As we prepare for the inaugural AIGA Eye on Design Conference, we meet some of our esteemed speakers to find out more about them, their work, and a sneak peak about what you can expect from them on the big day.
Working both as a lone wolf and with her husband and collaborator Wade Jeffree (the duo created the rather lovely branding for this very conference), Leta Sobierajski is a designer and art director with a very distinctive style indeed. Based in New York, she combines traditional graphic design elements with photography, art, and styling to create utterly unique visuals. Sobierajski studied graphic design at Purchase College and has been working independently since 2013.
As an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts, has teaching led you to reflect on your work in a way you otherwise would not? What kind of impact has it had?
Teaching is such a satisfying part of our practice. It gives me the opportunity to see how others would confront the same issues that we witness when we’re given briefs, and often our students end up creating something with an idea we could never fathom. That’s the thrill of design and individuality—one never will interpret a solution in the same way.
Tell us a bit about your creative process—do you have any rituals you start off with, incorporate, or finish your work with?
I think the biggest ritual is actually getting to the studio and sitting down. Every project I do seems to involve a new challenge, whether it’s sewing costumes, building human tables, covering myself head-to-toe in body paint… you get the picture! A project typically begins with research, and I try to avoid bingeing on visual stimulation via the internet, so a more favorable option is to pursue our extensive book collection or go visit a gallery. While I tend to lean more towards creating work that can be executed live and in-camera, that isn’t always the most appropriate solution. Aside from the concept and the choice of medium, color takes precedence and becomes a medium of its own.
How does your creative process differ when you create a piece individually, versus when you collaborate with another artist (like Wade)?
Honestly, I feel more confident collaborating with Wade than I do on my own. Having that second opinion, or a different opinion altogether, helps challenge me and keeps me from recycling ideas or getting stuck in a rut. Our confidence lies in our trust and honesty with one another, and we have overcome that feeling of insecurity or lack of confidence in sharing an idea, which can be prominent at the start of a relationship. For us, it’s a truly compatible relationship that survives in and out of the studio.