The brief was to ‘unveil the tales from the coffee cradles,’ leading the consumer on a captivating journey of discovery about the origin of coffee in Ethiopia and Uganda (the Arabica and Robusta varieties, respectively) and the mythology surrounding each.
Mariana’s botanical-heavy illustrations can be seen on the packaging, as animated visuals across social and digital out-of-home adverts, as well as recreated as large scale paper-cut installations in the window display of their flagship stores globally (located on Regent Street here in London).
We thought we’d sit Mariana down to get a few insights into the project which stretched over the course of a few months in 2017:
Jelly: How did you approach this brief?
Mariana: I was really happy when Nespresso approached me. It’s a brand I respect a lot and the briefing was quite captivating and caught my attention right away. I’ve felt that together we could create some interesting visuals to help share the stories behind these amazing coffees.
Jelly: Did you have much creative freedom with this brief?
Mariana: Nespresso shared with me the stories behind these coffees and it was obvious right away that I needed to include the elements that are quite particular to each story. Those elements are the coffees! The myth of the Kaldi the goat herder in Ethiopia and the brotherhood and friendship of the Ugandan tribes are just some of the things that make these stories quite unique. And it was a story that needed to be told. So even though I couldn’t stay away from these particular stories I still had the opportunity to play around with the elements and composition.
Jelly: Did anyone or anything particularly inspire you for this?
Mariana: All my inspiration came from the birthplaces and stories behind the coffees. Everything that I learned in my research for this project was my biggest inspiration without a doubt. It’s amazing how this little bean means so much to so many people! Even the colours of the packagings were inspired by their origins and distinctive flavours.
Ethiopia Harrar grows on an arid and mountainous landscape and it’s much lighter and flowery than the Robusta — so I used shades of ocres, orange, yellow and light brown to transmit this.
Uganda grows near lakes, low mountainous landscapes and lush vegetation and it’s more intense and deeper, with notes of chocolate — this translated into darker browns, deep greens and blues.
Jelly: How would you describe your artistic style generally?
Mariana: Detailed. Details are the thing that gives me most joy. Working on detail upon detail, things so small that nobody else notices — and Nature also hides a lot of details that can’t be seen with the naked eye. I love when people tell me they can’t see everything at first glance when they look at my illustrations. And that they need to look a second and third time so they can discover everything. Details with a bit of magic is my style.
Jelly: What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?
Mariana: I’ve been coming back to one of my main inspirations — the work of Ernst Haeckel. I’ve been looking into is work a lot again and it’s a major inspiration in my latest personal project called Imaginarium. I love creating new flowers and shapes, and this personal project shows a mix of things that exist in the real world (like a jellyfish) but have forms and colours that come from my own imagination.
Find out more about the project here!