The World Label Awards (WLA) began in 1991 as an informal "Ryder Cup" like contest between the associations of Europe (FINAT) and North America (TLMI), both of which have well-established regional competitions. In the course of the years other regional associations joined. Geographies that are currently participating include TLMI (North America), JFLP (Japan), LMAI (India), LATMA (Australia), SALMA (New Zealand), PEIAC (China) and FINAT (Europe). With ABIEA (Brazil) and Ametiq (Mexico), Latin America is expected to follow soon.
The changes agreed upon at the L9 meeting in Chicago at Labelexpo Americas last September reflect the evolution of label markets and label converting technology. The new format of the World Label Awards comprises 22 classes which recognizes "technical excellence" in the different technologies as the main differentiator. The exception being the wine and spirits class, which has separate classes within those technologies. All other segments compete against each other. This arrangement gives many other converters an opportunity to win an award.
The 22 category winners for 2012 were selected by a panel, chaired by Tony White (FINAT), which also consisted of one nominee from each participating association. The winners will be announced in February next year.
The 22 category winners were also the finalists of a new, prestigious L9 "Best-of-the-Best" global awards to be celebrated annually on the occasion of the Labelexpo shows held in September.
The L9 Best-of-the-Best awards, perhaps to become the "Oscars of the label industry," will honor the most outstanding labels in each of the 5 major label printing technologies:
• Offset Litho
• Combination Printing
• Digital Printing
The first L9 Best-of-the-Best awards will be presented during the Labelexpo Global Awards gala on the first evening of Labelexpo Europe 2013 in Brussels.