Industry Insight: Radhika Nathany, Founder, Designer & Creative Director of Laughing Popcorn
For our next Industry Insight article, we interviewed Radhika Nathany a Designer and Creative Director from India. Radhika runs her own business Laughing Popcorn which specialises in quirky, playful and happy designs for packaging, merchandise and digital. Radhika has some amazing advice on her experience in the creative industry as well as being such a down to earth person that we had the pleasure of interviewing.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your work?
RN: Hi! I'm Radhika Nathany also known as the Laughing Popcorn! Yes, that's my brand name and I am glad that people really feel it suits me perfectly well!
I come from India, I am the youngest sibling in the family of 3 sisters. I am emotional, love colours, life, pizza, my curly hair, food, nature and working with people from different cultures but I hate dishonesty.
My purpose is to celebrate life and happiness with no apologies. I design for the same. So, I am a Designer and Creative Director, specialising in quirky, playful and happy design for packaging, merchandise and digital!
How did you get to the point you are at now?
RN: Oh! I have not always been so clear, specialised etc etc. I have had a long journey to reach here. In fact, I have recently learnt to embrace it fully. I went to a design school to study Communication Design and started my career in 2010 by working at a VFX Studio called Redchillies.VFX here in India. It was a dream job as I was a huge fan of the actor who owned the studio!
However, I decided to move further in end of 2014 and quit my job to do something of my own. During this time I also did my Masters in Business Administration. I started freelancing and as it happens with many designers, I did multiple things and literally started doing anything and everything that came my way.
Then in around 2019, I realised I DON’T have an identity of my own. I started feeling that in spite of being my own boss, I am at a job for my clients! Huh!! I hated the feeling! I decided to take the next leap. I finished lot of my projects and decided that I will give more time to figuring things out for myself. Then long story short, in these 2 years, I have experimented more than ever, failed, tried, learnt, grown sooo much and finally here I am, so happily embracing my purpose and now growing with what I truly love to do!
I feel I have got a re-birth as a designer!
Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you?
RN: Some of my first inspirations came from my family! Yeah, I am quite a family-oriented person! I am super super inspired by my grand dad and my dad for their will-power, determination and strength to face all ups and downs of life with a smile. My mom inspires me to take life easy.
Out of home, I am inspired by Steve Jobs, Shah Rukh Khan, Adam JK, Meg Lewis, Haraldur Thorleifsson to name a few.
When you were a child, what career did you see yourself having?
RN: Well, I feel fortunate enough to have been doing what I wanted to! I was an intelligent kid, but was super passionate about art and computers. I always said, I will do something that combines the
two. That how I actually found ‘Graphic Design’. People did not know much about it back then. And gladly my parents supported my decision of choosing an off-beat career and my journey started by graduating in Communication Design!
What are you most proud of doing? What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
RN: I think I am proud (and grateful) of the fact that I am able to listen to my heart and make my choices. It is super super tough! I have had days without work and as I mentioned above it’s been a journey to figure things out. And I am still growing. But I am really happy that I did not give up on things I want to do and could have the courage to face every storm that came in.
What do you hope to achieve over the next year? What are you most looking forward to?
RN: I want my brand, Laughing Popcorn to get known for its unique happy identity. That’s what I have been working on for so long. I feel it is important to have an identity as a design. After all, design
has got a lot to do with ‘your style’! I look forward to grabbing at least 1 project this year from a ‘known’ brand who sync with my message of happiness. And I also want to get into public speaking (I loveee it!).
Favourite cultural product at the moment?
RN: Hmmm…No current favourite! But I am Bollywood (Indian movies and songs lover!) so I love to see singing and dance shows that centre around the same. Other than that, my all time favourite shows are Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory and Suits. I am very poor when it comes to reading books, but one favourite is It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden. I simply love the honesty wrapped up in this book and recommend it for all creatives to read!
Where can we find you?
What's one piece of advice you would give to other creatives?
RN: If I were to give a piece of advice to other creatives, I would highly recommend them to always listen to their heart. No social media influence, courses, role models - nothing is bigger than what you feel is right and your gut feeling. Never underestimate its power. Never grow fearful of your own dreams. I think this is a mistake that I made. I fell in a trap that ‘I should be operating in a specific way!’
But you know, success really has no formula, so if you feel you need to ride a different path, by all means, take your chances!