Based in Madrid, Spain art director Maria Salomon was recently awarded Selected Creator in our Creative Brief with Maggi (Nestlé). Keen to hear all about her key creative ingredients (in every sense!), we chatted to Maria about her experience, inspiration, and process when it came to reimagining the 136-year-old brand’s aesthetic through illustration.  

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TH: How does it feel to see your work being used by Maggi (Nestle)?
MS: I live in Spain, I don't know if here they would sell the packs with my illustrations. I'll search them! But if I find them, I'm sure I will be very excited and buy many packs! 

TH: What was your experience like, from digesting the Creative Brief, through to developing your 5 ingredients?
MS: My experience from the beginning was very good. I liked the brand and I liked the project. At first, I wanted to be sure to adapt well to the brief, the client wanted something that looked like it was hand-drawn, with a spontaneous result. Since I'm used to digitally illustrating, I did a lot of testing with the iPad Pro and the Apple pencil in order to get a more natural result. In fact, I submitted many different proposals. I was surprised that they chose the simplest option that I sent but well, I guess it was also the one that best suited the brief.

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TH: Why do you enjoy working on Creative Briefs with Talenthouse and what intrigued you about working on the Maggi (Nestle) brief in particular?
MS: I have been participating in Talenthouse Creative Challenges for several years, I try to select them well since my day-to-day work does not leave me much free time, but thanks to Talenthouse we have the opportunity to work with great brands, on incredible projects that let the creativity fly, and if we don't get any prize, at least we get a good portfolio, so we always win something. Likewise, working with Maggi has been incredible, they have been very respectful with my work, with the indications, since they had everything very clear and we illustrators/designers appreciate that very much. I am an advertising creative and art director, in my day to day work I do not have the opportunity to carry out 100% illustrated projects, so I have really enjoyed this project. Thank you very much Talenthouse and Maggi!  

TH: What would be your advice for aspiring Selected Creators when approaching a Creative Brief?
MS: Well, for years I have led creative teams with junior designers/creatives and what I always tell them is to do things that they would be excited to see on the street/tv/magazines, if they were the buyers. Ask yourself the question: "If I saw this poster, would I go to see the movie?", "If I saw this pack in the supermarket, would I buy this product?" It is very important, to be honest with ourselves, not to stop working until the end result really excites us. Our criteria are not so far from the client's criteria, and if we do a job honestly, there is a 90% chance that the client will also like it.

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TH: Talk us through your inspiration and process during the first stage of the Creative Brief. Did it differ to the way you developed the 10 extra ingredients in stage 2? 
MS: The truth is, try not to look at references. On the main website of the brief (on Talenthouse) we could see different illustrations that the brand had made the previous year, and I do not remember well if there was also an inspirational board on Pinterest. Just let go of the style the customer wanted. I make illustrations for advertising and I don't have my own style, but I usually adapt the illustrations I make to the style of each brand. For the second phase, it was exactly the same, I remember that the client gave some recommendations regarding the strokes and simply followed their instructions adapting them to the chosen style. 

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You can catch more of Maria’s work on Talenthouse, Instagram, and her website.