06.29.2017

Behind the Design: Vanessa King

Pittsburgh’s Favorite Creative Director Works Here at Sparq Designs!

Hi! I’m Vanessa King and I’m the new Creative Director at Sparq Designs. I’m a Pittsburgh native, and a graduate of Duquesne University. My career thus far has enabled me to wear many different hats, ranging from graphic designer to email coder to marketing strategist. This role at Sparq Designs is my first time working at a creative agency, and I’m really excited to get to apply all of the skills I’ve learned to help our amazing clients grow their businesses through online marketing.

Q: Give us some insight into your morning routine!

A: My morning routine is pretty standard. Wake up, cuddle the dog, get ready for work and head into the office. Coffee, work, repeat. Since I started working at Sparq, my morning routine also includes being thankful that I don’t have to fight traffic in downtown Pittsburgh for the first time in my career!

Q: Three apps that help with your work…ready go!

A: As both a marketer and a designer, I’ve learned to rely on apps that keep me both organized and inspired. At Sparq, most projects begin with a kick-off meeting, so I rely on Evernote for note-taking and brainstorming. I use Pinterest and Dribbble for visual research and to gather inspiration. I keep all my research, photos, presentations and spreadsheets organized on Google Drive. Using Drive enables me to search for any file I need quickly. A huge pet peeve of mine is knowing that I have something, but not being able to find it! I’m also not a paper person, so I’m thankful that these apps have enabled me to digitize my entire workflow.

Q: What music do you listen to while you’re working?

A: When I really need to focus on something, classical is my go-to genre. I also use an app called Coffitivity in the background of my music. Research has shown that ambient background noise improves creative thinking, and I find it to be very relaxing! For lighter projects, I pretty much listen to anything. My most listened to Spotify playlists cover a lot of genres ranging from “Pop Rising” to “Mellow Beats” to “Country Coffeehouse.” 90’s pop/alternative will always be my guilty pleasure, whether I’m working or not.

Q: What’s your dream job (besides working at Sparq =])

A: My “dream job” has evolved quite a bit throughout my lifetime. When I was little, I wanted to be a marine biologist (swim with dolphins for a living? Yes, please!) When I first got into design, I wanted to work for a record label. I’ve always been really into music, and the thought of creating a brand, posters and album art for a band or artist is what motivated me to pursue design. Nine years into my career, I realize that my dream job would involve many more aspects that my college self would have ever thought possible. So, in the meantime, I’m just learning and growing as much as I can. I like to think that if I keep doing that, my dream job will find me!

Q: If you could sit down and have an hour-long conversation with any person alive or deceased who would it be?

A: *Nerd Alert* I would absolutely LOVE to have an hour-long conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson. A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I am a total space nerd. “Interstellar” “Gravity and “Contact” are some of my all-time favorite movies. A coworker and I got sucked into Neil deGrasse Tyson’s talks on YouTube a few years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I also love that he communicates theories that we aren’t used to thinking about in a unique style that’s informative and engaging.

Q: Who is your idol in the business world? Why?

A: Sheryl Sandberg is definitely someone that I look up to. She has been through so much in her life, both personally and professionally. I read her book “Lean In” when I was going through a very challenging period in my career, and it changed the way I think about many things. One of my favorite quotes from this book is: “There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.” I am extremely fortunate to have many strong, successful women in my life, like Sheryl, who are both great learners and great leaders. They have taken risks, asked questions and encouraged me to do the same. It’s a goal of mine to continue learning from people like Sheryl Sandberg, with the hope to make a positive influence on others throughout my career.

09.12.2016

Behind the Design – Dan Montgomery

Meet new hire, Dan Montgomery!

Dan graduated from Penn State and he enthusiastically joined our Sparq team as video production manager. Matched with his unique and fun personality, he brings video expertise to the team. With a creative video style and a knowledge of quality production products, he has already provided Sparq with a new edge to the business. Get to know Dan.

Video Production Manager, Dan Montgomery

Q: Give us some insight into your morning routine!
A: Where to begin… I start off the day at 7:55, which just so happens to be exactly 10 mins before Ii have to leave! In that quick 10 minutes before I leave for my awesome job, I have just enough time to brew me some morning blend and toss some pants on!

Q: Three apps that help with your work…ready go!
A: Don’t even have to think on this one! Number one go to has to be Reddit! Yes, I’m a redditor, big shocker. r/Filmmakers has really helped me shape into the filmmaker and editor I am today! Secondly, Spotify. Being a musician now for urrrr 16 years now –  you could say that I bleed the entertainment industry. For the last one, I’m going to stick with good ole youtube. One of the best sources for inspiration these days IMHO.

Q: What music do you listen to while you’re working?
A: Definitely the most difficult question on this list, that’s for sure. Let’s see, lately my main jam has been Chill Out Electro Indie and Jazzy Hip-Hop! Really gets the creative juices flowing!

Q: What’s your dream job (besides working at Sparq =])
A: Another hard question! One side of me wants to say professional jazz musician (which I’ve already lived the professional musician lifestyle) and another side of me wants to say being a big blockbuster director! My love for film and music go hand in hand together which makes this a hard toss up! But right now I would lean more towards being a director!

Q: If you could sit down and have an hour-long conversation with any person alive or deceased who would it be?
A: Maynard Ferguson. Who’s that you ask? Well, he’s known to be one of the greatest jazz trumpet players to have ever lived. I’d love to get a chance to sit down and discuss how he created the amazing arrangements and his overall love of music and performance with him!

Q:Who is your idol in the business world? Why?
A: In the current market I think Mark Zuckerberg is a fantastic example of who to look up to. He took an idea, dropped out of school and ran with it. To go to a net worth of over 56 billion in the small time frame that he did with the simple idea he had is truly remarkable.


The individuals at Sparq Designs believe in quality and are huge advocates of setting ourselves apart from the competition. We do not believe in a cookie-cutter approach because we feel it’s more important to stand out in a crowd and we want our clients to do the same. We get excited about turning a concept into a design, developing a web presence, writing and optimizing content, and creating a buzz around a brand. Meet more of the team here.

07.13.2016

Behind the Design – Lizz Venanzi

Learn a little more about the crew ‘Behind the Designs’ with our newest Q&A series. Next up up is our NEW Social Media Manager, Lizz Venanzi.

Lizz is a recent graduate of Westminster College where she majored in both Public Relations and English and completed internships with CBS Radio, The Globe Newspaper, and Howard Hanna Real Estate. With skills in writing and media relations, Lizz will bring a new angle to the digital marketing department working with content curation, editing, social media advertising, and Google Adwords.

IMG_0856

Sparq’s new Social Media Manager, Lizz Venanzi

Get to know her a little better!

Q: Give us some insight into your morning routine!
A: Someone once told me that one’s morning routine can tell a lot about a person. I never thought too much about it until I realized how much waking up and having a cup ofcoffee drives my day. Every morning I wake up and I make myself a cup of coffee with Italian sweet creamer and that’s all I need to feel ready to take on the world.

Q: Three apps that help with your work…ready go!
A: I am an avid “brain-stormer” so Pinterest and Instagram are definitely two apps that help get my creative juices flowing. Buzzfeed is also my guilty pleasure. As much as a quick Buzzfeed quiz can make me laugh, I really enjoy the voice that most Buzzfeed writers take on and it helps me loosen up and get comfortable writing.

Q: What music do you listen to while you’re working?
A: I like to listen to music that I have never listened to before. I have trouble staying concentrated when I am listening to songs that I know all the words to because it makes me want to bust out into spontaneous song and dance. Instead, I like to open Spotify and click “related artists” to the music I normally listen to and then give some new music a try! It helps me concentrate while also expanding my music library.

Q: What’s your dream job (besides working at Sparq =])
A: I would absolutely love to work for Starbucks’ Public Affairs team, specifically in their Corporate Social Responsibility group. I am incredibly interested in how green marketing and cause-related marketing can expand a business, oh – and (if it wasn’t too obvious) I love coffee!

Q: If you could sit down and have an hour-long conversation with any person alive or deceased who would it be? 
A: Ellen Degeneres!

Q:Who is your idol in the business world? Why? 
A: I am not sure if I have one specific idol. I have many people that have shaped my professional experience in a positive and defining way, specifically my dad and college professors. But, I tend to appreciate and lean towards people who are not afraid to do something out of the box and take risks.


The individuals at Sparq Designs believe in quality, and are huge advocates of setting ourselves apart from the competition. We do not believe in a cookie-cutter approach because we feel it’s more important to stand out in a crowd and we want our clients to do the same. We get excited about turning a concept into a design, developing a web presence, writing and optimizing content, and creating a buzz around a brand. Meet more of the team here.

07.07.2016

Behind the Design – Jenna Sasala

Learn a little more about the crew ‘Behind the Designs’ with our newest Q&A series. Next up up is our Lead Graphic Designer, Jenna Sasala. Get to know her a little better!

Q: Give us some insight into your morning routine!
A: I’m such a routine person. Every morning I make my coffee & breakfast, do my devotions, workout (usually a couple mile walk or a bike ride), then, no matter how much time I’ve given myself, I’m usually rushing to get out the door. 😉

Q: Three apps that help with you work…ready go!
A: Basecamp is my new obsession! It keeps me organized with my daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Other than that, I like to go old school – I’m always am jotting down to do’s, appointments, and notes in my hard copy planner.

Q: What music do you listen to while you’re working?
A: I’m a Disney nerd, so I love listening to soundtracks from “Bug’s Life,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Ratatouille,” and Pixar’s Greatest Hits. Occasionally I’ll throw in some Mumford Sons and/or Relient K.

Q: What’s your dream job (besides working at Sparq =] )
A: This is so tough, I feel like I get to do a lot of work I love to do already at Sparq! Honestly, I’d love to work for Pixar or Disney. I love their emphasis on quality over quantity, storytelling, and the way they value their employees.

Q: If you could sit down and have a hour-long conversation with any person alive or deceased who would it be?
A: Big surprise – Walt Disney. He overcame so much to find success, I feel like he’d have a lot of wisdom to share. In addition, his creativity was out of this world!

Q: Who is your idol in the business world? Why?
A: This is so hard, there are so many people who I love to follow! Promise Tangeman is one of my favorite web developers, Justin & Mary Marantz are my favorite wedding photography team, and Dave Ramsey is an all around outstanding business man. All of these individuals have a passion for their work and a drive to help people take their own projects and lives to the next level. They truly care about the success of others, which I very much admire.

To learn more check out our team page!


The individuals at Sparq Designs believe in quality, and are huge advocates of setting ourselves apart from the competition. We do not believe in a cookie-cutter approach because we feel it’s more important to stand out in a crowd and we want our clients to do the same. We get excited about turning a concept into a design, developing a web presence, writing and optimizing content, and creating a buzz around a brand. Meet more of the team here.

06.15.2016

Behind the Design – Jim Blundo

Learn a little more about the crew ‘Behind the Designs’ with our newest Q&A series. Next up up is our Vice President, Jim Blundo. Get to know him a little better!

Q: Give us some insight into your morning routine!
A: My morning begins by getting my son out of his crib. From that moment forward, you will have to consult him on our “routine” (I’m not sure how clearly he’ll be able to communicate this but I’m a pretty good translator for him so we’ll do our best).

Q: Three apps that help with you work…ready go!
A: Pipedrive – Awesome sales tool that tracks prospects/leads from beginning to end of the sales process.
Basecamp – I use it to organize daily tasks that needed to be completed for clients.
Twitter – There is no better way to stay current and staying current is vital to the sales process. You can read some of my old blogs to understand why I say that.

View More: http://jennahidingerphotography.pass.us/sparqwebsitephotos

Vice President of Sparq Designs, Jim Blundo

Q:What music do you listen to while you’re working?
A: I listen to whatever the office has playing. I am not a “pass me the aux” guy so I just accept whatever everyone else is listening to.

Q: What’s your dream job (besides working at Sparq =] )
A: My own talk radio show.

Q: If you could sit down and have a hour-long conversation with any person alive or deceased who would it be?
A: My grandfather.

Q: Who is your idol in the business world? Why?
A: I don’t look up to any specific person. I just admire people who are authentic and don’t let accepted norms affect who they are, what they say, or how they behave.


The individuals at Sparq Designs believe in quality, and are huge advocates of setting ourselves apart from the competition. We do not believe in a cookie-cutter approach because we feel it’s more important to stand out in a crowd and we want our clients to do the same. We get excited about turning a concept into a designdeveloping a web presencewriting and optimizing content, and creating a buzz around a brand. Meet more of the team here.