By Noel Ward, Executive Editor June 6, 2006 -- Want to spend some time Down Under? Maybe spend a week or so in the Serengeti? Or enjoy some leisurely days under the Tuscan sun? Wherever you want to go, the opportunity awaits, at least if you're a creative designer with an eye for innovation with digital printing. For the fifth year running, Xerox is calling for entries to the 2006 PIXI Awards, a multinational competition created to recognize excellence and innovation in digital printing. The prizes are travel certificates for the winning entrants and contributing team members. The top award is a $10,000 travel certificate for the best in show. The PIXI Awards (Printing Innovation with Xerox Imaging) are the digital printing world's equivalent of the Caples Awards in Direct Marketing, but with the twist that they must be produced on Xerox digital presses. Innovation and excellence are prime criteria, but the judging looks for more. The contest will also recognize the synergy of creative professionals, commercial printers, and clients that results in compelling, high-value, business-generating applications--that are also a pleasure to behold. It's always fun--and inspiring--to see the whole range of work that's out there and just how truly good some people are at their craft. Judged by experts representing key segments of the graphic communications industry, the entries will be evaluated on overall aesthetics, business effectiveness, use of Xerox digital technology and degree of innovation. I have been honored to be among the judges this year and I'm looking forward to seeing some of the top creative work first hand. It's always fun--and inspiring--to see the whole range of work that's out there and just how truly good some people are at their craft. Entrants can submit work to any or all of four categories: * Variable print/one-to-one marketing communications : Targeted and data-driven printed materials produced from variable text and graphics, such as direct-mail marketing, promotional materials, customized brochures, and coupons designed and personalized for specific audiences. * Digital books and manuals: Any multiple-page finished document, such as fiction books, photography books, textbooks and manuals. * Short-run digital color: High-quality color materials that have been produced in low-quantity with digital printing, including jobs where offset color printing is not as cost-effective as digital printing. Items include point-of-purchase materials, posters, product brochures and marketing material. * Monochrome and highlight color: Any high-volume transactional print job printed in black-and-white or black and one color, such as statements, bills, training manuals, product documentation, newsletters and fliers. Submission to the PIXI Awards contest is free, and entries are accepted from the United States, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. (The PIXI Awards for European and Asian countries took place in the spring.) Entries will be accepted through midnight July 17, and must be produced using Xerox digital printing presses. The winners will be announced at Graph Expo, the major commercial printing trade show to be held in Chicago October 15-18. For complete information on the 2006 PIXI Awards, including an online entry form, judging criteria, judge biographies, and information on past winners and applications, visit www.xerox.com/pixi. The winning entries last year were spectacular, and I know some artists, designers, printers and clients are already hard at work getting their best stuff ready for judging. So get your best work all dressed up--and let us see it. And if you win, please send us a postcard.