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Although there were 324 entries filed through the online submissions only 287 arrived in Austin for judging. Despite not being a runaway success as we had hoped and having to slash entry fees by half in the last seven days the biggest surprise was the quality of the entries that did arrive. Chuck Anderson, who has judged many competitions, remarked many times that this was probably one of the best quality competitions he had judged, especially as it related to the ratio of entries submitted to entries being really good. At one point he even asked “Where’s the bad stuff?”. The judges never felt like they had to struggle to find something worth awarding and, in fact, in the second and third round there were many notable projects that didn’t survive further scrutiny.

As we expected, the submissions were dominated by three main categories: Offset with 75 entries, Letterpress with 68, Silkscreen with 29. The Mix category received 54 entries. Other interesting tidbits: there were approximately 57 self-promotion projects, 55 business cards, 42 posters, and about 20 wedding invitations.


You can see some pictures of the judging on this Flickr set. Judges were each assigned a color bead. In the first round, each entry was laid out on a table with a white cup and a red cup. White means “in”, red means “out”. Judges placed a bead in the cup of their choice. Those entries with 0, 1, and 2 beads in “yes” were out. Those with 3, 4, or 5 beads advanced to the second round. This process took all morning and one more hour after lunch. Around 3:30 we were ready for the second round which is where things get interesting and decisions are made on what is in and out and the judges get to convince or un-convince the other judges about why an entry should be in or out.

I have always judged design competitions with other designers and the discussions mostly revolve around aesthetics and minor complaints about production. With our two printer judges, Bruno and Jessie, the discussions and considerations were as much about aesthetics as they were about type choices and they brought a very keen eye the exposed production flaws — and merits.


In the second round, we let our judges know that all winners will be assigned a rank: 5, 4, or 3. 5 being unanimous agreement that the entry is a winner. 4 being that one or two judges were not completely on board. 3 being that two or three judges were not completely on board. This helped the decision process tremendously. In the book and iPad publication you will be able to see these rankings. There were 99 winners, 34% of the submissions.

Notable Winners and Special Awards

Once all the winners were decided it was time to move on to selecting the Best of Category for each category, each judge’s picks, and the Best of Show. This process went smoothly and there was quick unanimous agreement on most selections. The only category that proved more difficult was offset because there were two strong pieces: a 1-color poster and a CMYK 366-page book. In the end they selected both as Best of Category, as they represent the different extremes that can be achieved through offset. Although the judges feared having to pick a Best of Show, the Great Gatsby Business Card print by The Heads of State was selected in less than 3 minutes after the judges looked at all the Best of Categories.

The final step was selecting the Special Awards, one for Sustainability and one for Radical Production. The judges read all the submissions and the two most notable entries quickly rose to the top: Foundry Communication’s annual report for the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada used make-ready sheets from their previous jobs that they completely reused for this job, no new paper was used; and Up Inc.’s and Flash Reproductions’s 0to100 book had everyone mesmerized with the absolutely stunning binding and the lusciously thick paper.

Other notable winners include The Mandate Press, who submitted 6 entries and walked away with 6 winners, the most by any entrant. Both Volume Inc. and RoAndCo had 4 winning submissions and Samarskaya, Hatch, Up Inc., and Measure each had 3 winning submissions.

UnderConsideration’s Salvage

As moderators of the judging process we noticed how easy it is for a few, strong entries to get lost in the shuffle of hundreds of other entries. So, as an addition to all the selections by our judges, UnderConsideration has selected a few more entries that we (Bryony and Armin) personally felt deserved an honorable mention in this year’s Awards, meant not to undermine our judges’ choices but to complement them. Over the years we have heard rumors of awards organizers slipping in work they want included, so we just wanted it to be perfectly open about it. The Salvage is something we did with the Brand New Awards as well and we will likely continue this in the future. On top of the 99 entries selected by the judges, we added 5 more for a total of 104 winners.


We would love to hear from those that thought about entering but in the end decided against it: What would make the FPO Awards more enter-able? We obviously realized that entry fees are an issue, but we can’t go to rock-bottom price because it’s not sustainable. Let us know. The results of this edition are really amazing and are very excited about the ensuing publication and would love to improve next year.


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FPO Awards, Winners


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This post was published in the original layout of FPO so all images are smaller. Project descriptions as well as production lessons are quoted in the main content area.

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Armin Vit

Editor of FPO and co-founder of UnderConsideration LLC.

More: Online / On Twitter


Date Published

June 16, 2011


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FPO (For Print Only), is a division of UnderConsideration, celebrating the reality that print is not dead by showcasing the most compelling printed projects.

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About UnderConsideration

UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Bloomington, IN. More…

blogs we publish

Brand New / Displaying opinions and focusing solely on corporate and brand identity work.

Art of the Menu / Cataloguing the underrated creativity of menus from around the world.

Quipsologies / Chronicling the most curious, creative, and notable projects, stories, and events of the graphic design industry on a daily basis.

products we sell

Flaunt: Designing effective, compelling and memorable portfolios of creative work.

Brand New Conference videos / Individual, downloadable videos of every presentation since 2010.

Prints / A variety of posters, the majority from our AIforGA series.

Other / Various one-off products.

events we organize

Brand New Conference / A two-day event on corporate and brand identity with some of today's most active and influential practitioners from around the world.

Brand Nieuwe Conference / Ditto but in Amsterdam.

Austin Initiative for Graphic Awesomeness / A speaker series in Austin, TX, featuring some of the graphic design industry's most awesome people.


Favorite Things we've Made / In our capacity as graphic designers.

Projects we've Concluded / Long- and short-lived efforts.

UCllc News / Updates on what's going at the corporate level of UnderConsideration.

The End