On Saturday, Aug. 15, senior Grant Spanier and a few friends — Vince Koci, Jake Woodbridge and Laura Fitzpatrick — hopped in his car and headed west in search of inspiration for their desired careers as creative designers.
Spanier dubbed the trip “Creatives Go West,” and had the opportunity to meet innovators in the graphic design field.
“We are four creatives in the industry looking for inspiration and the West has a history of creativity and pioneer spirit,” Spanier said. “We wanted to see the people and places to hear their stories and learn about ourselves through them.”
St. Thomas senior Grant Spanier (left) meets design hero Aaron Draplin (right) near Mt. Hood, Ore. Spanier said that meeting with Draplin was one of the highlights of the trip. (Stephanie Dodd/TommieMedia)
While traveling, the group wanted to film a documentary that would share their trip experiences. The four returned 15 days later after visiting eight western cities including: Missoula, Mont., Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Denver.
Before leaving, Spanier and friends created a website, highlighting their trip’s intentions and itinerary. From there, they received exposure from The Egotist, a network of advertising blogs around the United States, and Agency Spy, an advertising agency. This attention got the group invitations to meet graphic designers from Los Angeles, Denver, and Portland.
John Cragan, distinguished service professor of Communication and Journalism, called Spanier a “risk taker.”
“(Spanier) has the capacity to empathize with very different people and build trust. He can recognize the unique individuality of each person and make them feel good about themselves,” Cragan said.
As part of the trip, the group was given a tour of the Facebook headquarters and interviewed employees about what inspires them.
“(The documentary) has been an extensive project. We did 30 interviews and have two weeks of footage to edit,” Spanier said.
Spanier said the group plans to submit the finished product to festivals and screenings in the Twin Cities.
Spanier said his fellow Tommies should try to focus less on everyday stress and more on finding people and a passion they enjoy working with.
“It seems like people are just spinning their wheels and haven’t found their passion,” Spanier said. “You just have to commit to something and discover yourself and what you like through that.”
Stephanie Dodd can be reached at email@example.com.