Meet Leta Sobierajski

Leta Sobierajski for Passerbuys91.jpg
Leta is a multidisciplinary designer and art director based in New York City. She combines traditional graphic design elements with photography, art, and styling to create utterly unique visuals. After graduating from Purchase College where she studied graphic design, she has been working independently since 2013. Leta has been recognized by Print Magazine for its annual New Visual Artists Review and her client list includes Bloomberg, Google, IBM, Kiehl’s, Refinery 29, and Tate Modern, among others. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts.


on her morning routine

I try to set my alarm for 7 or 7:30 AM. Lately, I’ve been trying coconut oil pulling, which involves me putting a tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth and swishing it around for 20 minutes. It takes all of the bad toxins out that have been brewing in my body overnight, and it makes me feel very hydrated. Simultaneously I’ll do some stretches, check my email, and make coffee. Around 8:30 I’ll head to the studio to start the day.

on getting into illustration

I went to Purchase College in New York State to major in Graphic Design. My first year was strictly foundation courses, encompassing sculpture, drawing, printmaking, and design. Each of these courses was incredibly hands-on, without any computer application. My first year design course was strictly painting color swatches with gauche—like Matisse did—and training our eye to distinguish hue, saturation, lightness and darkness with intuition. We used paper cutouts to create abstract compositions to emulate nouns and adjectives. Having a focus on working with my hands instead of a machine was a compelling feeling, especially when in a classroom full of people who were from all sorts of creative backgrounds. I loved the encouragement to take courses outside of my focus and continued to do so throughout my studies, spanning painting, bookmaking, and a color class based on the studies of Josef Albers. As I advanced in my studies, I continued to explore new mediums—I exercised the woodshop, the printshop, and the plaster studio, and took any opportunity to stay physical with my projects. Design became a way for me to combine all of those things.

Dress, JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN ; Watch, AARK Collective

Dress, JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN ; Watch, AARK Collective

Ikko Tanaka is one of Japan’s most famous graphic designers. He was a pretty prolific guy, and much of his work was recognized for its modernist simplicity, utilizing strong geometrical forms as the basis for bold, communicative imagery. His poster designs make references to traditional Japanese art forms, yet feel incredibly contemporary. My husband Wade found this monograph on our last trip to Tokyo in the epic Tsutaya bookstore (where we went nearly every day) and it’s one of our most prized design books.
— on her favorite books
Leta's favorite books

Leta's favorite books

on her interest in illustration

I started drawing anime when I was young, and asked my parents for Photoshop for my 12th birthday so I could color my drawings. That program became my introduction to typography, color, and shape. I began sharing them on the internet—one thing led to another, and I began designing posters, logos, and eventually books.

on the favorite parts of her job

I love that every day is completely different. I do so many different types of projects, from branding, to photography, to set design, to pattern design. Some days I’m in the studio working away on a presentation, other days I’m on set. I love each project equally, but I don’t think I could do one thing exclusively.

on her style and shopping habits

A few years ago, I wore heels exclusively. I used to be very into jeans, t-shirts, and blouses, but now i’m more interested in dramatic silhouettes and interesting fabrics. It’s all in the details! My outfits are void of color but I recently purchased a matching pink jacket and skirt—which is very uncharacteristic of me—and now I think I’m ready to reintroduce color into my wardrobe. I try to do the majority of my shopping when I travel. In New York, I love Acne, Comme Des Garcons, Totokaelo, and Dover Street Market. But the last time we went to Tokyo, I discovered brands like John Lawrence Sullivan, Facetasm, Blue Blue, and Sacai.

Outfit, Acne

Outfit, Acne



For someone who is looking to segue into the industry, I have one piece of advice:
work hard, and don’t be an asshole.
— some advice for creatives
Leta's favorite skincare products
Outfit, Acne

Outfit, Acne

on her skincare routine

I am such a brand loyalist! Once I find something that fits my needs, I stick to it and don’t change. Aesop takes good care of my skin—I’ll wash my face with Aesop face cleanser, then apply Aesop Parsley Seed Toner and finish off with Aesop face oil. I have a giant jar of Pawpaw ointment that I smear on my lips, and keep smaller tubes in my bag and at the studio. I also discovered this exfoliator after watching a Japanese beauty vlog and impulsively ordered it—it’s amazing! It goes on as a gel and you rub it in circles and your dead skin turns into little white balls I can just wash away.

on her beauty routine

My makeup routine is pretty minimal. I try to keep my skin as moisturized as possible and like to use a floral water to spritz throughout the day. I I’ve been wearing Dior Diorshow mascara since I was in college. I can never use anything else, but I refuse to wear waterproof. For the rest, Nars is my go-to. Nars concealer is great for little blemishes, and then Nars Multiple stick goes on for the final touch. I recently discovered the secrets of white eyeliner—it brightens my eyes up immediately and helps with tiredness. When I need to make myself more presentable, I wear Nars Heatwave Lipstick—it’s the perfect orange-red that succeeds in any season.


It’s incredibly rewarding to be hired to do work that I initially shared through a self-generated portfolio. When I first began working independently in March 2013, I launched a website with an entirely self-generated portfolio that included no client work. I gave myself the rule of only showing the work that I wanted to do, including branding jobs, photo illustration work, and typography. Without the hard work in the beginning and perseverance, it wouldn’t have happened!
— on starting her career

leta's favorite books

Matthew Barney: The Cremaster Cycle by Guggenheim Museum Publications, Erwin Wurm by Erwin Wurm, The Work of Ikko Tanaka by Katsumi Asada, Toilet Paper by Maurizio Cattelan Maurizio Cattelan & PierPaolo Ferrari, Esprit: The Comprehensive Design Principle by Douglas Tompkins, Takashi Suzuki - Bau by Takashi Suzuki

leta's favorite places in nyc

Ichiju sansai-style Japanese breakfast at Okonomi.

Yuji Ramen (technically the same spot at Okonomi) for delicious ramen with seasonal ingredients.

Ore Bar for a laid back drink on any type of night.

Sage for coconut curry and drunken noodles.

Variety Cafe for coffee and delicious pastries

coat, comme des garcons    ; pants, comme des garcons ;    bag, matter matters    ;    shoes, acne    ; hat, etudes studio

coat, comme des garcons ; pants, comme des garcons ; bag, matter matters ; shoes, acne ; hat, etudes studio