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.