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Commentary & Analysis

When Fear Won Out

By Noel Ward,

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: November 10, 2006

By Noel Ward, Executive Editor August 22, 2006 Fear won out. This is not something most people would care to admit, but Monica Eun-Kyung Yoon, a design student at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City was pleased to have Fear take center stage. That's because Fear, the book she wrote, designed and produced took the Best of Show Award at the 2006 PIXI Awards. PIXI “Best of Show” winner “Fear” by Toppan Printing Company America, Inc. and graphic design student Monica Eun-Kyung Yoon Yoon's nervy, edgy book was a monochromatic vision of fears common to all people, but perhaps especially so in this uncertain age. Fear of Expression and Judgment. Of the Future and Loneliness. Of Pain and Loss. In the book these key words leach out of astigmatism-testing patterns, searing themselves onto your retinas. Turn a page and your eyes sweep powerful black-and-white images on chalk-white coated paper. Sparse, taut words ask, "What door to open now?" or "At the end, is everyone alone?" The oversized, manually assembled case-bound book, complete with dust jacket and attractive end-papers, was the entry judges kept coming back to. Throughout the judging it kept edging up in the ratings. No other entry had the pull of this volume. 2006 PIXI Best of Show—(L to R, Quincy Allen, Gavin Smith of Toppan Printing, Monica Eun-Kyung Yoon, Fumio Kato, Vince Totten, Valerie Blauvelt) Fear won because it towered over more than 300 entries of the 2006 PIXI Awards, the annual design and print competition held by Xerox to showcase some of the best digital print work of the year. The PIXI Awards, shorthand for Printing Innovation with Xerox Imaging, is an international print design competition with the primary requirement that a portion of the entry must have been produced on some type of Xerox digital print engine. The program circles the globe with the judging and awards done on what is essentially a hemispherical basis: Europe (including the Middle East, Asia and Africa) and the Americas (North, South and Central America) each having its own set of awards. I was honored to be one of seven judges for the Xerox PIXI Awards for the Americas and while it was a visual, intellectual and professional treat to see so much great work in one place, it was challenging to select the ones that truly rose above the rest. “Ralph Lauren Accessories Book” by TBC Digital of Fairfield, N.J., received first place in the Digital Books and Manuals category The judging criteria were degree of innovation, use of digital technology (not limited to Xerox), business effectiveness, and overall aesthetics. “Fishing for New Business” by Astoria Graphics Inc. of New York, N.Y., took home first place in the Variable Print/1:1 Marketing Communications category These were applied against entries in four categories: Variable Print/1:1 Marketing Communications, Digital Books and Manuals, Short-run Digital Color, and Monochrome and Highlight Color. An additional award was given to the Best Use of Xerox Supplies. “Yen Vo Calendar” by Salem State College of Salem, Mass., a first place winner in the Short-Run Digital Color category. DataMart Direct Inc. of Hanover Park, Ill., received first place in the Monochrome and Highlight Color category with its “GE Wellness Welcome Kit” As we circled the tables and studied the entries a few things stood out. * Three winning entries were from design school students who are mastering digital technology and using it now. If this is what they do in college, one can only imagine what they'll do as they mature as artists. * There were several first-rate Latin American entries, with a different look and feel to their designs than we normally see in North America. One took third place in the Variable Print category and three earned honorable mentions. Great design is great design, no matter where it comes from, and digital technology levels the playing field. * Artists and designers--seasoned pros and students alike-- are using a very wide range of software, print engines and finishing equipment to achieve the results they desire. They are using the right tools for the job and getting excellent results. They push the limits of the technology while pushing the envelope on their own creativity. * A wide range of Xerox digital presses and printers were used to create the entries. The last point is notable. I went in expecting to be looking at a lot of pages off many different iGen3s. That was a given. But I didn't expect to see winning entries and honorable mentions produced on mid-range machines like the DocuColor 3535, older ones like the DocuColor 2060 or smaller boxes like the DocuColor 240/250 or the Phaser 7750. Monochrome and highlight color entries were produced on DocuTech 6135s and DocuPrint 92Cs. Digital printing has come to be a superb asset for many types of artists and designers. Not only has it become a mainstay for everything from proofing to final production, it has opened new creative and business opportunities for thousands of creatives. Their everyday work is easy to find in targeted direct mail pieces, short-run books, fine art prints, vehicle and building wraps, marketing collateral and more. But some of the work being produced today on digital presses is simply breathtaking in its creativity, design and execution. As with any art, though, not enough people get to see and appreciate the best of the work being done. The PIXI Awards, much like the Clios and Caples of advertising and direct marketing, give more people the chance to see just how far the digital envelope can be pushed.



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