Cheers to the ’23 N@*N Winners!

Those who attended *Noted in San Francisco last week will doubtless agree with me that it was quite the whirlwind! I know I can’t be the only one currently navigating a seemingly endless inbox as I attempt to settle back into the Eastern Time Zone.

So while this is now a typical Monday for me, sitting in front of my monitor writing with a cup of coffee for company, the entire Noted@*Noted Awards (N@*N for short) feel like a wacky dream. Did my Noted@*Noted subcommittee really design a display — with endless help from the brilliant United Presentation Concepts — that enabled me to “flip” winners like Vanna White during the awards ceremony Thursday? Was I really wearing a paper dress, courtesy of Paper Design House? Did we then kick off Friday with a fabulous finalist and winner parade, led by none other than unofficial Greeting Card Association (GCA) mayor Carlos Llanso? Really?!?

Yes, it all happened — the evidence is all over Instagram! But, as much as I would love to deeply delve into the fittingly quirky N@*N festivities — all spearheaded by Civica’s Nora, Kori, Mary and Endsley, who exhibit endless patience herding all the GCA cats — these awards focused on cutting-edge greeting card design.

Thus I refuse to be distracted by kazoos, paper dresses, or handmade award ribbons. Hat’s off to all the winners — each released after January 1, 2023 — making them as fresh as they are fierce. Beneath each I included the info judges reviewed with the entry. Please imagine a kazoo kicking off as we begin our stroll through the N@*N virtual winner’s circle.


Inspiration behind range?

“This product came as a natural progression from the Zero Waste Postcard Calendar we introduced last year. The assortment of twelve postcards is the perfect way to highlight the incredible artwork from many of the artists we work with. Selfishly, it is also a way for us not to have to make the hard choices we are often faced with when picking art for our greeting cards 🙂 . Packaging the sets with our seed paper belly band aligns with our commitment to reach zero waste! The premium embossed paper is TREE FREE and the info sheet (the only component you don’t mail) has a bonus 4×6 art print on the back — take the cardboard stiffener, mount your print and you complete your zero waste journey!

“We feel postcard sending is not just something we do while on vacation anymore. Postcard sending is the next best thing to sending a greeting card and there is something special about the message we write being “”out in the open” — honest, exposed: “This is me letting you (and everyone else!) know that you are special to me, that I miss you, that I am thinking of you, that I love you….”” — Libby Llanso

Pier Six Press

Inspiration behind design?

“On a rare occasion a card pops into my head fully formed — this is one.” — Karen Sawyer-Meehan

Odd Daughter Co.

Inspiration behind design?

“Apache Plume is native to the Southwest, and their spring and summer blossoms transition to fall and winter feathers. They manage to be perfectly delicate while also sturdy enough to survive in the desert. I always enjoy seeing them in the wild and thought they’d make a lovely card design.” — Michelle Hart

2021 Co.

Inspiration behind design?

“This design comes straight from my kids. They truly DO love their teacher this year, and I wanted a more personal thank you card for them to give that spells out just how they feel! And then of course, I wanted to paint some fun letters 🙂 This card has been flying out in orders since its launch, which makes us so happy!” — Emily King


Inspiration behind design?

“It may not polka, it may lack stripes, and it has no checkered past, but this Western Toile has everything Southwest going on! We love the color palette and the use of empty spaces and discovering new details every time we pick up this card.” — Libby Llanso

Spacepig Press

Inspiration behind design?

“A counterbalance to all the saccharine odes to SuperMoms, this card celebrates moms who did their best, even if it never felt like enough.” — Christine Byrne

Inklings Paperie

Inspiration behind design?

“A big round hippo is guaranteed to put a smile on their face! Wish them a hippo birthday with this fun pop-up card.” — Lindsay Henry


Inspiration behind design?

“As both Lesley & I are moms, we know the joy that comes with motherhood. But while being a mom is fulfilling, it can also simultaneously be the hardest, most soul sucking job you’ll ever have. Privacy? Peace & quiet? Self care? What even are those? This card perfectly captures the exhaustion and humor of being a mom.” — Tracey Wikenhieser

Calypso Cards

Inspiration behind design?

“This beautiful support card reminds us that even if we don’t feel like we are making progress, we are! The little things add up, which is important to remember!” — Nicky Burton


Inspiration behind design?

“We love the juxtaposition of the fierce yet fashionable Mama Bear! How can she not be the unofficial mascot of *Noted 2023? She represents the fierceness of our (mostly!) women owned publishers. She balances her roles, be they mother, maker, or business bear, who truly do it all and still find the time to support, lift and protect all the members of the pack.” — Libby Llanso

Congratulations winners — specifically Seedlings, who took a triple crown! That Mama Bear is definitely the ’23 Noted mascot in my book. (I am also of the opinion that just like baseball, greeting card awards tend to be a streaky sport — just review Louie Awards winners over the last 25 years or so to see what I mean.)

And, endless thanks to our spectacular judging panel for reviewing that record number of 238 entries. Let’s all take a moment to tip our hats to: Dan Collier, Daniel Richards Showrooms (Atlanta & Dallas) as well as the retail venues Archer Paper Goods (five locations and counting) and The Merchant Atlanta at Krog Street Market; Chandra Greer, GREER Chicago; Pei Sim, The Paper + Craft Pantry, Austin, Texas; Kate Strzok, Broadway Paper, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With so much great design to navigate, all those who made it to the finalist round should be super-proud as well.

I am already thinking of ways to outdo this year’s festivities in ’24 — and want to hear from you! If you are not already a member, please consider joining the Greeting Card Association and getting involved. There’s always room at our community table for another chair.