2022 EXCEL Awards Categories

For all categories, entrants must submit their entry description and include—in 1,500 characters or less—a description of the intended audience, significance and outcomes achieved.

NEW- BEST NEW INNOVATION

Best innovation in new product or program development, including events, virtual events, training programs, awards programs, etc.

Provide a PDF statement of the new product: mission, capabilities, user/customer benefit. Be sure to describe the impact, how did this new innovation make a difference? Include measurable results: adoption, examples of customer benefit from testimonial quotes to increased company and user ROI, etc.  If an event, include the number of attendees, quality of speakers, overall session and networking metrics, testimonial quotes. Provide specifics of how the new offering provided new and continuing benefit and how the product/event enhanced a brand portfolio.

Judging criteria: 

  • Background & perspective
  • Creativity & originality
  • Effective use of interactive elements
  • Links, video, photos, etc.
  • Overall experience
  • Quality & effectiveness of content

PANDEMIC RESPONSE

This limited-time category recognizes communication efforts and pivots in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. All entries dealing primarily with COVID-19 topics should be entered in one of the subcategories below; entries relating primarily to COVID-19 that are entered in other regular EXCEL Award categories may be moved to this category at the judges’ discretion. 

Best writing, content, and design of a multiple-piece campaign targeted around COVID-19 communications. Entries may be print only, digital only, or a combination of print and digital (e.g. postcard, video, podcast, website, social media posts, blog, etc.) Submit low-resolution/web-ready PDFs or URLs for the different campaign pieces, along with any access instructions for judges. 

Judging criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting
  • Quality & effectiveness of content
  • Continuity
  • Quality of design 
  • Consistency overall effectiveness  

Best in-depth exploration of COVID-19-related topics in a single article. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF or URL for the article, along with any access instructions for judges. 

Judging criteria: 

  • Content 
  • Writing 
  • Development of the subject 
  • Editing

Best focus on COVID-19 topics through an entire magazine, newsletter, newspaper, journal, book, or other publication—print or digital. The theme must encompass at least half of the issue’s total editorial pages. Freestanding supplements and advertorial material do not qualify. Submit a URL for the issue, along with any access instructions for judges. 

Judging criteria: 

  • Quality of writing & copyediting
  • Quality of content 
  • Quality of theme coverage 
  • Quality of design 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 

Best combination of digital content and design that draws readers into COVID-19-related topics. This can be a single web page or a small cluster of web pages meant to function as a discrete entity within an existing website. Submit a URL and any access instructions for judges.  

Judging Criteria: 

  • Effective use of interactive elements 
  • Overall effectiveness
  • Quality of design 
  • Quality of content 
  • Quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Overall experience

Best writing, content, and design of a single piece—printed or digital—that draws readers into topics relating to COVID-19. This can include an infographic, blog, video, podcast, or any other single communications piece that does not fit in one of the other COVID-19 subcategories. Multiple-piece promotions should be submitted in the campaign subcategory.  Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF or a URL, along with any access instructions for judges. 

Judging criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality & effectiveness of content 
  • Quality of design 
  • Consistency 
  • Overall effectiveness  

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION INITIATIVES

This category highlights print and digital communications focused on association diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and discussions. Entries in this category may address association efforts to make sustainable change or advance DEI commitments or goals.

Best writing, content, and design of a multiple-piece campaign targeted around diversity, equity, and inclusion topics. Entries may be print only, digital only, or a combination of print and digital (e.g. postcard, video, podcast, website, social media posts, blog, etc.) Submit low-resolution/web-ready PDFs of and/or URLs for the different campaign pieces, along with any access instructions for judges. 

Judging criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality & effectiveness of content
  • Continuity 
  • Quality of design 
  • Consistency 
  • Overall effectiveness

Best in-depth exploration of diversity, equity, and inclusion topics in a single article. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF of or URL for the article, along with any access instructions for judges. 

Judging criteria: 

  • Content 
  • Writing 
  • Development of the subject 
  • Editing

Best focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics through an entire magazine, newsletter, newspaper, journal, book, or other publication—print or digital. The theme must encompass at least half of the issue’s total editorial pages. Freestanding supplements and advertorial material do not qualify. Submit a URL for the issue, along with any access instructions for judges. 

Judging criteria: 

  • Quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content 
  • Quality of theme coverage 
  • Quality of design 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Quality of production

Best combination of digital content and design that draws readers into the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This can be a single web page or a small cluster of web pages meant to function as a discrete entity within an existing website. Submit a URL and any access instructions for judges.  

Judging Criteria: 

  • Effective use of interactive elements
  • Overall effectiveness 
  • Quality of design
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Overall experience

Best writing, content, and design of a single piece—printed or digital—that draws readers into the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This can include an infographic, blog, video, podcast, or any other single communications piece that does not fit in one of the other diversity and inclusion subcategories. Multiple-piece promotions should be submitted in the campaign subcategory.  Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF or URL and any access instructions for judges. 

Judging criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality & effectiveness of content  
  • Quality of design
  • Consistency 
  • Overall effectiveness 

DIGITAL MEDIA

Digital media include websites, blogs, mobile applications, videos, podcasts and social media.

A website is a collection of publicly accessible, linked web pages that share a single domain name. Submit a URL.

Judge Criteria:

  • Effective use of interactive elements
  • Overall effectiveness
  • Quality of design
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of writing & copyediting
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Overall experience

A website is a collection of publicly accessible, linked web pages that share a single domain name. Submit a URL.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Creativity & originality
  • Visual impact
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Overall experience
  • Effective use of interactive elements
  • Overall effectiveness

Show website redesign and include goals and results on why or how it was successful.

Judge Criteria:

  • Improved quality of design
  • Improved quality of content
  • Improved quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Improved overall experience
  • Improved use of interactive elements

A website is a collection of publicly accessible, linked web pages that share a single domain name. Submit a URL.

Judge Criteria:

  • Content
  • Writing
  • Readability
  • Editing

A digital or online version of your magazine. Submit a URL and any access instructions for judges.

Judge Criteria:

  • Effective use of interactive elements
  • Overall effectiveness
  • Quality of design
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of writing & copyediting
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Overall experience

Material presented in a downloadable mobile application, not on a website. Submit instructions for downloading along with any login details judges may need.

Judge Criteria:

  • Effective use of interactive elements
  • Overall effectiveness
  • Quality of design
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of writing & copyediting
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Overall experience

Material presented in a downloadable mobile application, not on a website. Submit instructions for downloading along with any login details judges may need.

Judge Criteria:

  • Effective use of interactive elements
  • Overall effectiveness 
  • Quality of design
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of writing & copyediting
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Overall experience

Best use of video to educate viewers or provide information on an association, a product or service, or an event. The video is for learning purposes and can be technical or instructional. Submit URL.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality & effectiveness of message
  • Technical quality of video
  • Overall experience
  • Overall effectiveness

Best use of video to educate viewers or provide information on an association, a product or service, or an event. The video is for promotional purposes. Submit URL.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality & effectiveness of message
  • Technical quality of video
  • Overall experience
  • Overall effectiveness

Best use of video to educate viewers or provide information on an association, a product or service, or an event. The video is for membership purposes; could be a welcome video. Submit URL.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality & effectiveness of message
  • Technical quality of video
  • Overall experience
  • Overall effectiveness

Best use of video to educate viewers or provide information on an association, a product or service, or an event. Submit URL.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality & effectiveness of message
  • Technical quality of video
  • Overall experience
  • Overall effectiveness

Best use of a series of at least three videos to educate viewers or provide information on an association, a product or service, or an event. Submit URLs.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality & effectiveness of message
  • Technical quality of videos
  • Continuity
  • Overall experience
  • Overall effectiveness

A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically. Submit URL and any access instructions for judges. Ensure the podcast episode is clearly identified.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of podcast content
  • Technical quality of podcast
  • Overall experience
  • Overall effectiveness

A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically. Submit URL(s) of three consecutive episodes and any access instructions for judges. Ensure the podcast series is clearly identified.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of podcast content
  • Technical quality of podcast
  • Overall experience
  • Overall effectiveness
  • Continuity

A blog is a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group that is written in an informal or conversational style. Submit a URL, and ensure the blog post is clearly identified.

Judge Criteria:

  • Editorial content
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Creates a sense of community for its intended audience
  • Overall experience

A blog is a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group that is written in an informal or conversational style. Submit a URL, and ensure the blog post is clearly identified.

Judge Criteria:

  • Editorial content
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Creates a sense of community for its intended audience
  • Overall experience

MAGAZINES

Magazines are often more news- or feature-focused than journals. They usually are not peer-reviewed, although they may be.

This category encompasses printed magazines or magazines whose distribution would normally be intended for a physical and/or PDF format.*  Made-for-digital magazines should enter categories DIGITAL MEDIA: Mobile Application (Magazine) and DIGITAL MEDIA: Website (Magazine).

*Associations affected by COVID-19 that shifted their print magazine to digital are eligible to enter in the Magazine categories.

Judges will consider originality and quality of content, design, and writing, as well as organization of articles and general readability. Submit by circulation range. Submit URLs to three consecutive issues.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Quality of writing & copyediting
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of production

 Judges will consider originality and quality of content, design, and writing, as well as organization of articles and general readability. Submit by circulation range. Submit URLs to three consecutive issues.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Quality of writing & copyediting
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of production

Judges will consider originality and quality of content, design, and writing, as well as organization of articles and general readability. Submit by circulation range. Submit URLs to three consecutive issues.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of design
  • Quality of writing & copyediting
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of production

Judges will consider originality and quality of content, design, and writing, as well as organization of articles and general readability. Submit by circulation range. Submit URLs to three consecutive issues.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Quality of writing & copyediting
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of production

Best example of images, photography, typography and design consistently enhancing a magazine. Submit by circulation range. Submit URLs to three consecutive issues.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Creativity & originality
  • Visual impact
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Artwork
  • Use of color

Best example of images, photography, typography and design consistently enhancing a magazine. Submit by circulation range. Submit URLs to three consecutive issues.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Creativity & originality
  • Visual impact
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Artwork
  • Use of color

Best example of images, photography, typography and design consistently enhancing a magazine. Submit by circulation range. Submit URLs to three consecutive issues.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Creativity & originality
  • Visual impact
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Artwork
  • Use of color

Best example of images, photography, typography and design consistently enhancing a magazine. Submit by circulation range. Submit URLs to three consecutive issues.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Creativity & originality
  • Visual impact
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Artwork
  • Use of color

Best example of improved design, including writing, content, production, and editorial and graphic unity. All changes referenced in the entry must have been published in 2021. Submit URLs of one 2021 issue showing the redesign and one issue published up to 12 months prior to the redesign. Submit by circulation range.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Improved quality of writing & copyediting
  • Improved quality of content 
  • Improved quality of design
  • Improved editorial & graphic unity
  • Improved quality of production

Best example of improved design, including writing, content, production, and editorial and graphic unity. All changes referenced in the entry must have been published in 2021. Submit URLs of one 2021 issue showing the redesign and one issue published up to 12 months prior to the redesign. Submit by circulation range.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Improved quality of writing & copyediting
  • Improved quality of content 
  • Improved quality of design
  • Improved editorial & graphic unity
  • Improved quality of production

Best example of improved design, including writing, content, production, and editorial and graphic unity. All changes referenced in the entry must have been published in 2021. Submit URLs of one 2021 issue showing the redesign and one issue published up to 12 months prior to the redesign. Submit by circulation range.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Improved quality of writing & copyediting
  • Improved quality of content 
  • Improved quality of design
  • Improved editorial & graphic unity
  • Improved quality of production

Best example of improved design, including writing, content, production, and editorial and graphic unity. All changes referenced in the entry must have been published in 2021. Submit URLs of one 2021 issue showing the redesign and one issue published up to 12 months prior to the redesign. Submit by circulation range.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Improved quality of writing & copyediting
  • Improved quality of content 
  • Improved quality of design
  • Improved editorial & graphic unity
  • Improved quality of production

Best cover featuring an illustration without photographic elements. Submit a PDF of one cover.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Creativity & originality
  • Visual impact
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Selection of subject matter & theme

Best cover featuring a photograph with limited digital manipulation. Submit a PDF of one cover.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Creativity & originality
  • Visual impact
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Selection of subject matter & theme

Best cover featuring a photo-realistic illustration, photograph that has been significantly digitally manipulated, photo collage, or other uses of photography that go beyond a traditional photograph. Submit a PDF of one cover.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design 
  • Creativity & originality
  • Visual impact
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Selection of subject matter & theme

Best design of a feature article, showing effective and creative use of type, color, layout, and images supporting the ideas in the article. Submit by circulation range. Submit low-resolution/web-ready PDF of the feature article.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of design 
  • Creativity & originality 
  • Visual impact 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Selection of subject matter & theme

Best design of a feature article, showing effective and creative use of type, color, layout, and images supporting the ideas in the article. Submit by circulation range. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF of the  feature article.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of design 
  • Creativity & originality 
  • Visual impact 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Selection of subject matter & theme

Best design of a feature article, showing effective and creative use of type, color, layout, and images supporting the ideas in the article. Submit by circulation range. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF of the  feature article.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of design 
  • Creativity & originality 
  • Visual impact 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Selection of subject matter & theme

Best design of a feature article, showing effective and creative use of type, color, layout, and images supporting the ideas in the article. Submit by circulation range. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF of the  feature article.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of design 
  • Creativity & originality 
  • Visual impact 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Selection of subject matter & theme

Best focus on a single theme. The theme must comprise at least half of the issue’s total editorial pages. Freestanding supplements and advertorial material do not qualify. Submit by circulation range. Submit a URL of the issue.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of theme coverage  
  • Quality of design
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Quality of production

Best focus on a single theme. The theme must comprise at least half of the issue’s total editorial pages. Freestanding supplements and advertorial material do not qualify. Submit by circulation range. Submit a URL of the issue.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of theme coverage  
  • Quality of design
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Quality of production

Best focus on a single theme. The theme must comprise at least half of the issue’s total editorial pages. Freestanding supplements and advertorial material do not qualify. Submit by circulation range. Submit a URL of the issue.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of theme coverage  
  • Quality of design
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Quality of production

Best focus on a single theme. The theme must comprise at least half of the issue’s total editorial pages. Freestanding supplements and advertorial material do not qualify. Submit by circulation range. Submit a URL of the issue.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content
  • Quality of theme coverage  
  • Quality of design
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Quality of production

Best in-depth exploration of a single topic demonstrating thorough research where appropriate. Submit by circulation range. Submit article as a single, low-resolution/web-ready PDF.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Content
  • Writing 
  • Development of the subject 
  • Editing

Best in-depth exploration of a single topic demonstrating thorough research where appropriate. Submit by circulation range. Submit article as a single low-resolution/web-ready PDF.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Content
  • Writing 
  • Development of the subject 
  • Editing

Best in-depth exploration of a single topic demonstrating thorough research where appropriate. Submit by circulation range. Submit article as a single low-resolution/web-ready PDF.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Content
  • Writing 
  • Development of the subject 
  • Editing

Best in-depth exploration of a single topic demonstrating thorough research where appropriate. Submit by circulation range. Submit article as a single low-resolution/web-ready PDF.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Content
  • Writing 
  • Development of the subject 
  • Editing

Best opinion piece on an issue of significance to the membership. Submit article as a single, low-resolution/web-ready PDF.

Judge Criteria

  • Opinions and arguments
  • Creativity and originality
  • Background & perspective
  • Content
  • Writing
  • Development of the subject
  • Editing

Best signed column providing background and perspective on a topic of interest to the membership. Submit article as a single, low-resolution/web-ready PDF.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Opinions & arguments 
  • Creativity & originality 
  • Background & Perspective 
  • Content 
  • Writing 
  • Development of the subject 
  • Editing

JOURNALS

Journals are typically scholarly publications, whether written and edited by academics or by association staff. They report original research and include citations for sources. Many are peer reviewed in whole or in part.

Best writing, content, design and overall packaging. Submit low-resolution/web-ready PDFs of three consecutive issues.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content 
  • Quality of production

Best use of images and design that draws the reader into the text. Submit low-resolution/web-ready PDFs of three consecutive issues.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of design
  • Creativity & originality 
  • Visual impact
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Artwork 
  • Use of color

Best impact, originality, execution and editorial relevance. Submit a PDF of the cover.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of design
  • Creativity & originality 
  • Visual impact 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Selection of subject matter & theme

Best in-depth exploration of a single topic demonstrating thorough research where appropriate. Submit article as a single, low-resolution/web-ready PDF.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Content 
  • Writing 
  • Development of the subject 
  • Editing

NEWSLETTERS

Newsletters generally consist of short articles on issues, events and people important to the association’s audience. They typically have fewer pages than magazines and smaller pages than a newspaper.

Best writing, content, design, color palette, consistency, pacing of the content, user experience, and overall packaging of a printed or digital newsletter. Submit URLs to three consecutive issues, along with any access instructions for the judges. 

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality & effectiveness of content 
  • Ease of reading 
  • Appropriate length of articles 
  • Quality and effectiveness of design

Best example of a redesigned print or digital newsletter showing overall design and content improvement. Submit URLs of one 2021 issue showing the redesign and one issue published up to 12 months prior to the redesign. Include any access instructions for the judges.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Improved quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Improved quality of content 
  • Improved quality of design 
  • Improved editorial & graphic unity
  • Improved quality of production

Best writing in a printed or electronic newsletter. Submit a set of three articles as individual URLs from a single issue. Include any access instructions for the judges.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Content 
  • Writing 
  • Development of the subject 
  • Editing

Best combination of images and design that draw the readers into the text of a printed or digital newsletter. Submit URLs of three consecutive issues, along with any access instructions for the judges.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of design 
  • Creativity and originality 
  • Visual impact 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Artwork 
  • Use of color

NEWSPAPERS

Newspapers are printed and generally are larger in page size than newsletters and magazines.

Best writing, design and overall packaging. Design includes but is not limited to best combination of images, typography, footers, grid layout, and design, as well as consistent use of design elements, that push boundaries and draw the reader in. Submit low-resolution/web-ready PDFs of three consecutive issues. 

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of design 
  • Quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content 
  • Quality of production

Best writing. Submit low-resolution/web-ready PDFs of three articles from a single issue.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Content 
  • Writing 
  • Development of the subject
  • Editing

BOOKS

Loose-leaf products and advertising and marketing materials do not qualify.

Best writing and overall packaging of a printed or digital book written for a non-technical or lay audience. Submit a URL for the book, with any access or reading instructions judges may need.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Quality and effectiveness of writing & copyediting
  • Quality of content
  • Editorial & graphic unity 

Best writing and overall packaging of a printed or digital professional/technical book or textbook, written for a professional audience that has an understanding of the specialized knowledge of the profession or industry. Submit URL for the book, with any access or reading instructions judges may need.

Judge Criteria:

  • Quality of design
  • Quality and effectiveness of writing & copyediting
  • Quality of content

PROMOTIONAL CONTENT

Sales and marketing materials, including message and branding campaigns and content marketing takes many forms, from print or digital to a combination of the two.

Best overall interactivity and functionality in one or more social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube) to promote and build brand and community. Submit URLs to five posts, along with any access instructions for the judges.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Informs, instructs, entertains
  • Consistently responsive / actively present 
  • Creates a sense of community 
  • Followers, fans, views 
  • Links, video, photos, etc. 
  • Writing

Best campaign launched in 2021 consisting of at least three different communication vehicles (e.g., print publication, social media, website, video or podcast) with a common message, mission or theme. Submit low-resolution/web-ready PDFs of printed campaign materials and URLs for digital media. 

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality & effectiveness of content 
  • Continuity 
  • Quality of design 
  • Consistency 
  • Overall effectiveness

Best writing, content, and design of a targeted one-piece promotion. Advertisement must be created by or for an association, not an advertisement submitted by an advertiser to print in an association publication. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF of the advertisement.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality & effectiveness of content 
  • Continuity 
  • Quality of design 
  • Consistency
  • Overall effectiveness

Best writing, content and design of a targeted multiple-piece campaign. Advertisements must be created by or for an association, not advertisements submitted by an advertiser to print in an association publication. Entries may be print only or a combination of print and other media (at least three items in total). Submit low-resolution/web-ready PDFs of printed campaign materials and URLs for digital media.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality & effectiveness of content 
  • Continuity 
  • Quality of design 
  • Consistency 
  • Overall effectiveness

Best printed or digital annual report or “year in review” that projects a positive image for the association through well-written and well-organized content, excellent design and well-conceived packaging. The report does not need to include financial information. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF or a URL of the report.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & Effectiveness of Writing & Copyediting 
  • Quality & effectiveness of content 
  • Continuity
  • Quality of design 
  • Consistency 
  • Overall effectiveness 
  • Editorial & graphic unity

Best writing, content, design and overall packaging of a printed or digital monograph, report or other publication issued on a one-time or annual basis. Special reports are published separately from the association’s magazine, newsletter, newspaper or journal. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF or URL for the report. 

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality and effectiveness of content 
  • Continuity
  • Quality of design 
  • Consistency
  • Overall effectiveness
  • Editorial & graphic unity

Best presentation to advertisers, ad agencies or media buyers of a printed or digital media kit, evaluated on organization, clarity and results. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF or URL for the media kit. 

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content & message 
  • Ease of use
  • Quality of design 
  • Editorial & graphic unity  
  • Overall effectiveness

Best organization, clarity, design and overall packaging of a printed or digital directory, buyers’ guide or catalog for a membership audience. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF or URL for the entry. 

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting
  • Quality of content & message 
  • Ease of use 
  • Quality of design 
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Overall effectiveness

Best writing, content, design and overall packaging to deliver a compelling, action-oriented message. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF of the brochure.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality & effectiveness of content 
  • Quality & effectiveness of message 
  • Quality & effectiveness of design
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Quality of production 
  • Overall effectiveness

Best writing, content and design of a targeted, one-piece promotion, with or without a response card, of any size designed to be sent through the mail. Submit a low-resolution/web-ready PDF of the direct mail piece, including any special mailing envelope. 

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality & effectiveness of content 
  • Quality & effectiveness of message 
  • Quality & effectiveness of design 
  • Editorial & graphic unity
  • Quality of production
  • Overall effectiveness

Best writing, content and design of a targeted, multiple-piece promotion of any size, designed to be sent through the mail. Submit low-resolution/web-ready PDFs of the campaign materials, including any special mailing envelopes, labeled to show the sequence of the mailings. 

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality & effectiveness of content 
  • Quality & effectiveness of message 
  • Quality & effectiveness of design 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Quality of production
  • Overall effectiveness

Best writing, content, design and overall packaging of a printed or digital publication providing concise, on-site coverage in a clean and easy-to-read format. Submit URLs to material from two consecutive days, along with any access instructions for the judges. 

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content and message 
  • Quality of design 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Overall effectiveness

Best print or digital program presentation for convention attendees with an easy-to-follow format, comprehensive information and well-conceived design and execution. Submit a URL to the program, along with any access instructions for the judges.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content & message 
  • Quality of design 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Overall effectiveness

Rebranding is a marketing strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders. Submit eight total low-resolution/web-ready PDFs:

  • Three samples of pre-rebrand.
  • Three samples of post-rebrand.
  • Style Guide
  • Statement describing the objectives of the project approached as a case study with metrics. 

Judge Criteria: 

  • Improved quality of writing & copyediting 
  • Improved quality of content
  • Improved quality of design
  • Improved editorial & graphic unity 
  • Improved overall effectiveness

One example of an infographic that clearly and concisely presents information, processes or data consistent with the subject matter, target industry and voice of the publication. The example may stand as a series or package or as discrete examples reflecting an overall competency. Entries may include print or digital examples (including static or interactive graphics). Judges will consider the value and relevance of the information provided, the use of the medium, and how one supports the other. Entries should explain the context in which the work was originally delivered and how any public or third-party data was utilized. Upload one PDF.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality of design 
  • Creativity & originality 
  • Visual impact 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Selection of subject matter & theme

A campaign educating intended audience and boosting public awareness about an organization’s cause or issue. Required upload of:

  • Logo
  • Branding materials
  • Minimum of three example of collateral (print, digital, video, etc.)
  • Metrics

Submit all material as a low-resolution/web-ready PDF or provide a URL with access instructions, and label the items to show the sequence of the distributions.

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content 
  • Quality of message 
  • Quality of design
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Effective use of interactive elements 
  • Overall experience 
  • Overall effectiveness

Professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment for an association, non-profit client. Please provide low-resolution/web-ready PDFs or URLs for all aspects of your pro bono work. This work can be in any of the categories. Upon submitting to at least one paid category, the pro-bono category is free to enter. Limit one entry per company. 

Judge Criteria: 

  • Quality & effectiveness of writing & copyediting 
  • Quality of content 
  • Quality of message 
  • Quality of design 
  • Editorial & graphic unity 
  • Overall effectiveness