September 12, 2018

From Philosophy to Visual Thinking: Inventing a Creative Career

At Spark, we’re a team of creators, analysts, and strategists, but we’re also a group of humans who love to ask cool questions, test to find answers, and then start all over again. There’s a lot that makes us awesome. That’s why we’re sitting down for a little chat (with ourselves) to show you more about the people behind the process. First up, here’s 5 things you never knew about Ariel.


Ariel Aberg-Riger, Design Principal at Spark


Her education is way cooler than most

“I studied philosophy at Smith College (along with a bunch of theatre and French) and spent my junior year abroad living in the 19th arrondissement in Paris, going to the Sorbonne, and working in a photography studio run by the guy who designed a lot of the iconic Mai '68 protest posters. After college I spent a year in Barcelona where I met my wife, studied Spanish, filled a lot of notebooks, and walked the Camino de Santiago for a month across the country.”

Her professional path always morphs—and that’s the goal

“The notion of a single career path you linearly make your way up through feels very old-school to me. I think about careers as a scatter plot—you do things that interest you, little dots on a graph that sometimes seem messy and random and all over the place, but when you look back, you can see the clusters of passions and interests that tie it all together and drove you to get where you are. It's always developing. Which I love.”


She embraces the unexpected—and puts it to work

“I never studied design or art or business and now I'm focused on all three on a daily basis. I think I never really knew how my interests and skills would manifest because when I was younger, I didn't know the type of career I have now even existed. But it's always revolved around the same loves—communicating viscerally and effectively, thinking broadly and visually, developing frameworks for navigating difficult problems.”


She takes on the world around her

Dancing, drawing, walking, long afternoons in bookstores & cafes, being surrounded by huge thick delicious art books, eating, listening, listening while eating with smart people, and exploring the world with my 3-year-old.


Her goals are #goals  

I'm 7 months pregnant, so short term I'm focused on bringing a healthy, hungry human into the world. Longer term, I'd love to continue using art and storytelling in the service of social justice, show up more often for others in my community, not just online, raise compassionate humans, energize and uplift those around me, drink more water, send thank you cards, the usual.


Want more? Check out a blog post that’s near to Ariel’s heart.

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