Creative Director at MISKA STUDIO

Elena
Miska

ElenaMiska (Creative Director at MISKA STUDIO)

Elena Miska is the Founder and Creative Director of MISKA STUDIO. She is known for the confident elegance and high impact of her work.

New York, United States • May 10, 2023

What led you into design?

Ultimately, art is what drew me to design. The work I gravitated toward is very graphic, colourful and emotive, and sometimes the artists doing this work created commercial art and design as well.

When I decided to pursue design as a career, it was because of my love of creativity and bold expression. I was also interested in seeing how beauty could be brought into things we interact with on a daily basis —  whether through the use of colour, the treatment of typography, or interesting compositions — and how that might make someone feel when they engage with those things.

Artists clockwise from upper left: Deborah Garber, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse, Egon Schiele, Andy Warhol, Koloman Moser, Pablo Picasso, Wayne Thiebaud, Félix Vallotton

What does a typical day look like?

I don't know if there's a typical day necessarily, but there are certain routines. I have twin toddlers, and I also have my own studio, so it's about making time for both. During my work day, it's generally a mix of design and creative work, client relations, and new business endeavours. MISKA STUDIO's focus is on brand identity for new and established businesses, as well as art direction for campaigns, so as far as creativity goes, I'm usually working on something in that realm.

What's your workstation setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

There are plenty of things that inspire me and my work, but I find it important not to rely only on seeking external inspiration. Of course, I can get excited by a trip to a museum or a beautiful piece of typography, or a photographer's work and so on, but I find the best true source of inspiration to be internal. When I can get on a roll and get in the zone, I am able to be my most creative and imaginative, and my best work comes out of this place.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

I was recently at the Neue Galerie here in New York, and they have some incredible pieces by Koloman Moser and Josef Hoffmann that are part of their permanent collection. They're bold, elegant and timeless.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I'm proud of a lot of work that I've done. I think it's really important to work with fantastic clients where there's a common trust because that's the basis for innovative ideas and all-around great work. My best work stems from a strong foundation with the client because we are both reaching for a common goal and seeing eye to eye.

That being said, I'm incredibly happy to have just launched the studio's new site. It feels representative of who we are and what we do, but also has the ability to expand in interesting ways as we create new work. I was fortunate to work with the wonderful developer Jonas Luebbers on it.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

MISKA STUDIO only just launched, so the current challenges mostly revolve around streamlining the business processes so that I can spend more of my time focused on the creative aspects.

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Building a kind, talented, and supportive network of peers both in and adjacent to our field is very helpful. I am a strong believer in collaboration, and that our own work has the potential to be even stronger when we work with others who might have different but complementary skill sets to our own. That might mean other designers who excel in different areas of design, photographers, illustrators, set designers, typographers, developers, and so on. I found being in school and also working at other studios and agencies was a great place to easily meet people, but of course, the internet and social media's globalization of our industry make it possible to do it digitally as well.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

MISKA STUDIO! You can also follow along on Instagram at @miska__studio.

My partner Tom Sears' work, as he's truly an exceptional designer and an inspirational leader.

My brother, whose band goes by the name of Blunderbuss, just released a new album — Single Sonic Seven — which is a collaboration between him and different musicians across all seven continents. I find it to be a really incredible concept. Plus 100% of all revenue goes to Helping to Leave, an organization which helps evacuate civilians in Ukraine from war zones and occupied territories.