There was a hint of sparkle, elegance and anticipation, at what was the first Sussex digital awards ceremony. Many great digital agencies nominated as finalists across 14 categories, crowded the arrivals networking room, a wealth of experience in many disciplines from website design to website development, branding experts to online marketeers. We, 5and3: Integrated communication solutions, nominated in categories for best responsive website design, best creative and marketing website and best website overall, were in the presence of some great competitors.
The night was a huge success for our team, winning gold and two bronze awards has delighted us and proves to both our clients and audience, as well as our own web team, that we’re doing all the right things.
We’d love to share the process and the evening with you…
Entry into the awards was self submitting by all digital companies attending, which followed on from great online marketing by the team at Sussex Digital Awards. Our focus was on submitting our very own responsive website on the strengths of its creativeness, speed and usability. Key components that make a website work hard in delivering a brand, search engine optimisation (SEO) performance and importantly, the generation of leads and sales, something that later, Creative Director Chris Heighton touched upon in his award-winning speech.
We made the finals for Sussex 2017
Receiving notice of our invitation to the finals came as a surprise to our team. Sure, we knew that we delivered great websites, designed and developed from the ground up, but entrance into these awards was a first for us, having deliberated for a few years about entering our clients website into them.
How could we turn down the chance to attend what appeared to be both a great night out, a chance to mix and network with talented individuals within the same industry and of course, the potential of winning something that we could shout about!
The presentation evening
The venue, Pelham House, located in the historic town of Lewes in the heart of Sussex, was home to the evening’s awards. It’s a delightful hotel and venue for conferences and weddings alike, and provided a really good location for our East Grinstead based team to meet beforehand at the fantastic Pelham Arms pub, which was within easy walking distance, through the streets of Lewes, to the venue.
Arrivals and networking
Arriving between 7pm-7.30pm, digital teams headed straight past reception and into the clearly marked ‘Digital Awards’ networking room, with refreshments at the ready. At the back of the room, the photo studio lighting was being tested ready for the award winners. Entrance into the main suite followed shortly at around 8pm, with attendees searching for their correct tables using the well located and clear table plan.
Poder de Tres, a great acoustic trio with frighteningly great lead singer, played well tuned current tracks to those making their way to their designated tables.
Dinner and chat
Our team were seated, sharing a table with Sarah Willoughby and her delightful team at The Marketing Boutique, we chatted and drank whilst the evening got into full swing.
Evening dinner was served, a tasty chicken thigh on the bone, gratin dauphinoise, asparagus and honey glazed veg for main and an unfortunate and not so tasty dessert! Fruit sponge that the chef forgot to put sugar into leaving the dessert sharp and inedible. Nethertheless, our team continued to drink, chat and sway to the music of the band.
Anticipation built, with a short yet empowering video about the meaning of what ‘recognition’ is, clearly demonstrated.
Then behold, Robin Bailey delivered his entrance speech before the awards…
5and3’s Awards and presentations
Presented by BBC broadcaster Robin Bailey
There were 14 Categories in total, with Gold, Silver and bronze awards plus acceptance speeches to sit, applaud and listen to. Our first nominated category, ‘Best responsive website’ was fourth in the category runnings.
Running through the nominees for this category, which included agencies: 4D Data Centres, Concept Tag by Tomango, Condé Nast Johansens by Pragmatic, Focus Digital Media, I Am Team GB by Pragmatic, Turner & Hoskins by Magnify Creative and us, 5and3: Integrated communication solutions, our team sat quietly on the edge of their seats wondering whether our name would be called out…
Best Responsive website – 5and3 Gold Award
Image courtesy of Sussex Digital Awards website
“What’s the point of having a website if it doesn’t work for mobile phones or tablets. A massive percentage of websites are first viewed on smartphones, so, you’ll be crazy not to get yourself responsive.”
These were the opening words from presenter Robin, and what followed were the winners and the judges comments about our very own award-winning responsive website…
“We have a huge panel of judges that come from all walks of digital life, when they’re asked to judge on these categories, they’re using their phones and they’re using their tablets to actually assess the responsiveness of each given website…”
“The judges said, that this website marries up an unusual aesthetic, quirky design elements and fast load times to produce a fun end product, leaving the visitor in no doubt, that this is a company that knows what it’s doing… Gold goes to 5and3: Integrated communication solutions”.
There followed a slight pause from our Creative Director Chris Heighton, and a few beads of perspiration were spotted on the brows of our developers’ Carl and Wayne, knowing that they should perhaps make their way to the spotlights! Thankfully for them, Chris took the lead, asked if they wanted to join him on stage, which was met by a resounding ‘no’ from Carl but a late ‘yes’ from Wayne. Chris made his way to the stage, shaking hands and taking the Gold award from Robin Bailey. A speech followed on from initial questions by Robin, Chris seemingly getting a bit carried away and taking hold of the microphone at the end!
The winning speech
Watch and listen to what our Creative Director had to say about the importance of responsive websites and websites as a whole…
Words from Chris Heighton having looked back at his speech…
hindsight is a great thing!
“I really had no idea that we had won and sat in disbelief for a few seconds before the realisation sank in that we had won and I had to get up on stage to say a few words. I was unprepared and waffled on somewhat under the glare of the bright lights. Something came over me, (stardom perhaps?) as I used the opportunity to grab the audience's attention and really shout about what 5and3 are, what we do and the importance of good website design."
"Perhaps it was a little risky of me saying “Let’s cut the bullshit” but I was pumped up and really wanted to get the rooms attention following some pretty boring speeches, more importantly though, I wanted everyone in the room to remember us for what we believe in: Generating leads and ultimately sales for our customers.”
WEBSITE: MARKETING & CREATIVE – 5and3 Bronze Award
The second website category that we entered was ‘Marketing and Creative.’ Our team made it’s way to the stage to collect our bronze award and then to the photo suite for some impromptu fun shots!
Image courtesy of Sussex Digital Awards website
BEST WEBSITE – 5and3 Bronze Award
This category was the pinnacle website category, in which we won bronze, behind Internet Matters (Silver) and Jeremy Paxman (Gold). All websites nominated in this category were superb and so we’re very pleased to have won bronze.
Image courtesy of Sussex Digital Awards website
We’re absolutely delighted with our achievements, winning gold and two bronze awards and having the chance to network and celebrate amongst Sussex’s leading online digital businesses is a great accolade.
Our team have put in hours and hours designing, developing and maintaining the 5and3 website. Speed and usability
are its key features with creativity simply adding the finishing touch. There’s a lot more for us to improve upon,
but as ever, client’s work is most important and so we will get around to making some awesome updates soon. Notably,
our articles section, which is where you find yourself right now, will be fleshed out with even more fantastic
educational articles that cover branding, creative and website topics. Not forgetting to mention our very own
creative area, where you’ll find some exciting branding, website and marketing case studies, such as
This is nessie personalised stationery, The Spot wellness centre run by ex professional Brighton footballer Nick Forster, Precision Technology Supplies stainless steel fasteners and Arnold Baldwin Chartered Surveyors. Watch this space throughout 2017!
2018 UK Champions – It’s a possibility!
Our website will now be developed further and moved on to another level in time for our automatic entrance into the UK Digital Awards 2018 finals in London. We’ll be taking on winners in the Responsive Website category, website agencies from Cambridgshire, Hertfordhire, Milton Keynes, Essex, Kent, Surrey… wish us luck, we’ll keep you updated along the way.
For now though, enjoy looking around our award-winning website.
About the Author
Chris Heighton / Creative Director
I've been an Artworker, Graphic Designer, Web designer and Creative Director for over 15 years now. My specialisms are brand identity and responsive website design (UX and UI) with focus on the creation, development and launch of online products and businesses.
Starting off in screen printing whilst at college, I managed to get myself into the design industry and quickly became a fairly good designer. Working as a middle-weight designer for five years with a Notingham based agency on brands such as Marconi Telecommunications, Siemens and Avaya Technologies – I then headed south. Finding my feet in a top 'London quality' design agency based in Caterham, Surrey who specialised in both the property and pension markets. Four years plying my trade here and working on great projects for companies such as HSBC, Barclays, Crest Nicolson and Linden Homes led me to make the move into the freelance world.
Seven years on I've now developed my freelance business into this company 5and3, joining forces with partner Simon Dawson / Technical Director to deliver an award-winning full service creative and website agency
If you'd like to get in touch, then feel free to call 01342 837811 or tweet me @chris5and3.