Rebranding a Competition Recognizing the Printing Industry's Best Products


This year, PRINTING United Alliance is presenting a new awards program that brings together two legacy competitions to recognize printing industry suppliers’ game-changing technologies, products, and software.

Called the Pinnacle Awards, this program includes the Pinnacle Product Awards competition, a rebranding of the Product of the Year awards competition — exclusive to PRINTING United Alliance supplier members — that has become a staple of the PRINTING United Expo. For nearly 15 years, manufacturers have competed across different categories — broken down into output (print devices) and non-output (equipment, substrates, software, etc.) — for the Product of the Year title. Last year saw 87 categories, with a winner awarded in 71 of them. The competition is friendly but fierce, with some categories generating more than 10 entries seeking this coveted award that will now be the Pinnacle Product Award.

Past Product of the Year Award Entry The competition has always been judged by industry experts that review and score each entry. For 2020, we had nine judges reviewing the non-output entries that included textiles, laser cutters, vinyl, automation equipment, software, screen print presses, digital inks, and more. On the output side, manufacturers print two color targets that generate a report card detailing the color fidelity of the printing device. The best report card triumphs as the award winner in each category. Last year also saw a competition first, as the Alliance introduced an online product gallery where people could check out the entries in advance of the winners’ announcement. This allowed for seeing all entries in each category to give a better feel for the competition.

Also introduced in 2020 were digital badges that manufacturers could display on their social media posts and websites. Embedded in each of the winning badges was meta-data about what the award was given for and what it took to earn it. It’s exciting to see this competition continue to evolve into a world-class competition with objective judging for the output devices and more judges sharing input and scoring on the non-output categories, which I believe makes this an even stronger competition moving forward.

The new Pinnacle Product Awards competition is now open, and accepting entries through July 31. Be sure to check out the virtual gallery to see what products are represented in each category and fellow current entrants. 

Then, mark your calendars for Sept. 3, when the winners in each of those categories will be announced make sure you're attending PRINTING United, Oct. 6-8, in Orlando, Fla., to walk the floor and see the winning products that are represented at the show!

Ray Weiss
Since joining PRINTING United Alliance in 2014, Ray Weiss has assisted members with information on digital printing as well as digital equipment, materials, and vendor referrals. While overseeing the Alliance's training and certification workshops, he is project manager for both the PDAA Certification and Alliance's Digital Color Professional Certification programs, and is an instructor for Alliance Color Management Boot Camps. Ray regularly contributes to the PRINTING United Journal and won the 2016 Swormstedt Award for Best in Class writing in the Digital Printing category. Ray was inducted into the Academy of Screen and Digital Printing Technologies (ASDPT) in 2020. He also works with SkillsUSA to conduct the National Competition for Graphics Imaging Sublimation. Outside of work, Ray enjoys biking, international cuisine and spending time with his three fantastic grandkids.