For more than 40 years, IABC’s Gold Quill Awards have recognized and awarded excellence in strategic communication worldwide. Gold Quill is the only awards program that honors the dedication, innovation and passion of communicators on a global scale.

Since 2008, more than 4,451 projects have been entered in the Gold Quill Awards.

While the style of the Gold Quill logo has changed through the years, the golden feather symbolizing a quill writing pen is a universal icon recognized throughout the industry.

Gold Quill Awards TimelineKayStaib

1971 | Gold Quill starts as a category of the IABC Awards program, which draws more than 1,250 entries in five categories. The four main categories are design, writing, photography and auto safety, while the Gold Quill honors overall excellence in communications programs.

Kay Staib of IABC Toronto is the very first Gold Quill Award winner for Project Pride, an effort to promote shopping and working near the 15 Eaton department stores in Ontario. She calls winning a Gold Quill Award “the biggest shock of my life.”

1972 | Two new categories are added to the IABC Awards: Audio Visual and the Bill Irby Memorial Award, named after a former IABC president.

1973 | Gold Quill Awards becomes an independent program, with the same categories as the IABC Awards.

1984 | Pop culture darlings the Cabbage Patch Kids influence the Gold Quill Awards, as this CW magazine cover shows.CWimage

1991 | The Call for Entries is first published in both Spanish and French, and entries are accepted in both of these languages.

2009 | Social media is added as an award category for the first time.

2014 | The Change Communication category is added to the Communication Management Division.

2015 | The Communication Skills Division was updated to make it simpler to enter, with an online entry form to support the work sample instead of a four-page work plan. Six new special awards were added to the program, including IABC Gold Quill … of the Year awards, presented to agencies, corporate communication team and nonprofit team of the year.

2016 | The number of categories available for entrants has been streamlined to make entering easier.