aesthetic portrait
photo portrait
Back: Jameson Proctor, David Ceraso, Matt Owens Matthew Spencer, Red de Leon, Marcella Jyo, Mike Benson Middle: Malcolm Buick, James Ellis, David Ahuja Front: Jason Gnewikow, Allison Connell, Rachel Ake, Samuel Rhodes Photo by Shawn Brackbill


Studio Size

Medium (6-20)

Year founded




Studio Bio/Philosophy

Athletics is a cross-disciplinary creative agency based in New York City. We develop cultural and commercial experiences at the intersection of design and technology.

The Team

Athletics has 14 people. Of those, 3 are studio heads and 0 are managerial.

24% of studios are medium-sized (6-20 people).

Gender Breakdown

79% male

21% female

Average height


Shortest: 5’0”
Tallest: 6’0”

Average age


Youngest: 21
Oldest: 42

Number of freelancers/year


1-5 are long-term freelancers

Number of interns/year


Average: 1-2

Studio Disciplines

Breakdown of Work





Number of studio projects


Pro-bono projects



39% Strategy

61% Execution

Primary Specialties

  • Art Direction (58)
  • Books (52)
  • Brand Strategy (42)
  • Branding & Identity (77)
  • Broadcast Graphics (18)
  • Editorial/Publication Design (51)
  • Exhibition Design (33)
  • Experience Design (33)
  • Illustration (45)
  • Information Graphics (41)
  • Interaction Design (36)
  • Mobile Design (30)
  • Motion (29)
  • Print (75)
  • Sound Design (6)
  • Web Design (59)
  • Web Development (25)

Outside the scope of the studio

  • Industrial Design (35)

Clients’ Industries

  • Fashion (45)
  • Finance & Investment (26)
  • Healthcare (18)
  • Media & Publishing (58)
  • Music (28)
  • Products (32)
  • Restaurants & Food (29)
  • Sports (22)
  • Technology (37)
  • The Arts/Cultural Institutions (71)

Sister Studio


Athletics’s Clients

  • Advertising Age
  • Bonobos
  • Condé Nast (3)
  • Creative Time (3)
  • Forbes
  • Google (14)
  • Major League Soccer
  • Merriam-Webster
  • New York Post
  • News Corporation
  • Oak
  • Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
  • The New York Review of Books
  • Thought Catalog
  • Wolff Olins

James Ellis, Partner


Age 30, Male, from Atlanta, GA, United States, now lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY. Formal education is high school dropout, primary design education is self-taught.

What’s been the biggest influence on your design career?

I realized design was a profession when I was twelve. A friend's mother showed me how Photoshop worked, and helped me bootleg a copy of Photoshop 3. After slogging through a Classroom in a Book, I talked my way into an internship at a local design studio the summer after 7th grade. There I was exposed to a design culture I didn't realize existed. I remember obsessing over mid-90s Emigre magazines with the same fervor as the Fugazi records I had in regular rotation. In design and music I found my place in the world. Dropping high school, moving to New York, forming Athletics — for me, everything traces back to the good fortune of an extraordinary summer job in Conyers, GA.

Years in Design Industry

15 years

Average: 17 years

Previous Design Employment

  • Olive Media

Time spent designing

30% actual

80% desired

Jason Gnewikow, Partner


Male, from Madison, WI, United States, now lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY. Formal education is some college/university, primary design education is self-taught.

What’s been the biggest influence on your design career?

I came to design through music. Being involved in the punk scene exposed me to the DIY culture of making your own zines and records and that allowed a lot of creative people to feel like they could participate in anything they set their mind to regardless of education. I started designing record sleeves for my own bands which led to designing for other bands as well and so it went. Around the same time I was getting into punk I also became obsessed with the Pet Shop Boys music and records. As with punk I was always turned on by anything different and those records, designed by Mark Farrow was so foreign, unique and different than anything I was seeing. That had a huge impact on me aesthetically and definitely shaped my design sensibility.

Years in Design Industry

15 years

Industry before design


Time spent designing

30% actual

80% desired

Matt Owens, Partner


Age 42, Male, from College Station, TX, United States, now lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. Formal education is graduate degree, primary design education is school (Cranbrook Academy of Art).

What’s been the biggest influence on your design career?

My biggest influence has been my twin brother Mark. Growing up skateboarding and listening to DC hardcore bands definitely gave me a degree of independence, drive and restlessness as well.

Years in Design Industry

18 years

Industry before design

I washed dishes, was in a band and worked at the college computer lab

Previous Design Employment

Time spent designing

40% actual

90% desired


The Space

The studio is about 2500 square feet. It’s rented and they’ve been there for 9 months. They share a space with 1 other company/individual.

Approximately 179 square feet/person. The average is 210 square feet/person.
37% of studios share a space.

Number of times moved


Total people in space


Athletics: 14, Other: 0

Other businesses in the space

  • Strategy/Consulting
  • Video/motion/broadcast
  • Writing, Copy Editing or Content Creation


  • Bike storage (26)
  • Cleaning service (44)
  • Coffee maker (53)
  • Dishwasher (24)
  • Free booze (28)
  • Free drinks (27)
  • Free snacks (27)
  • Freezer (43)
  • Garden (8)
  • Library/book collection (67)
  • Photo studio (8)
  • Photo/video equipment (45)
  • Pin-up board (43)
  • Private bathrooms (34)
  • Waiting area / reception (26)
  • Whiteboard (23)

Number of conference rooms


Client meetings held in studio: Approximately half

Number of plants



Books and bookshelves, Our friends' artwork, Our work, Process materials for ongoing projects, Whitespace

Desk Policy

To each their own: some keep their desks tidy, while others like it messier.

Space Satisfaction

We like it, but plan to make some changes to the space

Working Days

Working week

The work week is 50-59 hours/week, core hours are 8:30-7:30, with the first in at 8:30am and the last out at 7:30pm.

31% of studios work 50-59 hours/week.
The average is 40-49 hours/week.

Paid Vacation

11-15 days

41% of studios in this range

Paid Holidays

10 days

Average: 7

Work Weekends?

Once a month

Take Summer Fridays?

Every once in a while

Busiest Time of day?

It’s high intensity all day



Plays music for 70% of the day at an average volume. Currently obsessed with Éthiopiques, David Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, and most played over the last year is The new Rhye record, Woman.

Side Projects

We aim to do a different side project every year: exhibitions, small books, etc.

42% of studios have side projects.

Biking to work


127 bikers across all studios

Pick your poison


Overall Noise Level


4% of studios are loud

Studio pets

1 dog

32% have pets at the studio

Extra-curricular activities

Audio engineering, playing music, skateboarding, gardening, perfumery, robotics, running, fishing.

Work from home?

Once a month

Encourage freelance work?


Internal studio meetings

Once a week

Lunch Habits

Eats in small groups

Favorite delivery/take-out: Joe's Busy, Dumont Burger, Dépanneur

Eat out for lunch?

A couple times/month

Favorite sit-down lunch: Meatball Shop

Critiquing Process


On-screen reviews

Studio Outings

Dinner, Drinks after work, A retreat in upstate NY

Favorite Place(s): The Graham and Co., The Wythe Hotel

Studio Rituals

Friday Afternoon Annie Mac Radio show on BBC1


  • #analog
  • #britpop
  • #caffeine
  • #clintonera
  • #crushingprofessionalism
  • #designandtechnology
  • #earlyrisers
  • #fashion
  • #heritage
  • #latenights
  • #liberal
  • #newschool
  • #newsjunkies
  • #oldschool
  • #perfectionists
  • #petfriendly
  • #preinternet
  • #razzmatazz
  • #retiredmusicians
  • #scottishexpats
  • #texas
  • #the90s
  • #thinkersdoers
  • #timelyideas
  • #whatsneiltennantdoing