(262) 522-2210 info@glga.info

About the GEA Competition

by | Dec 19, 2020

Ace Graphics President Rod Kranz (left) joins members of the Ace production team to display their 2020 GEAs Best of Show award.

Celebrate Print!

Each year, the Great Lakes Graphics Association’s Graphics Excellence Awards competition recognizes companies through Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin for the superb craftsmanship in the design, creation and production of top-quality printed material they produce for their customers.

The GEAs is the largest regional affiliate print competition and is intensely competitive. A win at the GEAs means a company has produced truly excellent work.

Who Is Eligible to Enter?

The Graphics Excellence Awards competition is open to anyone in the graphic arts industry. This includes printing and postpress companies, design firms, ad agencies, in-plant printing operations, trade houses and students. A company does not need to be a member of GLGA to enter projects in the GEAs.

How Is Judging Conducted?

The team of judges is composed of experts in the graphic communications industry. An entry is judged first on technical expertise and the quality of printing, then on design features and overall graphic appeal. Any entry with visible technical flaws will be disqualified from the judging – so please check your samples carefully!

Award Levels

Best of Show & Runner-Ups
This is the best of the best! All Best of Category winners compete for these special sponsored awards. Winners will receive a professionally designed plaque. A photo taken at the Awards Celebrations featuring the company representatives with the award will be highlighted on the GLGA website and in GLGA publications.

Best of State
The Best of State award honors the best of each of the three states in our region. Also, the popular People’s Choice Award allows all attendees to be the judge – the voting is held LIVE the night of the Awards Celebrations. All Best of Category and Best of Division winners are automatically entered in the People’s Choice and Best of State competitions.

The Gutenberg – Best of Category
The Gutenberg, our award for the Best of Category, is presented to the most outstanding entry in each category. The entry must be flawless to win. Given this high standard, every category may not have a winner. Winners receive their awards at the Awards Celebrations. The award-winning pieces will be on display during the Celebrations and pictured in the Awards Annual.

Best of Division
Some categories are broken down into divisions to allow like-sized printers to compete against one another. The Best of Division winners within a category compete against each other for the Best of Category Gutenberg. All Best of Division winners will receive a plaque at the Awards Celebrations, and their winning entry will be on display and pictured in the Awards Annual.


  • Division 1: Printers with 20 or fewer employees
  • Division 2: Printers with 21-50 employees
  • Division 3: Printers with 51-100 employees
  • Division 4: Printers with 101-250 employees
  • Division 5: Printers with more than 250 employees
  • Division 6: Non-printers (anyone involved in the creation of the piece but did not print it, including designers and postpress)

Award of Excellence
Finalists for the Best of Category in each category receive an Award of Excellence complimentary certificate.

Certificate of Merit
Some of the entries also deserve to be acknowledged for achieving a high quality in printing. The judges award a Certificate of Merit to those pieces.

GEA Celebrations

GLGA holds two award ceremonies simultaneously, one in the Chicagoland area and one in Milwaukee, so that as many winners can attend as possible. The awards for Best of Category and Best of Division are presented locally leading up to the presentation of the Best of Show, First Runner-Up, Second Runner-Up, Best of States and People’s Choice Awards.

Past Winners

Questions and Learn More

Have questions and want to learn more about the Graphics Excellence Awards Program? Contact Debra Warner at (262) 439-8992 or via email at dwarner@glga.info.


2021 GEA Sponsors

GEA Best of Show Sponsor

GEA First Runner-Up Sponsor

GEA Second Runner-Up Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Gold Sponsor

GEA Silver Sponsor

GEA Silver Sponsor

GEA Bronze Sponsor

GEA Bronze Sponsor

GEA Bronze Sponsor

GEA Bronze Sponsor

GEA Bronze Sponsor

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