Nishat Akhtar

Hi! 👋🏾 I’m Nishat, an illustrator, designer and creative educator. Currently Im working at Instrument as VP of Creative. ✨

I have worked with Nike, Google, The New York Times, ACLU, Adobe and more. Want to work together? I'm always open for collaboration and conversation. Contact me here

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A simple line drawing in black of two hands, one light, one dark, draw an eye together from opposite sides on a dusty pink background.

Currently I am working full time at Instrument as VP of Creative, where my focus is on connection, education and inspiration across writing and design, nuturing creativity and excellence in our work from brand, brand marketing, design systems, interactive and product design. Fostering best in class work and the best the experience of our creative practitioners themselves is a mutual care that is at the center of Instrument’s values, and my own. I work on strategic objectives for business growth while fostering inspiration and education for writers and designers at all levels within our studio. It’s my honor to think in depth and breadth across so many verticals with such incredible designers, writers, clients and community members. 


Nike swoosh in white on an orange background

My personal passion for sports, people and storytelling has been the binding agent for many years of work with Nike, most recently as a creative leader. I’ve lead teams on content and storytelling projects for interactive spaces as a Creative Director across North America categories (from Womens,  N7, Kids and Purpose). Previously as a designer I had the dream opportunity to illustrate and design for Global Football. Contact for case studies.


Hand drawn Google "super G" logo with the brand colors (red, yellow, green, blue) in a crayon texture

For multiple years I worked as a Creative Director on a team focused on Google projects at Instrument. I lead work across product areas, overseeing multidisciplinary teams creating marketing websites, animated content, branding, illustration and interactive experiments with Google I/O, Tensor Flow, Google Photos, Google News, Fi, X and more. Every moment on this team was a wonderful opportunity for collaboration to solve our project briefs in the place where accessibility and creativity meet. Contact for case studies.

Creative Education

An illustration of an eye turning into a flower in six phases. The background is orange and the eye and flower are purple and blue. The drawing is simple line work with some crayon texture.

Learning is life long. I care deeply about the joyful experience of creative expression, and unpacking of obstacles that can get in the way of that. I have taught design at Portland State University, as well as pop-up workshops around the globe, from SSHHNYC in New York, Outlet in Portland and RetroJam in Japan. Some most recent talks I’ve given were with Adobe 99u and Creative Mornings. My approach varies in formats from hands-on workshops to lectures and a mix of the two. I love these moments to connect, engage, inspire and learn. 


Simple line illustration in white on black of a long haired woman walking, made up of multiple objects. Her parents and a book are what makes up her body, her one leg is a doric column, the other is a boombox. There is a calculator on her arm. She has hoop earrings and is drinking out of a bicycle bottle.

I am an artist at heart and every project starts with a pencil scratch, whether it’s a website, a video or an illustration itself. I’ve made illustrations for The New York Times, ACLU Magazine, Adobe, Nike, Big Cartel and filled up countless sketchbooks in between. Check out more of my illustration work on Instagram. 

©2021. Thanks for visiting, here’s a soundtrack to take with you.