(262) 522-2210 info@glga.info

About the GEA Competition

Kristopher Gasch of Fey Printing (right) accepts the 2021 Best of Show plaque from Rick Mann, Press Color, Best of Show sponsor.

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 one of the largest regional affiliate print competitions in North America and is intensely competitive. A win at the GEAs means you have created truly outstanding work.

Who Is Eligible to Enter?

Any company in the graphic arts industry that has a direct role in creating a printed piece may enter it in the GEAs, provided that the piece was made in one of the three states in our region (Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin). This includes printing and postpress companies, design firms, ad agencies, in-plant printing operations and trade houses. Students also may enter pieces that they create as a part of their graphic arts education coursework. NOTE: You do not need to be a member of GLGA to enter 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 and Best of States
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.

People’s Choice
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 competition.

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 of the most popular 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 award. 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)
  • Division 7: Students

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, Runner-Ups, Best of States and People’s Choice awards.

Past Top Winners

Questions and Learn More

Want to learn more about the Graphics Excellence Awards Program? Check out these links:

Have questions? Contact Debra Warner at (262) 439-8992 or via email at dwarner@glga.info.