My first Art Direction – By @martamorientes

By Marta Morientes


My first Art Direction

When I was a kid I used to go every summer to the same beach village in the south of Spain. I spent the whole summer there. One summer, when I was 7 or 8 years old, I decided I wanted to sell shells at night on the promenade because I wanted to buy myself a beautiful necklace. I convinced my brother to come with me, he would do the account stuff and I would take care of the product. Sadly, the first night we earned just 3 euros. I wouldn’t be able to buy even an ugly necklace. Shit. We had a couple of business problems; first, there were more kids selling shells and second and most important, people could just get shells from the beach.  

How could we solve it? As we know, Spanish people are very fond of football so we found a huge target market. I started painting shells with soccer shields: Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Atletico de Madrid, Sevilla, Betis, etc. We went back again where we were the first night but this time, all the shells were sold. Yeah! We continued and we faced another problem, the production was slower than the demand. I started creating layouts and patterns to make soccer shields quicker. Despite the limitations of shell space, I had to decide the sizing, position and hierarchy of the different elements (soccer shield, name of the beach town and year). I learned the most-less-least art direction tool. I spent the afternoons painting and the nights selling. We sold between 50 and 100 shells every night. And I could buy myself a very beautiful necklace, even invited my parents to a good restaurant. The following years we walked on the promenade and there were many kids selling shells with soccer shields.  

That was the first time I had to decide what was the best composition to sell more. But back then I was a child now it’s time to grow up. Now it’s time to play with adult art direction.  Now it’s time to do thousands of layouts. Now it’s time to know how to use the tools. Now it’s time to choose great color palettes. Now it’s time to decide about sizing, positioning and negative space. Now it’s time to have a visual scrapbook. Now it’s time to experiment with the elements. Now it’s time to drive the eye where you want it to go first. Now it’s time to use the grid, mandatorily. Now it’s time to use the best type. Now it’s time to draw, take pictures or illustrate. Now it’s time to receive criticism. Now it’s time to ask. Now it’s time to learn from the greatest art directors. Now it’s time to find my voice in art direction. Now, it’s so exciting.

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