

LOUIE Awards table

Each table featured one of Yeretskaya’s paper sculptures, tea lights, a standing thank you placard and programs at each seat. The programs, designed by Monika and Katie (with an interior layout by yours truly), coordinated with all of the collateral leading up to the event, and featured an embossed cover with silver foiling on a soft, velvety stock.

LOUIE Awards Program - sample spread

LOUIE Awards Program – sample spread

Together, all of these elements created an elegant framework and environment for all of the reunions, laughter, good food and drink, photographs, dancing, comedy, and camaraderie that made for the 2013 LOUIE Awards.

Oh, yes–and there were awards given out, too. But THAT has to wait for another post…

P.S. I believe in full disclosure in all of my posts. I used to work for Up With Paper, and though I’m an independent creative, now, I continue to do work with UWP. They are one of my very favorite clients, and I count their employees as both excellent colleagues and good friends. That said, everything the folks from the UWP team and their partners created for this event was–and, I don’t think I’ll get much argument on this–genuinely striking, memorable, and professionally done.