This fortnight, London curator Chloe Nicholls interviews designer Natalia Talkowska.

Natalia Talkowska

Name: Natalia Talkowska


Twitter: @NatiTal

Tell us a little bit about what you do and how you have turned your passion into a business?

I illustrate, doodle and design. This is what I have done since I can I remember. My mum used to say: “Give her a pencil and a piece of paper and she’s all set”. Turning it into a business from a late-night hobby was a natural step and was something many people have told me I should have done long time ago.

One of the people I have to give a credit for giving me that necessary ‘wake-up call’ is Darren Robson, an incredible coach and businessman whom I stumbled upon while still working as a full time employee at another company. He was the one to push me to finally start my own business. I took the plunge and never looked back.

How did you get started and what were you doing before you established Natalka Design?

Natalka Design was established in my head for many years now, it just hasn’t been official yet (and I guess many entrepreneurs and business owners can relate to it). There was always some distraction or something else I was busy with and couldn’t commit fully to starting the business. I had been a teaching English as a second language and Art to special needs children, translation services and worked in social media as a Community Manager for an online company. However busy I was, there was always time for designs even if it meant 1am at night and on my fifth coffee. I didn’t mind doing that since it is my passion. I started thinking seriously about setting up my business this year and thanks to previously mentioned Darren and other circumstances it all came into place and Natalka Design is here.

Drawing and design are very ‘on trend’ at the moment. Why do you think this is?

I think that it doesn’t matter if it is a small organisation or the corporate world – everyone needs illustrations and visuals to get their message across. I don’t think it is just a trend – it is a shift in ‘communication’ that will feature more and more as part of a branding and marketing campaigns. I’ve seen visual designers working at conferences, free drawing during speaker presentations and publishing their artwork in ‘real-time’.

These days the information flow is so quick, that using visuals is a quick form of communication. People have no time to read 10 pages of text or get easily distracted during meetings where they have to digest a lot of information just by listening and writing. Helping people to understand a message through illustration, doodle or design makes it so much easier to grasp it and respond to it.

What has been the most interesting job you have done as cartoonist/designer?

I have had so many different projects that it would be hard and unfair to just pick one. However, if I am to give one example, it would be illustrating parts of a book called Ackroyd’s Ark – Two by Two created by actor Sir Timothy Ackroyd who has trusted in my skills since he met me and let me be part of this amazing publication published for charity focused on wildlife animals in Africa called Tusk Trust under HRH Prince William of Wales Patronage. It was a project that is very close to my heart and means a lot to me as I am a big supporter of what they do and I love animals.

What are some of the challenges you face as an ARTrepreneur?

There are always challenges on the way and I guess there is no entrepreneur who doesn’t face them especially when they start a new business. I’d say finding your target market and getting your footsteps into it are not easy but once you’ve connected with the right people and have got your branding and advertising right it is then only a matter of time before you start seeing positive results. I was also a bit anxious about entering the world where there are already many other companies offering services in design. However, I decided not to focus on that as I think there’s space for everyone, also the style and approach I offer is unique and fresh. I think challenges make you stronger and shape your business in the right direction.

When did you move London and what’s keeping you here?

I moved to London in September 2008 to do my MA studies in Polish-English Translation. The initial plan was to finish them and go home… and I’m still here! I guess like many other creatives I just felt London has so much to offer especially for the type of business I run that I just naturally immersed in the creative and entrepreneurial side of it. On the way I met
amazing people and now London feels like second home to me. What’s also keeping me here is that it’s so diverse, multicultural and vibrant. There are always loads of things to do and it never gets boring. I get inspired through so many things around here. Of course, a break from the big city is a must in order to step back for a minute and get your creative flow back on track. Last but not least I couldn’t live without the amazing concert scene in London and delicious coffee!

What are some of your favourite events to attend in London?

Depends on what type of events you are interested in. If you want to get the newest links in tech and business MiniBar or Silicon Drinkabout. I’ve met many interesting people there. I also enjoy events with more relaxed approach where people meet to be sociable and not necessarily talk business. I would definitely like to see more events from The Fetch in London!

What’s next and where do you go from here?

That’s a big question and there are big plans, however I am taking it easy to make sure it’s the right place or time to bring new ideas into life. Apart from services in illustration and design, the plans for the future look bright and although there’s too many running through my head every day I would like to start collaboration on new exciting projects with other organisations and individuals.

Natalka Design is planning to publish educational books for children, books for women (the topic and style strictly confidential as of yet!), create mobile apps and run creative illustration workshops for businesses, individuals and schools.

I would like Natalka Design to push innovative ideas and stand out with what its offer. As I always say: Impossible is just WAY too easy! Put your mind into what you really want to do and make it happen. To be honest, there may never be the best time to do it but if you don’t try you will never know.