Designer Spotlight: Nate Sprehe


Where do you work, and what is your title?
Almanac, Owner + Creative Director.

How long have you been in the design industry?
Officially since graduating from college in 2001, although I was doing design throughout college.

How did you end up in your field?
When I was in high school, Savannah College of Art & Design did a recruiting trip to St. Louis. They booked a couple hotel rooms (so 90s) to meet prospective students and review portfolios, so I signed up. My portfolio of high school art projects was terrible. It was clear I wasn’t going to SCAD, but I watched a video about their programs and learned about this thing called Graphic Design. It had something to do with art and computers, both of which I loved. And so it began.

Tell us about one of your most memorable projects.
This is not a fun one, but you asked for most memorable. My most memorable project was for a friend whose husband was shot to death outside of their home on a random Saturday morning. I designed the prayer card for the funeral. Working on that project was the most gut-wrenching and visceral experience I’ve ever had.

What is your favorite place in St. Louis to find inspiration?
I love architecture, so I’d probably say walking through neighborhoods in University City.

Who is your design hero?
Victor Papanak. He is an industrial designer who advocated that designers take a morally responsible and holistic approach to design. I read his book Design for the Real World early in my career, and it’s helped to frame how I approach our work.

Do you have favorite music for fueling your creativity?

How important is it to know what other designers are doing in your industry?
Very important.

What advice do you have for an up-and-coming designer?

  • Stay away from too much decoration. Good work is driven by a strong concept.
  • You’ll get there. Keep working at your craft and you will become a strong designer.
  • Do something meaningful with your talent. When I wanted to make a career out of art, my dad suggested political cartoons. That was the only career path he could see to make art and make a positive impact on social issues. My drawing skills were nothing special and so I struggled with that idea for a long time. But eventually I learned there are many different ways to use art and design to move the needle on something you care about – big or small.

Design in St. Louis is friendly.

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