The envelope category of the 2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards—and every iteration—is unique for a few reasons. First, it is the only category where judges examine both sides of an entry. Granted there is a window on most envelopes which eats up a not-insignificant portion of one side, and many opt for a solid color on a large portion, but losing package real estate to that window only means there is less remaining space to hide imperfections, and a single-color design only accentuates anything other than a perfect solid ink laydown.

Second, because envelopes are so small and their repeats come in the form of multiple individual examples (rather than a full web), the entries are the easiest to handle. Envelope judges—this year’s group consisted of Andy Schipke of W+D North America, Cyndi Bowers of Continental Envelope, Bill Rund of Mac Papers Envelope, Joe Krstulic of INX International, Katie Graham of Pamarco and FTA Hall of Famer Arleen Neustein of New Excelsior, all overseen by newly minted FTA Hall of Fame Member Lon Robinson of Tension Corp—are often caught in pictures with their faces completely obscured, envelopes drawn to less than an inch from their faces.

It also means they only need to leave their seats to grab a drink or when it’s time to line up all the entries and deliberate awards.

And in 2018 specifically, the envelope category is unique because of its precipitous drop in bronze awards. Judges this year awarded 67 percent fewer bronze honors than in 2017 and the smallest number by far in the last half-decade. The number of gold awards was average—four this year; it jumps between three and five every year—and the number of silver awards even more average—five this year; either four or five every year.

Envelope Judges

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Envelope Judges WEB

Envelope Awards, 2014-2018

But the number of bronze awards plummeted, and a look at the judges’ scoring sheets offers one possible explanation why: an abundance of lower individual scores on those degree of difficulty and level of execution criteria. Registration rated four-four-four. A “three” for fineness of print. Several entries with across-the-board sevens and eights on all categories failed to grab an award. Where the numbers don’t tell the whole story, the comments do: “Blacks could be darker.” “Lack of detail.” “Register needs to be improved.” “Ink looks mottled.” “Rosette patterns visible in many areas.”

“Once you’ve seen what is possible, it’s difficult to offer an award to anything that doesn’t meet that standard or improve upon it,” comments Graham, who says the solid coverage and difficult flesh tones were what stood out the most to her. “I would imagine as printers continue to push the envelope (ha!) and think outside of the box (ha!), the competition will remain intense.”

The most exemplary envelope was the TruGreen Welcome to Tru-Green Envelope, printed by Mac Papers Envelope Converters Inc; it took Best of Show honors in the category. “175 linescreen with a high-linescreen anilox produced a beautiful, subtle image that was a very good match to proof,” judges explained.

See the Envelope Winners

View each award winner, see the printers behind them and read what judges had to say, all in the May issue of FLEXO Magazine.

See the envelope winners in the 2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards →

See All the Winners in the 2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards

Wide Web

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Wide Web

See the winners →

Mid Web

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Mid Web

See the winners →

Narrow Web

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Narrow Web

See the winners →

Combined Corrugated

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Combined Corrugated

See the winners →

Preprinted Linerboard

2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Preprinted Linerboard

See the winners →


2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Envelope

See the winners →


2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Self-Promotion

See the winners →


2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Non-Traditional

See the winners →


2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards Winners Student

See the winners →