Picture if you will a crowded dinner scene. Tables on tables of creative folk, convening as part of a yearly pilgrimage, lured by the possibility of endless trays of cheese, a cash bar, and the chance to bring home a few weighty pieces of metal that symbolize the best kind of industry acknowledgement amongst our local compatriots. Follow us to the podium, where we’ll meet a red-bearded Irishman. Longtail tux jacket. Top hat. Oh, and a tutu. Pink tutu, to be exact. Ladies and Gentleman, meet our creative director, Brian Grabell. Man of many hats beyond just the one he wears on the night in question—illustrator extraordinaire, king of the photoshop keyboard shortcut, and as of late, newly minted MC of the fastest CADC Awards Show on record (official timers are still reviewing the last few minutes to confirm world record status).
What’s most extraordinary about this evening is not the Irishman, his tutu, or even the delicious donuts that make up the centerpieces for this year’s theme (which was, in so many ways, sweet). It’s the friends and colleagues that sit at the tables before him, and the talent they bring with them. The CADC (Connecticut Art Director’s Club) holds an annual awards show to recognize and celebrate the remarkable creative work being done by students and agencies around the state. Connecticut, much to the surprise of those who don’t live and work here, is far more than just a series of bedroom communities serving New York City. Instead, the state is made up of a vast number of schools, studios, and firms creating incredibly beautiful and strategically thoughtful work in the genre of creative marketing for an incredible variety of local and even global clientele. While the CADC has been alive and well for more than 40 years, this year’s show featured some of the best work many of us have seen as of late. Moreover, the pieces designed by students attending Connecticut design schools took some of the evening’s most prestigious awards—including Best in Show—and rightfully so. For those agencies who are committed to the health and well-being of our lovely little small state, it’s incredibly exciting to witness the potential of our creative future blossoming before our eyes—and to be part of that kind of community.
Even as we sat with our peers from across the state, we shared a corner of the room (in some cases even a table) with a few hyper-local friends that make up our Bridgeport universe. The creative undertow in our very own Park City is strong, with our remarkably talented, award-winning neighbors at The Bananaland and the incredibly rich educational experience for design students at University of Bridgeport (trust me, we keep hiring them!) just down the street. We were excited and humbled to be acknowledged for projects we’ve done (across the country and here in CT), and thrilled to be celebrated among our industry peers for it (thank you, CADC!). But the real win of the evening for us was to look around the room and know we’re surrounded by people who care deeply about creating truly meaningful work, and who care about doing it here in the Nutmeg State. We’re really proud to be part of this creative community, and excited for our clients who want to be part of it as well. Congratulations to the CADC on a fantastic show, and all of our fellow award winners. May we all wear a pink tutu with as much attitude as Brian Grabell on awards night.