Women in Design


It’s that time of year again! March is Women’s History Month, and to honor women’s contributions to American history we are excited to bring back our Women in Design series. We shine a light on the trailblazing women in the design industry. You might not know them all by name, but you should know them by their work and influence on the design world as a whole.

Leta Sobierajski

New York City artist, Leta Sobierajski, is a multidisciplinary designer known for her diverse, maximalism art “ranging from conventional identities to brilliantly bizarre compositions.” Her art is unique and uses bold, punchy colors that make it stand out. Her hope is to bring forth “emotion” in people through her art – that it will evoke some type of deeper reaction. Her work can be found at her website.

Sobierajski has loved drawing since she was young. She became interested in art and the creative world, specifically when she was 10 years old, and watched TV animations “Sailor Moon” and “Dragon Ball Z” for the first time. From there she took an interest in drawing animated characters.  For her 12th birthday, she bought Photoshop and began scanning in her own drawings on the PC. She continued to work on art & design through high school, and from then on became interested in work related to design. Sobierajski studied graphic design at Purchase College and then went on to work as an independent artist in 2013. (Source)

She has been recognized as an Art Directors Club Young Guns 15 recipient, as well as Print Magazine’s New Visual Artist, and has lead discussions at conferences and institutions all over the world including North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia. She has spoken at many conferences and events internationally, including, more recently, at OFFF Moscow in Moscow, Russia, Adobe Max at their virtual event, AIGA Colorado in Denver, Colorado, By Design Conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, and more. She has also been featured in selected podcasts such as Meet the Creatives (US), Overshare by Working Not Working (US), Workmode (CA) and more. See a full list of recognitions, features, services, and more: Leta’s Profile.

She has collaborated with multiple well-known brands such as Gucci, Adobe, Away, Pantone, Google, Samsung, Trophies, and many more. (See the full list here: Leta’s Profile)

After meeting her husband, Wade Jeffree, on an online dating site, she opened a design studio in 2016 with him, where they worked in collaboration, focusing on a wide range of projects including branding, installation, video, art direction and more. Their work can be found at their website Wade and Leta’s Profile.

Hélène Baum-Owoyele

Afropean illustrator and graphic designer Hélène Baum-Owoyele, who is part French and part German, is based in Berlin. She is known for her colorful & vibrant images that draw inspiration from her environment and personal history. Her diverse background has impacted her art and has helped her to look at things from multiple points of view. Mythology, black culture, art, textiles, books, and nature are also big factors in the influence of her designs.

Baum grew a social media following for her art and has been featured in various mediums including editorial pieces, children’s books, advertising, etc. She has also collaborated/featured with clients at The New York Times, Vox, Penguin Random House, Women Who Do Stuff and more. In 2016 she decided to quit her full-time job and prioritize her art.

When viewing her artwork, it’s obvious that color is a focal point of the pieces. She stresses that “color is the most important element of my work and in general. It has had a huge impact on me mentally and physically. Vibrant colors make me happy and it’s quite an obsession really.” (Hélène Baum-Owoyele, Source).

Life, Death, and Barbecue Sauce
2021, mixed media, watercolour & vector art
Client: Eater
Zalando Magazines 2013 – 2014
Design Systems with Your Most Vulnerable Users in Mind
2021, vector art & ink
Client: Harvard Business Review
Client: Purish
Wonderful World, Beautiful Music
2019, digital / vector art
Client: Scoop Magazine
Sacred Space
2017 – 2019, watercolour

She has been featured in: The Klean (home portrait), The Klean (artist portrait), Freelance Wisdom, Computer Arts Magazine Issue #276 and Creative Boom.

Check out more of Hélène Baum-Owoyele’s work!: Hélène Baum-Owoyele’s Profile

Sougwen Chung

Internationally renowned multidisciplinary artist Sougwen Chung uses hand and technologically-reproduced marks to explore communications between people and machines. Her work spans from installation to sculpture, still image, drawing, and performance. Chung is the founder and artistic director of Scilicet, a London-based studio exploring human & non-human collaborations, a former researcher at MIT Media Lab, and is a current Artist in Resident at Bell Labs and New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.  

She has been granted many awards, including, but not limited to, the “Japan Media Art’s Excellence Award in 2016 for her project, ‘Drawing Operations’. Artist in Residence positions at Google, Eyebeam, Japan Media Arts, and Pier 9 Autodesk. In 2014, she was selected as one of the Top 20 New Visual Artists by Print Magazine”(Source).

Her work has been exhibited internationally in the following: the Museum of Contemporary Art in Geneva, The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the NTT Intercommunication Center (ICC) in Tokyo, and The Drawing Center in New York. Her work has been featured in the New Yorker, the BBC, The New York Times, Fast Company, Wired, Endgadget, and USA Today. She is a former TED speaker and has also spoken at many international conferences and events including the WSJ’s Future of Everything Conference in New York, FITC in Tokyo, Cannes Lions in Cannes, and more. (See the full list of exhibitions, awards and conferences & event that Sougwen Chung has been featured at here: Sougwen Chung’s Profile).

While artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for years, it is becoming more popular and powerful in present time, especially in creative fields. As the digital world continues to evolve, AI image generators open up a world of design possibilities including quickly creating artwork to generate beautiful visuals automatically (Graphic Arts Today Article, Exploring the Creative Possibilities of AI Image Generators). As people and designers begin to learn more about and utilize this tool – Soueng Chung has a different approach to how she utilizes AI in her artwork, as a collaboration rather than a tool. “In the conversation of AI, that gets really broad—dystopian, utopian, occasionally fraught with controversy. When people think about AI there is a tendency to ascribe or imagine, considerable agency. Something like an artificial consciousness, however far-reaching that might be. I’m compelled by the human capacity to anthropomorphize our relationship to machines, particularly to robots, and how that can end up being a mirror for how we view ourselves and our own interactions with others. There are didactic models that are encouraged by developments in IoT and voice interfaces. But the collaborative models are more interesting to me. It’s a new stage for examining authorship and agency” (Soueng Chung, Source).

Drawing Operations Duet
Atlas of Emotions, SPATIAL, Mountain View
Curated by Alex Czetwertynski and Kenric McDowell May 6-9 2019

Exquisite Corpus
Art and Humanity, Stavros Niarchos Foundation
Greek National Opera
Athens, Greece

Virtual Ink
Virtual Ink — Solo Show — Gillian Jason Gallery (London, UK)0
7th June – 13th August 2022

The Imitation Game — Special Project Room
Curated by Bruce Grenville, Senior Curator and Glenn Entis, Guest Curator
MARCH 5, 2022 – OCTOBER 23, 2022

In Search of the Present, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland
Curated by Arja Miller and Ingrid Orman
27.08.2022 – 15.01.2023

Artefact 1
Artefacts Series
19” x 24”

Check out more of Soueng Chung’s work!  Soueng Chung’s Profile

learn more about AI: Design Pickle, The Future of AI Creative Generative Design

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