Small studios do win big awards.
In the recently-announced 2013 Caribbean Advertising Federation Addy Awards, the coveted 2013 Best of Show Overall Award went to a little-known, Trinidad-based design studio called Everything Slight Pepper.
Everything Slight Pepper stole the spotlight for its package design for the 3ZERO Caribbean brand of spirits. It was also awarded Judges' Choice for Package Design. The ADDY Awards are sponsored by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), and are the advertising industry's most comprehensive and prestigious competition.
With this coveted win, Jeunanne Alkins, creative director of Everything Slight Pepper, has found her company thrust into the spotlight.
Specialising in publication design and branding, Everything Slight Pepper is committed to a core principle–everything is creative. It develops concepts that are in tune with their context and audience, and pushes boundaries in technology, creative thought, design and innovation to effectively communicate stories. Everything Slight Pepper (ESP) also started ESPjr, which is dedicated to producing Caribbean-themed content for children.
"This is actually the first time Everything Slight Pepper has entered," Alkins says. "I had always assumed that the Addys were only geared towards big agencies and mega campaigns, so I had dismissed the idea to enter until the very last minute, after some associates insisted that I give it a try. We entered in only one category.
"So to see that we won Best of Show Overall out of 678 entries from agencies all over the Caribbean...It's just amazing. I really hope it encourages other small teams to step up and take a shot. I'm dedicating this win to them."
Everything Slight Pepper received high praises from ADDY Awards judges, who commended their design for elegant typography, super design elements on the origami-inspired label, frosted pattern, cap and cork, and the seal on top. They also highlighted the bottle's beautiful, long neck and high-shouldered bottle design, and the wonderful photography.
Alkins is also psyched about the win, since she used a small, all-female design team–herself as creative director, and graphic artist, Shelley Ann Scott–for the 3ZERO project. Both women are proud that their hard work is getting recognised, and it was able to hold its own in this competitive, male-dominated industry.
There aren't many female creative directors in T&T's advertising industry. The same goes for countries like the United States where it is reported that only three per cent of ad agencies' creative directors are female.
"Back in 2012, I was interviewed about gender and entrepreneurship," Alkins says. "I did some research, and, based on that and discussions with industry peers, I learned that the only local women who are creative directors are those who run their own businesses.
"For me, the great thing about running my business is that I get much more room to experiment, and thankfully, our clients trust us to deliver high quality work."
Everything Slight Pepper's ADDY win is more than just a notch on its belt. It highlights the studio's innovative approach to design and branding, and is proof that entrepreneurs can successfully compete with bigger players in their industry.
While Everything Slight Pepper (ESP) devotes most of its time to client projects, it's also working on its own pet project, ESPjr.
"It's really our way of contributing to the Caribbean community," Alkins explains. "Growing up in the Caribbean has definitely impacted my work as an artist and designer. These products offer a learning experience for children that could ultimately lead to them contributing to a better Caribbean."
ESPjr's first production–a series of screen-printed T-shirts–features endangered leatherback turtles through child-like eyes. Bold colours, strong graphics, and a confident "Caribbeanness" make this line of clothing for children–from newborns to nine year olds–particularly eye-catching. Simple, contemporary designs, with the trademarked tag lines Mini Trini and Tobago Love, carry big messages, giving adults the opportunity to let the children in their life make a statement. The collection strives to make children conscious of the need to protect endangered species, and nurture their pride in cherishing the environment.
Future projects include story and activity books, cartoons and an array of innovative and entertaining merchandise. Alkins is currently prepping brand new designs, and an e-commerce Web site, espjrisland.com, which will be released before the end of 2013.
With award-winning tacked onto its name, Everything Slight Pepper truly has its hands full with things creative. It aims to keep producing high quality work, and creating specialty, Caribbean-themed products for children.