Monday, April 29, 2013

Get Excited...


It’s time to get excited!  Spark is proud to introduce our brand new letterpress wedding album, Bliss, featuring 40 invitation designs plus save the dates and wedding day items.   Bliss design suites are fresh and on-trend, not to mention printed on eco-friendly papers and sold at an affordable price.

The Carola and Rosalie suites featured below are just a taste of the new collection.  Carola is printed in our taupe and creamsicle inks on soft white recycled paper. Rosalie is printed in our steel ink on cream recycled paper.

We are currently accepting applications for stationery dealers to sell this line.  Contact for order form and details.

To view more of the suites and to download a PDF preview, please visit our website.

Friday, April 5, 2013

OTA Collateral Redux

I already gushed about my OTA experience so I'll try to contain myself a little in this post. I wanted to recap some of the other collateral Spark was asked to print and design for the OTA event. Using the new identity (designed by Funky Fresh) we created two of my favorite pieces ever – the OTA Manifesto and the Class of 2013 prints. Each attendee received a box of at the end of the sessions that included these two pieces as shown above.

The OTA Manifesto is a masterfully-written piece by OTA curator, Hugh Weber. Hugh and I met about the pieces we would be designing and his direction allowed me to leave the meeting knowing what I wanted to do for the look. As I always feel with every project I'm passionate about, I was nervous to send the first draft, but fortunately he and I were on the proverbial "same page" regardling the look. With only a few edits we got the file ready for press, and I couldn't be more pleased with the results. (Side note: My mom loved it so much that she said she wanted Hugh and I to collaborate on something similar for her funeral. I think that is a compliment to both of us, yet also disturbing. P.S. She is not near death as far as I can tell.)

The Class of 2013 piece came about as a way to build off of the OTA community Hugh has worked tirelessly to develop. I believe very much in finding new ways to help people feel tied to one another as a way to enhance and further our community. As attendees we believed in ourselves enough to take the time to be educated, inspired and re-energized by the presenters. With more than 300 attendees that day, we all left with this piece as a memento of what we shared collectively.

As for the technical details of these pieces, they were both printed on our Heidelberg KS Cylinder press using Neenah Classic Crest 165# Cover in Solar White. We used a custom opaque red ink we created for specifically for OTA, along with black and transparent silver. The finishing touch was definitely the OTA red painted edges.

Along with these pieces, we printed some additional collateral designed by Funky Fresh including a sponsor card, box label, name tags and the OTA identity pieces. The name tags are based on a brochure design I had done seven years ago, a matchbook style piece set with eyelets. The name tags unfolded to reveal two interior pages with the day's schedule and a list of sponsors. The covers were color coded to differentiate the attendees, speakers and volunteers. I will say that my right hand was very sore by the time I set the 700th eyelet, but that's how we roll at Spark. You give us a project where the details make all the difference and we are all in!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My OTA Experience

Have you ever been involved in something so amazing that it is hard to put your thoughts and feelings into words because you are worried that some small, but ridiculously important detail will be overlooked? That was OTA for me and Spark.

OTA is a collaborative of creative catalysts and community changemakers that connects the social and creative capital of South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota. You can learn more by visiting the OTA website. OTA founder and curator, Hugh Weber, was kind enough to bring Spark on board as a production partner for this year's event, which means we were able to be a part of the fun printed collateral created for the event.

On March 15 the people of OTA converged on the Augustana College campus to take in a killer line-up of speakers. I'm not sure if I should refer to this group of fantastic individuals as speakers because they really were something far more exceptional. They didn't come to rattle off a few statistics or blandly sell a product or idea. They came to engage, entertain and inspire, all the while exceeding our expectations. Throughout the course of the day I was taken to lands near and far, provoked to think about abstract ideas and concrete solutions, challenged to live my life with more everything-that-is-awesome and less of the ordinary and expected.

Some of my favorite quotes from the day:

"Exceptional people can tell you why they are." -riCardo crespo of 20th Century Fox
"Do good work for good people." -Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co.
"You can't A/B test your way to a vision." -Karina van Schaardenburg of Foursquare
And pretty much everything that was said by Dave Brown of Holiday Matinee and MKG

Be sure to check out:

Pencils of Promise: What Adam Braun has accomplished since 2008 will astound you. The world needs more people like him who are willing to do what it takes to make a difference in the lives of children around the world.

Ferocious Quarterly: How could I not love what Nate Utesch has done to beautifully capture the talents of current artists? The power of print is alive and well in this publication.

Pre-Session Mailing

The first pieces we designed and printed were for a pre-session mailing to the speakers that they received two weeks before the event. The two pieces were wrapped in kraft paper, and tied with baker's twine and a note welcoming them to the OTA family.


Inside we had a card that asked the speakers to tell OTAns what they had in store for them. The cards said "Hey OTAns, preapre to be ______________ on March 15, 2013." Here are some examples of what was received. Fun, right?


The other piece in the mailing was an art print we designed of the OTA region including a vintage map in tone-on-tone transparent white, custom opaque red and black inks. We outlined the states with the speakers' names and used the intersections language from the OTA manifesto to tie it all together. Both pieces were printed on 29 pt. chipboard on the same press sheet on our Heidelberg KS Cylinder. 

Stay tuned for my next post about the OTA manifesto and class of 2013 prints and the other pieces!


Thursday, January 24, 2013


Holly, one of our creative sparklers is engaged! She's now in the midst of planning her September 14th wedding and she has agreed to do periodic blog posts to showcase what brides are really going through when planning their big day. She'll share stories, photos and matrimonial decisions as she makes them. So here's her first post, a love story about how she and her fiancé, Marshall, met and decided to get hitched. (Card pictured below is from our good friends at The Social Type and can be purchase in our downtown store.)

It's already been five months since we got engaged and I still can't believe it... WE'RE GETTING MARRIED!!!

How we met:
It was a song on the radio that led me to spending my best thirty dollars of my life: a one month subscription on! I don't recall who winked at who first, but Marshall's positive outlook on life and his handsome profile picture is what drew me in.

After our first date I knew right away that someone wonderful had entered my life. It didn't take long for him to sweep me off my feet.

The Proposal:

The night before the proposal we had planned on going to a fundraiser for bulldogs to get a professional picture of us with our dog, Jack. It was the first day of favorite time of the year!

The next day we took Jack to the park to run before getting our pictures taken. As we pulled up at the park I noticed Marshall was acting a little funny. The way he situated his coat on the seat next to him was a little odd. He never wears a jacket and it was a beautiful fall day with no need for one!  As we were throwing tennis balls to Jack, he was hugging me from behind and I said something mushy like "'re my forever." The next thing I know he's spun me around and was down on one knee with a huge box and bright shinny ring! I couldn't believe it! The words coming out of his mouth were a big blur except the "Will you Marry Me" part!

It was complete bliss, the best moment in my life so far!  Then we sat on the park benches for awhile and took some time to soak it all in before heading over to get our first engagement picture together. 

Stay tuned to find out how Holly's wedding planning progresses!
Next Post: Engagement Photos