The Power of Visual Storytelling

Natalia Talkowska

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*PS. Below you will find an auto-generated transcript of this episode.

Arek Dvornechuck: Hey What's up branding experts?— Arek here at Ebaqdesign and welcome to On Branding Podcast. And my guest today is Natalia Talkowska. Natalia is the founder of a visual storytelling company, Natalka Design based in London, and she also founded Doodleledo, which is an event for anyone who says, "I can't draw" and wants to "learn how to doodle". So Natalia and her team help. clients bring their stories to life. Clients like Microsoft, Twilio, Gap, BMW, Sony, Disney, as well as other smaller brands and startups. So today we are gonna talk about the Power of Visual Storytelling.

Hello, Natalia, thanks for joining us today.

Natalia Talkowska: Thank you. Thanks for having me Arek. Nice to meet you.

Arek Dvornechuck: Thanks for doing this. So, Basically, you specialize in Doodling, right? But for those who, don't know, what is, or how to use it, can you explain what are the benefits of visual storytelling?

Natalia Talkowska: You know, I could speak about it for five hours if you let me so as to be very succinct. We always think of ourselves. When I started 12 years ago, you're right, doodling, drawing, visual, we're all mostly visual. So it was kind of, that's how it started. Let's just make everything, all your communications more visual. But at this point in time, the business has evolved to very much strategic communications, and one of the ways we can communicate really, really well in the business is to use visual tools and storytelling and make it into a story. Because at the end of the day, we're humans and we can really understand a story, and that can be a very simple story. Doesn't have to be anything complicated. And therefore we started what we started and we are using, to be honest, often simple visuals and illustrations and kinds of media to explain something that connects, because again, we're all about simplifying the messages and what we do is very strategic. We always say we don't wanna just do pretty pictures like that's fun, that's cute. But we really always talk about what these visuals can do for you in terms of a business strategy, in terms of your goals. So you've got a goal in a business. How can we support delivering that goal through, very strategically placed assets and visual tools?

Arek Dvornechuck: So can you walk us through some, scenarios? So obviously we can use it to capture some ideas you know, instead of presenting just dry text in a PowerPoint presentation, for example. So for internal purposes, but also for running like strategic workshops, discovery sessions, and also for like branding and marketing materials as well. Right. Are there any other, use-case scenarios?

Natalia Talkowska: To be fair with you, most of our work, like 90% I would say is internal communications for business, for usually mostly for corporate. So most of our work, weirdly, you can't see, which is a bit of a. Bummer for me. The amounts of NDAs I have to sign every day. I wish there was fewer, but we support a lot of internal communications, which means that, for example, if a company beginning of the year, we have a lot of that strategy they need to implement. And it's a big deal. It's a high stake communication piece. Everyone needs to get on board, everyone needs to deliver their goals. We support that. So we join in with these companies. We help them to discover again, what they want to achieve. And we create, for example, a kind of bundle of very strategically made visual pieces. And that could be explain animations, which could be one massive visual, strategy piece that follows the steps of the company, and so on and so forth. So there's a lot of use internally that no one kind of sees, but it can win a pitch, it can win new business. It can get new stakeholders on board. It can align the team and whatever the goal is. And when we talk about external stuff, it can increase awareness of the brand, it can increase conversion, it can increase, visibility. So it's really kind of, what are you coming to us with? And we focus on that specific goal and kind of tailor the delivery to that.

Arek Dvornechuck: Understood. So just to sum up for our listeners you can use, doodling to capture ideas in a more, compelling way. And you don't have to go through just dry text in your PowerPoint or keynote presentation, because as we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words, right? So, presenting information or data in a visual way is always more compelling, and enticing for the audience and easier to understand. Right? I know that you have this company Doodleledo, which runs events for people who want to learn how to draw, for people who say, I can't draw, I dunno how to do it. And you have some, online courses on skillshare as well, right? Can you talk to us more about What you offer for people who, are new to this or want to learn more and they're just interested in this, and perhaps they want to use it internally or externally for branding purposes, whatever it is, how to learn, what's the best way to learn, doodling.

Natalia Talkowska: Doodling. I mean, we all learn since we're kids, so like the first learning has been done without me. You've probably been drawing as a kid. I've been drawing. We all do it and we all stop it when we become adults. Unless you have kids or you're naturally interested, you just don't care. You don't think of it as a valuable skill. You are not really asked to do it at work unless that requires it. So we just forget and get lazy, and often we get quite intimidated by it. As you mentioned, Doodleledo is also under the umbrella of the business Natalka Design, and we do that for the public, we do for teams, for corporate, for VIP launches, you name it, we've done it all, and it's basically getting adults into one room sitting by one table. Paper pens, just like back in the day. Physical touch. Yeah, physical touch makes such a difference, living in this very much digital space that we are. And it's all about sharing, creating, laughing, and no judgment. And it's a very interactive, very fast-paced experience that a lot of companies treat as a great team building and team kind of social environment. And very good kind of brand launch, product launch services, launch event as well. Often that's what happens.

In terms of the courses, yes, you can go to our website. We have a lot of different courses. Skillshare is also on the website. To be fair to you, how do we learn better on it and how do we get better at doodling? That's a big question, but I would say start by learning. So that could be watching courses, that could be watching YouTube videos. There are millions of stuff out there, but mainly just practice. Just get yourself either a paper pen or a pad or tablet. There's again, tons of ways to exercise those skills. And number one thing just don't put pressure on yourself because it's not about becoming a Disney character animator, it's about practicing that skill in your brain that helps you to think in a more strategic way, think helps you to think more creatively and opens up some channels that we have blocked on the way.

Arek Dvornechuck: Right. That's a great tip. So, What do you think, what are some of the common likes, fears that people have or maybe something that it's holding them back when they, try to like to  unlock their inner child, and this kind of expression? You running those workshops, what do you see, like what kind of a tip would you give to break through those? I don't know, maybe fears of doing this?

Natalia Talkowska: Number one thing is I'm not good enough, therefore I don't wanna do it. . So whoever we interacted with in terms of these sort of sessions and workshops, Comes with a bit of a closed body language, a bit of shy, a bit of quiet, and we come with so many narratives. I'm not good enough. I can't do it. I haven't been drawing in ages. What is this thing? I can't, I can't. So the purpose of these sort of, let's say that interactive practice without any judgements, and it also is very kind of, It doesn't matter if you're CEO of a company or you know you're an assistant, that doesn't matter. We're all in the same space. We're all in the same environment and it's all about just trying and doing. And the more you kind of leave that pressure alone and out of the door, the more you can see you actually enjoy it. And I think doing things like, if I can give one tip in terms of if you would like to start at home doing things with time pressure. That can be a fun little exercise because time gives you that. There's no time to think. Just jump and do it. Just start doing it. So if I could give you one little exercise per home, put yourself a timer for, let's say 20 seconds. A rolling 20 seconds timer and just go find a list of things to draw even through Google or get to chat GPT and ask to write a list of words that you wanna draw and give yourself 20 seconds and just go for it. So just get yourself out of that. I'm not good enough, cuz that's either you tell yourself that for the rest of your life or you start actually practicing. And that's I think with anything that we do in life.

Arek Dvornechuck: You're totally right. So put some pressure on yourself. Have some time constraint. That way you're gonna get into that flow kind of a state, you're not gonna be overthinking things. So you're basically saying that people often they don't believe in themselves. They don't believe they can do it, because they haven't been practicing for a long time, you know, since they were kids. So the best way, the best, if you would say, is to just put some time, constraint on yourself. And that way, like within those 20 seconds, for example, you have to sketch this kind of idea and then you go to the next one and the next one. So that way you can get into that flow state, right? So, What is the most. You know, you, have a lot of, work on your portfolio, but what would you say is the most like, exciting project that you've done so far? I dunno, maybe branding or marketing or, because obviously you cannot really talk too much about other projects.

Natalia Talkowska: Yeah, there's a lot of ones that I can't, it's sad, but the ones that I'm pretty proud and I can share in this public. Quite old now, actually, some of them, well, depends where we go, but I can list few of them where, for example, you know, working at 10 Downing Street, and capturing Prime Minister's speech visually, that was pretty cool. I have to say ages ago or being part of a charity book from Royal Family to save elephants in Africa and drawing some things for that and being next to the biggest illustrators in the world, that was pretty cool. You find yourself in very strange projects sometimes in very kind of not every day. And also we like to really play with technology and be innovative and kind of at the forefront of what's going on. And, even look at AI and stuff, we don't believe in the whole being scared of it and it's gonna take our job. That's like, again, a narrative. I don't wanna sign my name under. I want to learn it. I want to work with it, and I want to be part of it. So, For example, we've done, what is it now, two years back? First conference that was live scribe, visually captured fully in vr. With public, with audience, adding their notes and adding their thoughts and changing this beautiful 3D room into a room full of thoughts that you can walk around and get inspired and move things around. So I'm always like, what else can be done in the experience of visual communication? That can bring an experience, that can make it better, that can make it more understandable, more innovative. You tell me, I'll try it. I've been always interested in trying different things and at the moment even we're working on something that I can't really say yet what, but it's in the space of, let's say very interesting new

Arek Dvornechuck: Okay, cool. Sounds good. So yeah, we can use doodling and visual storytelling for different purposes. Right. As you mentioned, it could be a, book cover or, some illustration for the book. Capturing strategy sessions, even work with, royal family. So there are different use case scenarios for this so obviously we are gonna link to, your website is For those who don't know, Natalia, Natalka is basically based on your first name, right? Okay so then you have courses on skill share. We're gonna link to those two.

And, for people who wanna just connect with you, what's the best way are you active on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter?

Natalia Talkowska: All of it. So yeah, everything at Natalka Design, or you can find my name, and full name on LinkedIn, on Instagram. We're even trying TikTok, although we're not dancing there, we're very slow. you know, It's the whole like, old generation coming through to TikTok is quite funny. But you can find us everywhere under the same name and just say hi.

Arek Dvornechuck: That's cool. Okay. Awesome. So thanks for coming on the show. I appreciate that.

Natalia Talkowska: Thank you so much.

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