Projects 2021-08-31


By Mari Törmänen / Natalia Liush

Contemporary growth and the pace of the world economy encourages companies worldwide to constantly improve their branding in order to stay recognized and admired by the customers, as well as stand out in the multifaceted and mercurial dimension of digital marketing design. The branding strategy now must be not only memorable and inviting for the customer, but also ethical and inclusive towards the moral standards of society – and calia is the kind of  studio which can combine all of these features in an agile manner.

Started in April 2021 by Carley and Natalia, two graduates of Vienna Masters of Human Rights class of 2019, the studio offers a unique approach to branding design that entails research, communications, and social media, all with human rights perspectives. calia offers a wide range of services – from social media management and copywriting, up to photography, audiovisual and graphic design, as well as layout composition for books and reports. Carley and Natalia, the founders of the studio, express their vision of the business as an opportunity to apply their educational background in the area of digital communications in order to facilitate the better performance of clients and companies, helping them reach their goals.

The idea to create their own business emerged after experiencing the vicissitudes of the job market in the human rights and design areas. Eventually, Carley enriched her professional profile with work at the International Atomic Energy Agency and as a research assistant in the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, and Natalia – working for the United Nations and within the position of communications coordinator at the NPO “Street Child”. Throughout their work experience they noticed the high demand of communications and design skills and decided to fill this niche with their own business: “..Our background in both of these fields gave us the idea to build our own thing. We really wanted to do something that we love and try to do something new…”

Considering the question of the intersection of branding, design and human rights, Carley and Natalia apply a communication perspective, saying that they want to “work as a bridge between human rights organizations and stakeholders”. The aim of such an intersection is to find new ways to communicate human rights agendas to the broader audience.

calia strives to establish connections with human rights organizations in order to help them use design and creativity to raise awareness regarding their activities in a more socially engaging way. In a world where human rights issues are associated mostly with legal papers and big names like the United Nations, it can be quite challenging for the average person to relate to the topic and engage with it in a meaningful way. calia assists emerging NGOs and humanitarian initiatives in establishing their communication strategy and creating a coherent social media presence, using various digital tools for creative communications. Carley explains that “since creating calia, Natalia and I have learned that it can take plenty of effort and organization to launch a company or brand. Through working with human rights organizations, we hope to make it a bit easier [for the clients] to use creative communications to extend their human rights message, make an impact and gather support”.


As Vienna Masters of Human Rights graduates, Carley and Natalia also pay tribute to the skills they acquired throughout their studies, such as multicultural cooperation, communication on sensitive topics and the inclusion of different perspectives, as well as professional qualities like confidence, empathy and a sensitive approach in working with human rights issues: “The Masters programme gave me confidence. I had the chance to meet people with plenty of professional experience who would approach  challenges without fear of failure. You can learn a lot from such people’’.

So far, calia is a freshly opened studio, run by two founders of an excellent educational and professional background, with a mission to bridge an understanding between its customers and their audience, as well as a clear vision of how to reach this goal. When asked about what are their next steps, Carley and Natalia share both short-term plans, like getting business cards and expanding their network by making calia more visible to potential customers, as well as long-term ambitions and dreams: “.. In the long term, we would like to make calia more global and involve people to work with us. We want to see the real impact of our work. For example, it would be great to see our designs in LinkedIn and the results of our efforts in establishing communications”.

*design, made by Natalia for A Series for National Preventive Mechanisms

The professional journey of Carley and Natalia has led them to the place of inspiration and excitement, stemming from their work at calia. It encourages them to achieve more in the area of human rights and public communication, as well as enjoy the process of the work itself. When asked to give advice for the present generation of students at the Vienna Masters of Human Rights, they came up with three essential pieces of simple wisdom:

  1. Try to do your own project and find something that you sincerely enjoy.
  2. Dream big: after I graduated, I wanted to work for the United Nations or another  big organization, which is the primary idea for most people in our field. However, keep in mind that you don’t always have to follow the standards; you can dream bigger and do what you desire.
  3. The masters programme is like a family, don’t hesitate to ask for their support.

There is no standard way to build your career life, especially in such a diverse environment as the Vienna Masters in Human Rights introduces its students into. The beauty of this environment is in its unconditional acceptance of the various talents and ideas a person can apply to the noble goal of human rights advocacy. Be open to everything new and exciting, express your ideas fearlessly, make mistakes and learn from them, and remember that life is a journey, not a destination. So find a job that will aid you in a journey to your own aspirations.

Read more about calia studio here:

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