Nishat Akhtar is an associate creative director at Instrument, an adjunct professor at Portland State University, and an illustrator. She is a multidisciplinary creative with a heart for arts and culture, plus a stomach for ice cream.

We asked Nishat to share her personal Design Week Portland itinerary favorites with us. Read on to learn more about Nishat and her work in her short interview!


DWP: What events are you most looking forward to during Design Week, and why?

Nishat: The programming at Design Week gets better year after year. The design community here in Portland is tight but growing. This year I am excited for events from familiar voices of inspiration and some that will expand the community as I know it. I'll give you two of each:

Restorative Design, the Confluence Bird Blind by Maya Lin. My enthusiasm in two words: MAYA. LIN.
Allies Skills. Design is a conduit for communication, which is one of the things that attracted me to this career in the first place. I feel deeply passionate about inclusivity and look forward to an event that continues to normalize a culture of inclusivity within our community.
Sketch Exchange with Jordan Metcalf. Jordan's work is the kind of work you can stare at for a while because it's so beautifully executed and because one can marvel at how he made it. He also happens to be a deeply intellectual person with a wonderfully dry sense of humor. I'm hoping this talk will cover all those bases.
Analog Type in a Digital World. In a time where #throwbackthursday is where people get their history from, Briar Levit is a beaming gem we should all gravitate towards. Briar has collected so much knowledge of design history, and it's rapidly dying forms of output. I'm excited to celebrate some of those old means of making.
BONUS: The Pressure is Good for You, a Talk Show. Adam Garcia is constantly evolving what it can mean to be "a creative". He always has something compelling, inspiring and unique to share. Wouldn't miss it, neither should you.

DWP: You've recently moved into a leadership role at Instrument. What are you most excited about in your new role?

Nishat: There's a lot that is new for me in the role, but I'm stepping into that vulnerability with confidence. It's from those uniquely vulnerable times that we learn the most. I'm also learning what it means to balance a freelance practice and teaching with this position. Regarding Instrument, I can say it's exciting to work amongst such incredibly talented people who carry themselves with such humility and grace. There's a lot to be learned there.

DWP: What's your favorite spot in Portland for creative inspiration and why?

Nishat: I go to Powell's for creative inspiration! It's an incredible place full of books, stories and new perspectives just waiting to have their voices read. I usually go in looking for something specific and come out with a stack of many other things I'm eager to devour. There's countless sections to discover, I recommend a wander around to see what magnetizes you.


To catch up with Nishat at Design Week Portland, don't forget to take a peek at her full itinerary. You can also view all itineraries on the DWP website.

For more from Nishat, follow her work!

On Instagram: @nishat
On Twitter: @nishatsays
On the www: nishatakhtar.com