Caterina Bianchini on the trials, tribulations and triumphs of striking out on your own

Exploring both the possibilities of type and the restrictions of a house style, the founder of London-based Studio Nari dives into her process for episode six of the It’s Nice That Podcast. We discover how she carved out a unique space in a saturated design market.


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We’ll admit it. Going against the grain and leaving the confines of comfortability, whether that means going freelance, changing creative paths or putting out something entirely new into the world, can be daunting. It can come with downsides, including a lack of financial security and increased pressure on a creative’s process. But, the upsides can be joyful, freeing, and limitless, as founder and creative director of the renowned London-based Studio Nari Caterina Bianchini is living proof.

“I began working in studios and agencies. When I was working in the institutions, I felt like I wasn’t really getting what I wanted out of the work that we were creating,” Caterina tells our editor-in-chief Matt Alagiah in episode six of the It’s Nice That podcast. “It almost felt like there was more we could do that we weren’t doing.” Discussing her unique, highly-driven path to founding the studio she helms today, which included working freelance after a full working day (eating dinner in front of her desktop MacBook), Caterina reveals how side projects helped her develop a “freedom of expression” early on. “You don’t realise that at the time, but some of those tiny steps are so necessary.”

Turning to another fascinating aspect of her creative development, the creative director spoke about how she landed on her signature defined and bold typographic style, in particular, her knack for typographic “balance”. Viewing type as a way to create something “bespoke” for a client, Caterina talks us through the possibilities and importance of custom letterforms, reimagining type as a “neutral platform” in creative work. As if these intriguing insights into the expressive potential of type weren’t enough, the founder also breaks down Studio Nari’s approach to collaboration. As a studio that cherry-picks an incredible range of creatives for projects, she highlights the importance of multiple perspectives on a brief to avoid conforming to an “overly curated” house style.


The It’s Nice That Podcast, Episode 6: Caterina Bianchini

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While when starting off Studio Nari, Caterina didn’t predict what was to come – “the projects ran and we almost ran next to them” – the founder gives us an inspirational run-down through some of the work Nari has won throughout the episode. A conversation offering insights into how Caterina ended up working for clients like Tyler the Creator, Charlie XCX and Peggy Gou, it’s not one to be missed.

To top it all off, our latest Nice Note – voice notes sent to us from some of our favourite artists and designers around the world – this week takes us over the pond to Baltimore, where we enter into the quiet corridors and bustling bookshelves of the Enoch Pratt Library. To discover all this and more, tune in to the latest episodes of the It’s Nice That Podcast!

Don’t forget, if you want to hear a longer version of the podcast, featuring extended interviews with Caterina, you can do so by signing up to Extra Nice, It’s Nice That’s membership programme. This is just one of the many benefits and goodies you get by being an Extra Nice member. To find out more, head over to the Extra Nice pages of our website.

#006 Caterina Biancini

For Episode 6 of the podcast, we sit down with Caterina Bianchini, the founder and creative director of Studio Nari. She tells our editor-in-chief Matt Alagiah about how and why she decided to strike out on her own, and talks us through the studio’s unique approach to projects, focusing on her love of music and keen eye for beautiful typography. Then, later on, we’ll head over to Baltimore to hear from photographer and visual artist Shan Wallace, who is in love with the city’s Enoch Pratt Library.

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