The Paperboard Packaging Council’s (PPC) 2018 North American Paperboard Packaging Competition will feature a new category for folding cartons and rigid boxes manufactured using digital technology. The new category, as well as redesigned trophies, celebrate the competition’s 75-year legacy while looking ahead to the future.

“We’ve been seeing more and more digitally-converted cartons in our competitions,” said Ben Markens, president of PPC. “After a big showing in the 2017 competition, we’ve decided to make a new category so that these digital entries can be adjudicated based on their similar qualities and manufacturing processes.”

Markens went on to state that the digital category should help these entries do better in the competition. Rather than being judged against tried-and true converting processes, the digital cartons will compete against others manufactured using new technologies. This should not only spotlight promising digital processes, it should also help converters to get better at using them.

In addition to the digital and general categories, the competition features two other special categories. The Innovation category ranks cartons that were converted using new and unique (non-digital) techniques or with innovative substrates, inks, laminates, or coatings. In the Eco category, cartons are evaluated on how they replaced less sustainable substrates or how they decreased waste, utilized recycled/recyclable materials, or promoted clean production processes.

The competition will be adjudicated in July by a panel of judges at PPC’s headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts. The panel may award each entry a Gold, Silver, or Boxmaker award in its respective category. The competition’s top awards include Paperboard Package of the Year, Folding Carton of the Year, Rigid Box of the Year, the Innovation Award, the Eco Award, and the Digital Application Award.

To celebrate the winning entries, PPC has introduced redesigned 75th anniversary award trophies as well. PPC worked with Seattle designer, Cathy Shilts of Dimensional Imaging, to create the new custom awards. Shilts has designed for companies like Starbucks and Boeing in the past. Made from brushed aluminum and glass, the new awards offer a unique, modern look.

“For the past 75 years, PPC’s North American Paperboard Packaging Competition has honored excellence in the industry while identifying new trends and challenges,” said Markens. “With changes like the new digital category and award trophies, we are positioning the competition to excel will into its next 75 years!”

The winners of the 2018 annual North American Paperboard Packaging Competition will be revealed at PPC’s Fall Meeting and Leadership Conference, October 24-26, 2018, in Atlanta, Ga.

PPC will accept submissions from member companies until mid-June. For more information, visit