Twenty years of covering the Beat

Our designers Bridget van Dongen and Kevon Webster choose some of their favourites from Caribbean Beat’s 20 years of striking cover designs

  • Issue 42, Mar/Apr 2000
  • Issue 64, Nov/Dec 2003
  • Issue 75, Sept/Oct 2005
  • Issue 84, Mar/Apr 2007
  • Issue 98, Jul/Aug 2009
  • Issue 99, Sept/Oct 2009
  • Issue 111, Sept/Oct 2011
  • Issue 113, Jan/Feb 2012
  • Issue 6, Summer 1993

Bridget: The very first month I arrived at MEP, in November 2010, I was asked to help update the layout of the magazine, giving it a fresher, cleaner, more modern look. We updated the styles, changed fonts and made the magazine much more colourful and vibrant  – echoing the hues of the Caribbean.

I love my job at MEP; since it’s such a small company, I get to write, do research and make suggestions for articles, as well as laying out the pages of this excellent magazine.

Sourcing photos can be a challenge. We would absolutely love to commission photography for every single article, but unfortunately we do not have the budget for that.

Choosing the right photo for the cover is imperative, since it’s the first impression any reader gets of the magazine. Over the years, Beat has had many memorable covers. Between Kevon and myself we have chosen a few of our favourites.

Kevon: Working on Caribbean Beat is such a wonderful experience for me that I often feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Just when I get a nice flow going, I look at my watch and find that I’ve stayed more than an hour past the time I said I was going to leave.

Every article layout is a chance to learn something new about someone or somewhere in the Caribbean, and perhaps even the rarer opportunity to meet some of them.

It’s a joy to be part of the team that brings together so many different topics from talented writers, photographers and illustrators, every issue, year after year.

Issue 6, Summer 1993
This cover screams “Caribbean” to us. The photo is by Darrell Jones, from what looks like the Tobago Cays. The water colour is so inviting, you just want to dive in

Issue 42, Mar/Apr 2000
Artist Shalini Seereeram is a longtime Beat contributor. Her very distinctive illustrations are well suited to many of our stories and her ability to portray Trinidad & Tobago’s unique Indian heritage in its own special way is what makes this cover a favourite

Issue 64, Nov/Dec 2003
Before Caribbean Airlines came BWIA, and one of their destinations was Cuba. While picking our favourite covers, this distinctive photo by Sean Drakes caught our eye. The composition of the shot is striking, juxtaposing one of Cuba’s ubiquitous classic cars with the stunning architecture of old Havana

Issue 75, Sept/Oct 2005
For our 75th issue, our then graphic artist, Russel Halfhide, took an iconic photo of the Brooklyn Bridge by Sol McCants and turned it into a piece of art, using eye-catching colours and the geometric shapes of the bridge supports

Issue 84, Mar/Apr 2007
The Cricket World Cup issue – the first time it has ever been held in the West Indies. This cover photo by Abigail Hadeed shows that West Indians are devoted to the game from a young age, playing on beaches, in parks and wherever youngsters can find a bat, a ball and something to use as stumps

Issue 98, Jul/Aug 2009
Photographer Andrea De Silva’s grandson, Thais, enjoys himself in the sand at Maracas Bay, Trinidad. It’s pictures like this that remind us of the simple pleasures in life

Issue 99, Sept/Oct 2009
Andy Isaacson took a trip through the jungles of southern Suriname. In this frenetic world in which we live, it is good to get a reminder that there are still places where people live much as they did 1,000 years ago. The photo is of a Trio shaman, traditionally dressed – yet wearing a wristwatch! There’s no stopping progress

Issue 111, Sept/Oct 2011
We are always proud to claim our own!  Rapper Nicki Minaj burst onto the music scene in 2010, proudly declaring her Trini heritage. For our cover we chose a portrait we found striking and unusual and which conveys the bold, in-your-face style for which Minaj has become known. The photo was supplied by D Project Records/Young Money Entertainment

Issue 113, Jan/Feb 2012
Even though it’s our most recent cover, the consensus around the office is that this is probably the best cover we’ve had since the magazine was established 20 years ago.  Photographed in-studio by the enormously talented Marlon Rouse, it uses the incredible costume designs of a new band, K2K Alliance, to showcase Mr Fete himself, soca star Machel Montano, for our 2012 Carnival edition

For more Caribbean Beat milestones…

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