Caterina Bianchini Studio relaunches as Nari, a studio with a “humanist, artistic approach”
The London-based designer yesterday announced that she is relaunching as Nari as “having a name that indicates or highlights a singular person just didn’t feel fitting anymore.”
- Ruby Boddington
- 13 February 2020
Caterina Bianchini is a name long-time readers of It’s Nice That will be very familiar with as we’ve covered the work of her eponymous studio Caterina Bianchini Studio many times over the years. Well, as of yesterday, that studio is no more as she has relaunched alongside her partner Joe Osborne as Nari.
The focus of the new studio will be on projects which exist at the forefront of culture, while embodying “artistic technique throughout the studio’s practice.” The name is derived from this focus, and directly borne out of Caterina’s experience in the industry. Of course, alongside relaunching their new name, the team has produced an equally exciting visual identity, as well as marking the launch through a series commissions reimagining the new logo by Joe Pertrych AKA Mason London and Connor Campbell who have both interpreted it through motion (below), and Margot Lévêque, Gregory Page, Atelier Brenda and Obby & Jappari who have interpreted it typographically.
“Starting a studio from the ground up has always been my intention, ever since I quit my last nine to five and went full-time freelance,” Caterina explains. “I began to realise pretty quickly that the work which caught people’s eye, both online and through my clients, was the work that existed outside the realms of ‘textbook’ graphic design. I really lent into this way of thinking and tried to adopt more ‘artistic’ and conceptual processes into the way I worked. This is what I want all of the studio’s work to embody and is something all of us here at Nari hold close to us throughout every project.”
In turn, the studio’s name is an anagram for “Not Always Right Ideas”, a mantra at the core of the team’s ethos, “drawing the focus away from the do's and don’ts of textbook graphic design, and embodying a more humanist, artistic approach.”
On why now seemed like a good time to relaunch, Caterina tells us: “I’d always envisaged forming and leading something that felt a bit bigger than just my own name and that’s exactly what Nari is – and hopefully, will be. As soon as Joe and I teamed up, it was always the plan to aim to recruit more talented people, work on larger-scale projects, and of course, finally let go of my narcissism by renaming it to something more neutral.” Joe and Caterina have been together for five years now, and he leads on the more strategic side of things having slogged it in the advertising world before that. “We resisted working together for quite a while as it’s quite a big jump to make, but we both just thought 'fuck it' a year back,” she continues, adding that today the team includes her and Joe, plus designers Nadja Von Zychlinsky and Ollie O’Callaghan.
The visual identity is characteristically typographic, and based on letterpress character blocks. Each is big and bold with “gooey sides” to embody the studio’s approach to design; a sort-of “right-wrongness” where imperfections are embraced and the rules of graphic design don’t need to be adhered to. “I think I’ve been lucky enough as a solo designer to have a fairly well defined aesthetic associated with myself, which I definitely want to carry forward into Nari, but that’s not to say that our style won’t evolve – as I think that’s really important,” Caterina adds. This new identity therefore represents the work the team feels defines them, but it’s also an open invitation to adapt, develop and embrace the new.
Finally, we ask Caterina about the decision to drop the old studio name which was an established and recognisable one, and if she has any advice for others worrying about taking the same decision. “Well, it really is down to the individual, their vision for their brand and the way they function as a business,” she begins. “For us, collaboration is at our core, having a name that indicates or highlights a singular person just didn’t feel fitting anymore. Even though I creatively direct the team, we are a team and without them I just wouldn’t be able to do it. I wanted the studio’s name to reflect that idea and allow people to understand that it’s more than just me in this small but growing machine.”
With recent commissions completed for Somerset House and Apple Music – some of Nari’s dream clients – it’s an exciting time to be following this new studio. “Going forward,” Caterina concludes, “we just want to produce amazing work, that isn’t defined by genre or trends.”
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.