Grant Spanier

This week we wanted to bring you some thoughts from Minneapolis creative Grant Spanier, a talented individual working across multiple fields. We had the pleasure of letterpress printing and slapping some gold foil on business cards for one of his many ventures, highqlty. The busy designer, writer and director recently launched his new website, so definitely pop over to view his incredible work! 

SL:  Where are you from, and why Minneapolis?

GS:  I’m from St. Cloud, an hour-ish north of here. I went to college in the Twin Cities and have stuck around since. Helluva creative culture here, that’s why Minneapolis.

SL: How and when did you get into designing/writing/directing?

GS: I started writing more seriously as a senior in high school, once sports ended and I had a windfall of free time. I carried this passion into college, but was doing it outside of my major, as a passion. This led me down some creative paths that eventually arrived at the doorstep of a small startup, which is where I started designing along with my writing work. I wasn’t designing by choice, but the startup was booking design work for clients but didn’t have anyone to execute…conveniently I was the only one on the team with a bootlegged (SORRY ADOBE!) copy of the Creative Suite. And thus, I started designing. I quickly fell in love with design and used it to fuel my passion for all things creative.

I knew the culmination of these interests would be film. It used to be a desire to write a novel (still possible), but right now writing for the screen and directing is what fascinates me. The elements of story, design, music, photography and the necessary collaborative nature of filmmaking get me way, way excited.

SL: What is the first project you ever designed?

GS: I can’t even recall the first project I designed ever, but I DO remember the first paid gig I got. I designed the logo + business cards for my roommate’s dad’s consulting company—Blue Ice Systems. My solution was a trendy, obnoxious logotype, complete with some sweet blue gradients, baby.

SL: We would love to highlight a project of yours. What have you worked on that is most exciting to you?

GS: I got the chance to write and co-direct a music video for a super talented artist named Vaski—my first official gig as a director. It was an almost surreal experience to approach the artist about collaborating, pitch my concept (a non-traditional concept, too) and bring it to life. I worked my ass off and poured my heart into this one. I think it’s a great representation of my aesthetic, my voice, and my abilities. I got to work with some of the most talented people in the city and make something I’m really proud of (it’s been viewed over 1 million times, which is a fun milestone to hit)

SL: What and where are your inspirations?

GS: In terms of consuming inspiration: I read, a lot. I read about a screenplay every week and always have at least one book I’m reading. My favorite fiction author is Chuck Palahniuk. My favorite non-fiction author is Seth Godin—who I got to work with in NY in 2013, and who has been a guest on my podcast. Besides that I try to get to a movie every week, or at least watch one at home.

In terms of creating inspiration: conversations and collaborations with talented, passionate people. I host a weekly podcast that gets me into conversations with an amazing array of folks. I also co-work and collaborate with really rad people + clients (for example: Studio Hump Day where I co-work with the homies from VON91 on Wednesdays).

The spectrum of stuff I get my hands into keeps me super engaged—sometimes that’s designing Greenroom Magazine, sometimes that’s podcasting, sometimes that’s directing a music video, sometimes that’s designing an interface for an iPhone app. The project variation keeps me sharp and moving fast.

SL: How has your creative process evolved since starting out?

GS: Hmm. That’s a big question. The short answer is this: I used to believe in a more sacred idea of “creativity.” After years of trying to “figure out” the creative process I now have a much less idealized perception of the process.

I’m more in tune with myself and my creative muscles are in better shape. So my process is quicker, more natural, and less frantic—I know my ability to find solutions as long as I a) GET TO WORK, b) communicate effectively, c) iterate and d) trust my instincts

The one constant piece of my process is writing. Whether it’s design, video production, or something in-between, I organize my thoughts by writing first.

SL: What do you like best about your job(s)?

GS: It’s so nauseatingly cliché.....but I really f**king love what I do and I get to wake up every day and work on things I’m passionate about. I love my independence, I love my ability to learn and grow, I love the opportunity to work with people I care about making things I care about. So, everything?

SL: How would your describe your design style?

GS: Efficient. Confident. Restrained.


SL: Who else in the local creative scene is inspiring you right now?

GS: Ahh. So many. To name just a few:

Brock Davis, Phil Jones, Braden Lee, Jake Woodbridge, Vince Koci, Jesse Draxler, Nora Purmort, Isaac Gale, Tricia Khouteretsky, Tony Franklin, Sarah Edwards, Jake Heinitz, Dschwen, Erin Pederson, A2F pictures, VON91, Roy Son, EGG (Eric Fawcett, Lisa McGuire), Kevin Horn + Kevin O'meara, Colleen Eversman...and there’s so many more people doing so many cool things. I’m surrounded by insanely talented and hardworking humans, it’s so rad.

SL: What tools of the trade do you swear by?

GS: Adobe Creative Suite (especially Illustrator, Story, InDesign, Photoshop, & Premiere), Evernote is incredible, my Wacom tablet is nice, Micron pens and sharpies for lettering, Sanebox/Boomerang for gmail make me kickass at email, TextExpander saves me time. I work on a top notch Macbook Pro Retina, Google Drive, Vimeo Pro. My cameras: an Olympus Stylus Epic, Contax t2, and wide Instax 210.

SL: How can people find you, hire you or work with you?

GS: Well, I use the Internets quite a bit. I’ve got a flashy new site over at

They can fill out this form to get started →

My podcast is at

Also find me on: Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Medium  |  Vimeo  |  Pinterest

SL: Anything else you’d like to add?

GS: When your main motivator comes from a sense of self, passion, and purpose, the results will probably be better. Stop trying to compete with, and comparing yourself to other people—it’s a big waste of energy. We can multiply our abilities by partnering with the right people, or we can waste energy trying to “win”—I prefer the former. Let’s make stuff together & make each other better.


Last week we had the pleasure of co-hosting a pretty awesome event with White Peacock Weddings. The idea was to unite some of the best of the best in the Twin Cities wedding industry to mingle in our new space while showcasing a select few vendors in action. Here is a little peak into the awesome collateral that set the tone for the event. Stay tuned for more photos from the evening, and in the meantime check out what our guests posted under the hashtag #makersunitemsp on Instagram!

Spark Spotlight: Valerie & Jim

We are kicking off our Spark Spotlight with none other than our owners, Valerie & Jim!  After starting the business in their Minneapolis home more than 11 years ago, then moving shop to Sioux Falls, they landed back here in  wonderful Northeast.


Best part about your job: Working with vintage presses.

Ink or foil: Ink!

Favorite font: Futura

Favorite color: Green

On your iPod: New Order, Broadcast, Vampire Weekend


Best part about your job: I love working with a wide range of clients to design or print something that is decidedly unique to them. Whether it is a new suite of business cards for a top design firm, or an event planner who is creating the most extraordinary wedding for one of their clients, or a small business who needs help pulling together print collateral; I feel fortunate to be right there in the middle of making it all happen.

Ink or foil: FOIL, but not gold or silver. I love those but there are so many more foil choices out there and I love to use ones that are a bit unexpected!

Favorite color: Eggplant

Favorite font: Archer

Can't live without: Diet Coke, my MacBook Pro and my family - not necessarily in that order of course!

Sneak Peek: Winter Styled Shoot

We know you know: we LOVE the Minneapolis wedding community. Spark is lucky enough time and again to participate in drop-dead gorgeous styled shoots with the best vendors around. Even in the frigid Minnesota winter, planners, florists, photographers, bakers, venues and more come together to tell beautiful stories. 

We want to extend a huge thank you to Rosetree Weddings & Events for inviting us to participate in A Winter's Kiss. All the vendors did an incredible job! See the full shoot over at Dainty Obsessions. And don't forget to check out more exceptional wedding work from these talented creatives!

(And stay tuned for a sneak peek from another winter themed shoot. Details and photos coming to the blog soon!) 


Shot in Rosetree's Minneapolis studio, these photos are dripping with deep reds, soft mauves and creamy neutrals. De La Vue Photography beautifully captured the pretty charm of a Minnesota winter wedding.

Models: Chelsea Lawrence & Max Lorei

Introducing Mischa

Spring is here! Okay, maybe not outside, but inside Spark our newest design is full of bold, vibrant colors. Paired with striking geometric patterns and a layered, peekaboo laser cut, Mischa is a show stopper. Take a look at some of our inspiration over on Pinterest!

Chad Michael Studio

There really is no better feeling than bringing beautiful designs off the screen and pushing them deep into paper. We were lucky enough to recently print for the immensely talented Chad Michael Studio, an agency specializing in spirit and alcoholic package, logo, and branding design. Check out the materials we printed below, then hop over to Chad Michael Studio's website to see even more mind-blowing designs and beautiful print!


Letterpress Labels for Old Town Distilling Co.


Letterpress + Foil Business Cards for Distroya Spiced Spirit

All photos courtesy Chad Michael Studio. 


The Melissa suite has a delicate touch of art deco mixed with a beautiful, bold color palette. The emerald green and copper foil is a unique and stunning combination that shows style and sophistication.  Check out our mood board below to see some bits and pieces of what inspired us including beautiful florals, glitzy metals and structured patterns.

Local Vendor Love: Rosetree Events

We've said it before, but there really is no end to the immense talent in the Twin Cities wedding industry. Rosetree Events is no exception, and this full service wedding planning company is even located in our favorite part of town, Northeast Minneapolis! Spark recently had a chat with the with CEO and CFO of Rosetree, Jennifer Rosen and Janae Mitcheltree.

Janae (left) and Jenn of Rosetree Events. Photo by Whitney Furst Photography.

On growing up and the Twin Cities: 

We both grew up in the Twin Cities. Jenn grew up in Plymouth, but spent a lot of time in Hopkins because of her parents’ church there. Janea grew up in South Minneapolis but moved as a young girl to St. Louis Park. We each love the melting pot of character and wit of Minneapolis, including all the creativity and natural beauty in the area (minus the below zero temperatures and the snow – though the first snow fall is breathtaking).

On getting into the wedding planning industry:

We both started at a very young age. Jenn began planning events at her parents’ church at 16 years old. Janea started as a child, planning surprise birthday parties for friends and elaborate dinner parties for her family. When we became friends in our teens, we teamed up for wedding planning and coordination for church; that’s where the passion and future dream of our partnership began.

Whitney Furst Photography

Whitney Furst Photography

On inspiration: 

We love finding inspiration in uncommon places. This often comes from enjoying the things around us: a family moment, a flower at the farmers market, a pattern we adore, something seen at an antique shop or while we’re out for a stroll around the lakes. Most importantly, we thrive on the inspiration that comes out of meeting a couple, hearing their story and listening to what they envision for their wedding day.

On design style: 

Because we are a duo, we’d say we’re a good fusion of vintage meets modern glam that has an eclectic charm.

On Rosetree Events' specialties: 

We specialize in wedding planning and coordination. Planning consists of all the logistics – timelines, vendor selections and referrals, budget creation and monitoring. Coordination brings all that planning together to make the wedding day run smoothly. We ensure vendors arrive on time and that the moments our couple envisioned are photographed so our clients can enjoy the day carefree. We are also there to provide solutions for any unlikely circumstances that may arise.

On the best parts of their job: 

We LOVE the people! Clients and vendors alike. We have been blessed with really wonderful clientele who happen to have some amazingly talented vendors in the wedding industry.

Whiney Furst Photography

Whiney Furst Photography

Whitney Furst Photography

Whitney Furst Photography

Contact Jenn or Janea at