The Custom Publishing Council’s Pearl Awards began four years ago as a lunch in Northwestern University’s student union. Four years later, the event has moved up—literally—to a dinner, held last night at the Pegasus Suite of the Rainbow Room, 64 floors above Rockefeller Center in New York.

Last night’s awards were presented by Samir Husni, journalism professor at the University of Mississippi, and Laurel Touby, founder, who called herself the “straight man to Samir’s wild man.”

Gold winners for best overall design in three circ-based categories (less than 50,000; 50,000-250,000; and more than 250,000) were, first respectively, a tie between Logistics (Kircher Burkhardt for Deutsche Bahn AG) and SIGnature (Pace Communications for Bluetooth); second, a tie between STIR (Hanley Wood Marketing for Sherin-Williams) and Momentum (Journal Interational Verlags for Glashutte Original Watches); and third, Pure Canada (Spafax for Canadian Tourism Commission).

Best overall editorial for publications with circ less than 50,000; 50-250,000; and more than 250,000 were, respectively, awarded to synnovation (D Custom for EDS), The Ritz-Carlton (McMurry), and Lexus (Story Worldwide).

The award for Best in Custom, honoring overall excellence, was a tie between Lexus and STIR. The silver award went to Spirit, put out by Pace Communications (who, as Touby noted, “really cleaned up,” with seven of their publications taking home either a gold, silver, or bronze). Bronze went to Amp’d, a Magner Sanborn publication.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Simon Kelly, chief operating officer of Story Worldwide and founder of the Custom Publishing Council.

For a full list of winners, visit