Recognizing Artistic Excellence


Since 1958, PPAI has recognized the pinnacle of excellence with its annual Pyramid Awards. Sixteen categories comprise the awards for Supplier Decorating including Castings, Combination of Processes, Customized Non-Catalog Product, Dome, Embroidery I, Embroidery II, Etching/Engraving/Laser, Large Format Printing, Mascot/Character Product, Metal Striking, Print on Hard Surfaces, Print on Textiles, PVC Patch/Product, Special Applications, Special Processes and Supplier/Distributor Collaboration. In 2020, these 26 awards were presented to celebrate the outstanding design skills and craftsmanship of industry suppliers.


Indiana Metal Crafts’ impressive casting for First Federal Bank features buildings and landmarks in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Much consideration was given to the composition before a digital rendering was produced, followed by the die and production molds. Centrifugally casting the medallion in fine pewter, oxidizing and hand-buffing with a clear finish accentuates the fine details of this historic city.

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This spot-on portrait sculpt is the prominent feature of this medallion, which features an expertly hand-textured background. Artisans skillfully captured the look and essence of the subject. Using a multiple-step molding procedure, the piece was centrifugally cast in fine pewter. After casting, the medallion underwent an oxidizing, hand-buffing and brass finish process prior to assembly.

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Spector & Co. collaborated with McCabe Promotional Advertising in this stunning hard-cover journal that showcases multiple branding options. The Neokin journal features a full-cover, four-color printing process, an indented dome and a heat-transferred liner, which was then enclosed in a notebook wrap also featuring a full-cover, four-color print process, and a window cutout to frame the domed accent.

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This stock piece, created by Prestige Glass, is a seven-inch circle of clear starfire glass, flanked by two supporting granite accent pieces. Combining the brilliance and adaptability of full-color digital printing, both opaque and transparent, with the visual and tactile, chiseled texture of deep etching, gives this piece a vintage, tropical design that highlights the surfing lifestyle and the environment.

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This custom-made “Cointainer” was produced for a company that specializes in metal powders and alloys used in the development of military and space engines. The metal coin was precision-die-cast in a zinc alloy and includes a plastic insert that acts as a container when assembled.

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WB Mason Office Products and Gemline collaborated to create a custom cooler in the shape and likeness of a WB Mason Office Products truck. The company purchased 16,000 coolers as a holiday gift for employees and customers. 

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Smile Direct Club was looking for a custom gift to recognize its “unicorn” status by reaching a $1 billion value. StoneyCreek’s design team created a virtual set of cast stone ideas, including the selected unicorn-shaped phone holder. For a subtle look, the pattern was deep etched, molded and cast in white stone material, giving a tone-on-tone effect with the client’s purple logo UV-printed on the piece. The end result was a functional desk piece that held a phone and commemorated their achievement.

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This custom-designed serving tray was sand-carved and spray painted with PMS-matched enamel paint, and each small detail was hand-painted to create a design that was truly matchless.

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This unique, modern award design reflects the ingenuity of the Elite Truck line for top dealers. It was custom built with modern elements of aluminum, glass and weight for high-perceived value. The production required a superior manufacturing process that involved precision CNC machinery and a water-jet cutter for its creation. 

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Ads on Magnets developed a domed 60-millimeter magnet, which can be customized with mutable shapes. These magnets are custom die-cut using each cruise line’s unique campaign, which entailed creating customized door signs for each guest. The magnets were designed to look and feel elegant, providing passengers with a high-quality, personalized keepsake to remember their cruise experience.

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This small and wonderful embroidery showcases how a complex and detailed logo can transform into an embroidered masterpiece and create a big impact. At just under 10,000 stitches, the distinct use of typography, variation in gradients and a detailed background helps bring Fly Yuma to life. Terry Town’s ability to recreate a desert sunset with the use of nine different thread colors captured what Yuma International Airport was looking for: a tiny but mighty logo.

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The Naval Support Facility in Deveselu challenged Vantage Apparel artists to produce an embroidered logo small enough and light enough to work as a left-chest logo on a performance polo while maintaining the intricacy and small details in the design. Creative color choices, including metallic gold thread and precise placement of running stitches during digitizing, were used to produce a visually stunning logo.

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The Princeville Resort and Spa in Kauai pampered their guests with embroidered beach towels made using a stitch count of 67,000. The fine stitching shows a color gradient of the water and varying thread patterns to highlight the dolphin’s fins. 

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Puff embroidery and sparkle twill applique supercharge this sleek, full-chest hoodie logo designed to excite fans on race day. The stats are as impressive as the design itself: 29,485 stitches, 18 steps, eight thread colors and four appliqué colors, resulting in a sleek, dimensional logo on the performance hoodie.

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Prestige Glass International was commissioned to decorate an annual award for a dragon boat festival. Provided with logos and text, Prestige was free to develop the major thematic artwork and its method of presentation. A dynamic, stylized drawing of a dragon is the focal point of the piece, mastered by classic etching techniques employing UV-sensitive masking film and high-pressure carbide sand-blasting on a sparkling starfire glass with chipped edges.

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A+ Wine Designs used the characteristics of a traditional olive oil label to tell the story of an attorney’s history. The selected colors reflect the company’s brand and the artwork features the attorney’s location in downtown San Diego, as well as the business establishment date. The olive oil bottle was sand-carved, sprayed with white PMS-enamel paint and hand-painted with yellow PMS-enamel paint, creating a stunning work of art.

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Plush Chemo Duck is the heart and soul of Gabe’s My Heart charitable organization. These ducks are given to children with cancer as they undergo chemotherapy, accompanying them to therapy sessions and receiving the same treatments as the child. The ducks act as a friendly face to share in the emotionally and physically draining process and helps alleviate fear and anxiety. Thousands of ducks are manufactured every year and distributed in more than 100 hospitals nationwide.

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To celebrate its 25th anniversary, NVIDIA selected a solid brass coin from Indiana Metal Craft to serve as a commemorative service award. The complex design was converted to digital sculpt for die-milling, with attention to levels, details and consideration of die life. The resulting coin was oxidized, hand-buffed, clear-coated and color-filled.

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For the 136th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus, a brass medallion was commissioned to be minted by Indiana Metal Craft. The landmark Baltimore Basilica was digitally sculpted with impressive relief and clean, refined detail, while the Archbishop of Baltimore’s seal was elegantly presented on the reverse. This beautiful medallion was hand-finished, edge-engraved with limited-edition, sequential numbering.

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Iona College’s annual tradition of giving a commemorative ornament depicting a building or landmark on its campus continues with this beautiful ornament. This piece used a combination of artisanal die-making, high-relief casting, skillful print registration and color matching. 

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This organization’s series of service awards by Prestige Glass was created using a photo of Kodiak bears in a sunlit pasture. The starfire piece with polished top- and side-chipped edges was a perfect choice to accommodate digital printing. Layering of artwork elements and adjustments in color, resolution, brightness and level of transparency for optimal visual effect bring this stunning piece to life. 

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Towel Specialties worked closely with its client to create a beautifully sublimated 50-inch by 60-inch Mansfield Sherpa blanket to promote the upcoming summer release of Toy Story 4. 

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The 100-percent digital print scarf incorporates original artwork commissioned for Aboriginal Shelters of Ontario by artist Leah Dorion and includes a custom private-woven label. The sheer transparency of the fabric lends a modern twist to the traditional art featured on the scarf.

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The client displayed the 3D Holographic Projectors at a series of Japanese-themed food events. The flying logo and sake bottles wowed crowds and brought in many thirsty trade-show attendees to sample their cold, filtered sake from their attractive pink bottle. The projectors also come with a software app that allows users to take photos and videos, and quickly convert images and video to project on the 3D holograms. This allowed end users the unique opportunity to capture real-time audience participation at their tastings.

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Promo PSI’s two-color hot stamp process creates a tight registration that brings attention to the detail in the watercolor-painted flower. Using two setups to run the aqua foil, then the gold foil to overlap with the flower creates a stunning bag any customer would be proud to carry.

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BAG MAKERS partnered with Four Star Marketing to create printed plastic bags for the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals product launch targeting massage therapists. The unique design featured a digital full-color imprint of human leg muscles in profile with strategically placed handles, which gave the illusion that the leg muscles on the bag were the customer’s legs.  

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Tina Berres Filipski is editor of PPB.

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