Poppy Stedman – The 26th FAB Awards Design Jury Chair Speaks Exclusively With FAB News on F&B Trends, Awards Schemes and Judging Experience.

FAB News caught up with Poppy Stedman who chairs the Design Jury at The 26th FAB Awards

Speaking exclusively with FAB News – Poppy Stedman, Co-Founder & Creative Director at Popp Studio who chairs The 26th FAB Awards‘ Design Jury.

Q. This is the 2nd Consecutive Year that you have been on The FAB Awards Design Jury Panel.  How did that happen? ( How did you get invited to be on the Jury twice? And this time as a Chair ?)

I was invited last Spring to join the brilliant jury for the 25th FAB Awards. Having worked with clients in food and beverage throughout my career, I really enjoyed being a part of the panel reviewing, debating and judging the work. For the 26th awards, The FAB Awards founder Neeraj invited me to chair the jury having seen how the process worked the previous year. I’m excited to meet the other judges, and to use that experience to encourage some healthy debate and really celebrate the best work.

Q. Based on your previous experience on the Panel – are you looking for more specific Design Solutions, the second time round and as Jury Chair?

 The best design solutions answer the challenge in the brief, so it’s about understanding what the team was setting out to achieve and how they did that. So, there aren’t specific solutions we’re looking for, but anything that feels surprising, or is a new take on a familiar problem, always stands out.

The approach year-to-year has not changed: ultimately, we are looking for strong ideas, excellent execution, and that unique take on a brief that makes you sit up and take notice.

Q. Judging on Zoom V Judging in-person?

The initial judging for round one is done online in isolation, so you get very objective scores, but the in-person judging is invaluable as it allows detailed discussion and examination of the best work. Plus, it’s always great to meet fellow creatives to see and hear how they interpret the work. 

I think the FAB judging process is great. Every judge gets to study every single entry in their own time at round one, and then come together to narrow down to the very best. You don’t feel too rushed into decisions and can really take the time to consider everything. 

Q. Without giving away the results – are there any stand out trends in the F&B Sector?  Ie: The Hard Seltzer market is getting crowded now and is that noticeable in the awards submissions.

The spirits category was great this year. We’ve seen some really original ideas and great execution.   

Limited edition releases also continue to provide ways for brands to bring variety and interest to their consumers and provide some lovely creative opportunities, whether they be seasonal, flavour-led, or perhaps part of a bigger campaign or social issue.

Q. What about Packaging for VEGAN and Plant-Based products?  They are the norm in the aisles now. Any trends here?

Yes, vegan and plant-based is very normal now, which is great for consumer choice. The challenge for any brand in this area is getting the right mix of category or feature-specific messaging and distinctive brand elements: fitting in and standing out, in other words. 

Despite the growth in the category, it’s still important to clearly sign-post these features for time-poor shoppers. As a mum of a dairy-intolerant child I have spent a lot of time shopping in this category.

Q. Anything you could share on the overall standard of The FAB Awards entries this year? Has the economic downturn and cost of living crisis hampered Design Jobs?

It’s hard to assess whether economic challenges have hampered design jobs in food and beverage across the whole sector – undoubtedly those commissioning work will be feeling the squeeze like everyone else – but the quality and creativity of entries at this year’s The FAB Awards is as high as ever and it’s great to see the brands on display here investing in great design.

Q Are Awards important?

Yes, awards are important. They can be great for motivating design teams and are a good marketing tool: a seal of approval.

What’s important as a designer is to always think about solving the client’s challenge, rather than creating solutions that you (or your boss) might think are “award-winning ideas.”

For entrants, it’s essential to choose schemes that are relevant to you and your audience, and which have a robust judging criteria and process. What’s great about The FAB Awards is it has both of these, and the categories are specific enough to allow for fair comparisons, without being so niche that it compromises the credibility of any success.

Q. What constitutes great Design Jobs for Poppy Stedman?

Great design is design you remember. I love seeing an idea come to life as a red thread running through every part of the solution. So often great design seems simple, but it’s actually the result of careful thought, collaboration and rigour.

Q. How did you start in The Design Business Poppy?

I have been creative from a very young age. I did my foundation year at Winchester School of Art, before studying graphic design at Kingston University, which had a very conceptual, ideas-led course: something which has shaped my design philosophy ever since and influenced my career decisions from day one. After winning D&AD New Blood, I landed my first role as a designer at Lewis Moberly, and then moved to Pearlfisher, both agencies with a love of strong ideas.

After 15 years of working on food, drink, beauty and personal care brands, I set up Popp Studio with my partner, Andrew Slade. We have an eclectic range of clients, and pride ourselves on giving them ideas-led design that gives their brands the power to succeed.

Poppy Stedman is Co-Founder and Creative Partner at Popp Studio . Poppy chairs the Design Jury at The FAB Awards and spoke exclusively with FAB News who are sponsors of The Design Categories at The 26th FAB Awards.

The Design Jury for 2024 includes Bronwen Westrip from Denomination UKHiren Dedhia from DiageoWenXi Chen from Design Bridge and Partners Shanghai, Martin Fresle from Taxi Studio BristolJoran Frydenlund from Lewis Moberly, Elizabeth Sutrisna from Elmwood Singapore and Chloé Templeman from Pearlfisher London

Judging for various categories of The 26th FAB Awards are still in session. Finalist Lists will be released by the 17th of May after the Final Juries have met and The Awards Presentation and Party is scheduled for 6th June, 2024

The FAB Awards

The FAB Awards are still the only Global Awards program focussed entirely on work done for Food and Beverage Brands. The Award Scheme attracts entries from 60 Countries across Design, Packaging, Branding, Advertising, Innovation, Retail Interiors, Digital, Mobile and Sustainable. The redesigned FAB Awards trophy is made exclusively from recycled packaging material.

FAB News’ Sponsored Design Agency of The Year for 2024 Shenzhen Tigerpan Design Co. Ltd. were and YouTube Sponsored Brand / Marketer of The Year were Mars Inc..

The FINAL Juries meet for deliberations starting from 7th May, 2024.

Finalists for 2024 will be released by the 17th of May….

SourceFAB News

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