With an established editorial design background, art director, web / graphic designer Natalia Grosner has recently moved into the world of packaging, marketing and advertising. Grosner’s work features fresh colors, illustrative fonts, and a playful aesthetic. Paying respects to all her favorite musicians with a ‘Food’ series of prints inspired by rap lyrics that embody food, Grosner’s knack for conceptualizing has helped her lock design positions with some of North America’s top design firms including Leo Burnett.
“I love packaging! It plays a huge role in peoples purchasing decisions. Design is a powerful tool.”
Format: Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started as a designer.
Natalia: I was born in Florianopolis, Brazil and moved to Toronto, Canada when I was 14. I went to an art high school where I had one graphic design project in which I made a CD cover. Amazing! I didn’t realize ‘til now that my very first design was music related!
Format: Looking back, is there a particular event in your background that has been most influential to getting you to where you are today?
Natalia: Damn, I was not expecting these questions! I thought you’d be asking me things like what’s you favorite color? (pink) what’s your zodiac sign? (Gemini) and what do you do for fun? (throw house parties).
Format: Your creative works cover many mediums from packaging and web design to art direction and advertising. How do you find balance in these pursuits?
Natalia: I love all forms of design so I could never just do one thing. It’s not that hard balancing all these pursuits, especially when I’m getting paid to do most of them! I definitely wish I had more time for my artwork though. I would say from all the work I produce in a year 90% is commercial, 10% is personal. I’m working on changing that.
Format: Is your use of mixed media, for example the blend of screen-printing and watercolor in your ‘Food’ series, stemming from this interest in many different mediums?
Natalia: I’ve always painted with watercolor because my dad is an artist and that’s his primary medium. I wanted to do screen-printing, but I wanted to do something unique (seems impossible these days right?), so by combining watercolor with screen-printing each print is different, and that’s what makes them unique.
Format: Your ‘Food’ series prints were inspired by rap lyrics that embody food. Do you often find inspiration for your work in music?
Natalia: I listen to music all day long and I can’t live without it! I wish I was musically talented, but I’m not, so this series is a way for me to pay my respect to all my favorite musicians.
Format: You contributed to last year’s ManifesTO Festival of Music and Art in Toronto, why do you think this connection between music and the arts so important?
Natalia: I played a small role, doing some design work for my friend Devon who is heavily involved. To answer your question, I think all art forms are connected. I think that’s why there are so many ‘slashies’ out there! (DJ / designer, actor / singer, writer / musician)
Format: In addition to participating in regional arts festivals, you have also worked on a number of web sites that support local artists. Is it important to you to maintain this local connection?
Natalia: I trade web sites for beautiful artwork to hang on my walls. But I prefer what you said ‘supporting local artists.’ Yes… so selfless!
Format: Have you found the switch from publishing to marketing to be a challenge?
Natalia: It’s been a learning curve. Projects roll out for longer, budgets are way higher and there’s much more at stake. A company could loose millions of dollars if your design performs poorly. That’s why strategy and research are so important; they play a huge roll in what you design.
Format: With the current economic state what do you see as the future of advertising for brands whose marketing budgets have significantly dropped?
Natalia: I’m hoping there won’t be a trend for cheap looking design. Take the new Fido branding for example, made to look like No-Frills!
Format: You have collaborated with many brands in the past creating web sites, packaging and more. What type of brand would you most like to collaborate with in the future?
Natalia: NIKE! I dream of designing for them! They put so much emphasis on design and that’s why they’ve been able to maintain their product’s desirability all these years.
Format: With so many artistic skills in your repertoire, what would you like to try next?
Natalia: This question ties into one of my up coming projects. I have a list of things I want to design in my lifetime so I’m putting up the list as a web site linking the few items that I have already accomplished to the respective work. Here it is so far, but it grows daily: Logo, business card, postcard, poster, magazine, font, underwear, sneakers, book, coffee table book, store front, album cover, lamp, chair, wallpaper, cereal box, water bottle, Kleenex box, greeting card, toy, kids cartoon, earrings, wall clock, textile pattern.
More Info: www.nataliagrosner.com