School of Art, Media, and Technology

BFACD Alumni Feature: Natalya Balnova

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After graduating from Parsons I have worked as a book designer for a variety of publishing houses, with a focus on book cover design. It was always my dream to work in publishing, and I am very lucky to have worked in the field for many years. I always wanted to design books and posters, or create design products for the music theater industries, both primary interests of mine. Publishing has a special flair, which I really enjoy. I feel that I’m doing something meaningful when my work is connected to literature and education.

I went on to receive my MFA in Illustration at SVA and now work as a designer, illustrator, and printmaker. I also teach design at Queens College. Most recently, I have been working on a wide range of projects in both the design and illustration fields—books, magazines, newspapers, posters, and CD covers I also make illustration for apparel projects as well as publish my own silkscreen books, zines, cards, and apparel designs.”

What were your favorite classes at Parsons?

I liked classes where I could work on fun, experimental projects and play with different mediums, ideas, and concepts to create work that had unusual visual, philosophical and emotional content. I always appreciated teachers who valued concept, humor, and creative thinking. I was mostly focused on book design classes where I could experiment with various forms of storytelling and integrate type, illustrations, and photography. I also was very interested in creative typography.

What did you wish you knew as a student that you know now?

I wish I knew more practical aspects related to portfolio presentation and self-promotion. Some really down-to-earth skills which are very helpful for the creative mind as well.

In your opinion, what is the relationship between illustration and graphic design?

They both are forms of visual communication, and sources of visual power and persuasion. But drawing is a very different process from design. My approach to drawing is more irrational. Design takes place in my creative process on a subconscious level, when I think about layout structure, concept, and other formal visual aspects. Drawing is less logical and more empirical, very personal and fragile in a way.

I think knowledge in both fields can aid designers and illustrators, enrich their visual palette, and open new possibilities for a creative language.


You can see more of Natalya’s work here.

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