“We haven’t had a lack of inspiration, to be honest”

“We haven’t had a lack of inspiration, to be honest”

Antwerp, Belgium. Odin Saillé, Founder & Creative Director of Mutant

Tomilli: What is behind the name “Mutant”?

I’m sure a lot of other founders will attest to this: finding a name for your own agency is an incredibly ungrateful briefing. My associate, Maarten De Cuyper, and I first had a different name in mind that we held onto for quite some time. But then some people whose opinion we take seriously, made us question it. And in hindsight I understand why. So I had to start looking for a new name. At the time I really liked names like ‘Hood by Air’ or ‘A Cold Wall’ because they sounded like snippets from a bigger story. I had a hard time letting go of that first name and kept going back to it. To ease my own frustration I wrote down the line, ‘Change is trial, mutation is dedication’. And that’s how the name Mutant came to be. I’m still not a 100 percent sold on the sound (ungrateful briefing) of it but I like the idea of unbridled dedication behind it. And if you get to know us and see our work, that makes a lot of sense.

How did you manage to be the independent creative agency of the year, with the highest rankings in Belgium, according to TopFICE?

Belgium is a small market with some big agencies crowding the market, so it’s important to carve out a niche of your own. I think we’ve done a really good job of making our strategic insights very relatable and tangible and then executing them with a big emphasis on modern aesthetics. I always love it when people say ‘It’s so right and it looks cool too!’ Because so often, it’s one or the other.

Every agency has its own method for inspiring creativity. What is Mutant’s method?

We haven’t had a lack of inspiration, to be honest. Our office in Antwerp used to be a warehouse so it has a big open central space with some breakout rooms around it. Because we work in the same space for the majority of the time we get to pick up on each other’s projects. There’s always things being thrown around or someone who has something to add. I guess, that’s how we keep each other inspired. It’s the thing I missed the most when we were forced to work from home during the lockdown.

How did you manage to stay inspired in such a difficult year?

History has shown that misery can be fertile ground for creativity. And that was definitely the case this past year. We felt really motivated, accountable even, to come up with ideas that made people feel connected, informed and made them feel good. We’re fortunate to have a lot of committed clients that kept us really active.

Could this be categorized as an inspiring or difficult year for creativity?

There’s no way of telling how the past year would’ve panned out without Corona but I’m really pleased with how things have gone. We’ve grown in size and numbers, we’ve been able to add some really interesting clients to our roster and attracted top tier talent. Was it challenging and difficult at

times? Absolutely. But it definitely made us more resilient and that’s valuable as well. 

What do you predict creativity will be like post-pandemic?

I expect it to be same as it was before and during the pandemic: resourceful, enriching and varied.