Interview by Sarah Kilcoyne
Photo credit: Sarah Kilcoyne
Katarína is a graphic designer and motion graphics designer from Slovakia, and has been coworking with us for over a year now! We sat down for a chat about freelance life, graphic design and I learned how to pronounce her surname.
Sarah: Hi Katarina! First of all, congratulations on winning the award. Now lets get down to business. Tell us what you do for a living?
Katarina: Hi Sarah! Thank you. I am a graphic and 2D motion designer.
S: Cool! Do you work mostly as a freelancer?
K: Yes, at the moment I am self-employed.
S: Graphic design and motion graphics sound like two quite different professions (to me, anyway). Although they do both contain the word ‘graphic’. Anyway! How did you end up working in both fields?
K: Hehe, so maybe you answered the question. I studied graphic design and after as a PhD student, I started researching the connection between the principles of graphic design and the language of animation. On the other hand, my graphic design projects are focused on book design where I work with multiple pages which follow the same principles as animation; for instance; sequence, rhythm, etc.
S: Can you phonetically spell your surname for me? I know I’m saying it wrong in my head.
K: Oh, yes my lovely surname! It is actually Hungarian, Slovak people also cannot read it. But actually, you just omit the letter “z” and read the rest “Cikorova”.
One of Katarína’s illustrations. Photo credit: Katarína Czikorová.
S: Where did you come up with the name Coffee & TV for your website?
K: ‘Coffee and TV’ came from my immature head years ago when I was watching a video clip by the band Blur. The song was called ‘Coffee and TV’ featuring a milk box character who dies in the end. That time I was a bit crazy, and I said; “Yes, this the perfect name for my website and company as well!”
I like when my characters die in a funny way in my animations, although I think in the end, adopting this song name was not that good of an idea. It is complicated to spell and combined with my surname is such a mess.
S: Do you also dabble in illustration?
K: Illustrations are part of my work, as I am designing all the graphic elements of my animations.
S: Can you tell what project you’re working on right now? Or is it top secret..
K: I am about to finish two 1.5 min explainer animations. One for a French chocolate manufacturer and the other one for the ‘Letterink app’ project, for their Kickstarter campaign. Lots of storyboarding, drawing and animating. Another long-term project I’ve been working is designing a book for the famous Slovak sculptor, Maria Bartuzsova.
A book cover Katarína designed. Photo credit: Katarína Czikorová
S: Could you choose a favourite, between graphic design and motion graphics?
K: I would say it depends on the specific project. Graphic design projects are mostly for clients so there are some limitations. With motion graphics, it’s different. I can express myself more through them so my short animations are kind of like my mini art pieces. However, I have to say that all my projects are mostly for the art and educational sector which allows me a lot of freedom to design.
S: What brought you to Berlin?
K: It was my dream to spend some time outside of Slovakia. My teaching contract at the university ended in January so it was a good reason for a change. I wanted to stay in Europe and Berlin didn’t seem too snobbish, with lots of leaves on the streets and beer bottles everywhere!
S: All I know about Slovakia is that there are apparently a lot of castles. Is that true?
K: It’s a small country with a beautiful countryside. But I cannot say the same about the people. Meeting people with severe faces on the streets does not create a very nice environment. Most of us don’t speak English. Beer is very cheap and it has become a destination for boozy trips. Considering the country was Czechoslovakia in the past, since 1993 Slovakia has been looking for its identity as an independent country, and is still looking. Also, people tend to constantly get confused between Slovakia and Slovenia!
Another kick-ass illustration. Photo credit: Katarína Czikorová
S: (pause while I Google the whereabouts of Slovenia) How does it feel to win the esteemed Coworker of the Month award?
K: When I first received the email with the subject ‘Coworker of the Month’ I thought it must be a mistake! Honestly, I am very honoured. Do I have any duties as a winner of this month? Maybe to smile all the time?
S: Tell us more about your collaborative project ‘Miligram’!
K: ‘Miligram’ is a project that me and my former schoolmate from high school founded. She lives in France and many of our projects come from there. We basically work together, but not on every project. We have really different graphic styles.
She is a real woman, with a real feminine touch, sitting on a cloud. My minimalistic style, coupled with a pragmatic and sarcastic attitude is the complete opposite. It means that we haven’t developed a specific graphic style. Clients usually get two different proposals. It is important to define a role in each project for both of us otherwise it can get frustrating.
S: And finally! Any advice for aspiring graphic designers and/or motion graphics artists?
K: Don’t put your ego above everything and everyone. Listen, ask questions and most importantly, always communicate with the client, even if you don’t keep a deadline. Having found out that to say “no” to a client is not the end of the world, gives me more freedom and protects me from any unpleasant and demanding behaviour.
Secondly, have fun and drink beer! :)
Are you also interested in coworking? Then check out our pricing plans here, or just drop by the space any day within the opening hours, Mon-Fri 10-19h, and we’ll show you around.