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Office tale of Leta Sobierajski, graphic designer and art director

Office tale of Leta Sobierajski, graphic designer and art director

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Your current job :
Graphic designer and art director

In which city are you located?
New York City

A word to define what kind of worker you are :

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
I mainly use Adobe products for my projects—Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign—but I rely heavily on Rdio for music and Evernote for all of my note-taking and brainstorming. I categorize all of my type with FontExplorer X because i’m incredibly anal about keeping my fonts organized—primarily by foundry (it’s the best way I remember them)—and it allows me to make sets of select faces for all of my projects projects.

What does your office space look like?
I share my office space with my partner, Wade. Our desks are home to several plants, paintbrushes, pencils, and hard drive devices. We do most of our work from our desks including painting, sketching, and sometimes cutting and sawing. There are several seamlesses laying around and design posters garnishing our walls. We try to keep our furniture very white because the objects and posters we receive tend to be so vibrant—they balance out nicely, consequentially. We use the living room when necessary for our photoshoots—it’s a very versatile space. We set up our lights, camera, backdrops, and props on a collapsable table and break it down when we are finished.

What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?
Lately, I have been obsessed with piano music. I do enjoy all types of music, but this summer has been quite a classical one for me. Pianist Lubomyr Melnyk is amazing and quite contemporary in his practice, though I have only managed to track down two of his albums. Nils Frahm is also a favorite. I also listen to plenty of techno when I need to step it up a notch. If I find something I like, I will listen to it on repeat for months without getting sick of it. I’m in one of those stages at the moment.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?
I usually keep a checklist of tasks to keep me focused on what I need to achieve for the day. I keep all of my meetings logged in my calendar with plenty of alerts to prompt me on where to be and at what time and for how long.

What tips would you give to improve productivity ?
I try to schedule everything in a calendar but I have trouble keeping a regimented schedule. Productivity is organic! Having a focus absolutely helps, though, and keeping a timeframe is always important. I always feel a surge of productivity if I consult my partner or a friend about what i’m working on. When i’m working by myself, no one is physically there to look over my shoulder but it’s equally easy enough to send a screenshot and receive feedback via email to improve my work.

You’re better than your colleagues to :
Keeping schedules and setting dates.

What is the best advice anyone has given you ?
Being told to make personal work was the best advice that anyone could ever give me. Not only is it an outlet from your current work, but it is also an opportunity to experiment and explore and take risks that you wouldn’t otherwise be allowed to do. Doing personal work was what led me to where I am now and I wouldn’t do it any other way.

What is your best tip for saving time ?
I’m terrible with that type of thing—because I work from home I treat my time in a very luxurious manner. I’ll jump around a few different projects throughout the day, starting with client work, mixing in a bit of personal work, and then back to client work again. I do keep a bit of a structure with my calendar and Evernote—I attempt to maintain a rough schedule for the day and a daily checklist. As long as I manage to check off everything on that list for the day, I’m in pretty good shape. I think design takes time and it requires that you take a walk and let your mind wander in order to achieve better work. I think designers need to be time-indulgent and willing to spend hours achieving nothing to ultimately achieve something.

What is your routine start and end of the day ?
When I wake up at 7am, I immediately grab my iPhone. Often times, I’ll check my email and my Instagram before getting out of bed to have a shower. During breakfast, i’ll often be on my computer answering emails or making final tweaks to any projects that I may be delivering that day. Afterwards, my partner and I will walk to our local coffee shop to sit down for cappuccinos and chat to clear our heads before beginning our work. He heads to Chelsea (Manhattan) and I remain in Brooklyn at our studio.

Depending on the day, I can be working up until bedtime on various projects, but I try to avoid it as much as possible. Ideally, i’ll try to finish my work around 7 or 8 to devote some time to friends, art openings, and films. It’s incredibly unhealthy to spend all of your time working without any recreational outlets.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
Definitely a DSLR camera! I shoot all of my work with it and occasionally use it for fun, too. If I didn’t have a camera, i’d have a very different body of work and an entirely different work ethic, too.