Who is Karen Spears?
“Karen Spears is the founder of Kareracter, a creative firm specializing in hand-lettering projects. Kareracter’s most recent project is The Wintrust Mural, in collaboration with The Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund. Past art commission clients include The Chicago Foundation for Women, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, and Village Captial, among many more.
The Kareracter Club, its subsidiary, is a creative design membership club for companies & organizations, helping them design visual branding and digital assets with character to shape their brand’s personality. Clients include the Poetry Foundation, Tory Burch Foundation, Thales, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Therapy for Black Girls, EBONY Magazine, The Dovetail Project, CurlMix, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, University of Illinois Chicago, & Syracuse University. She’s collaborated on special projects with major brands like Comcast, Adobe, Gatheround and Neiman Marcus.
With a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Business from the University of Missouri, Karen has a unique perspective on brand design that works hand-in-hand with business. Early in her career, Karen had the privilege of working for Google & Leo Burnett and served as a programming advisor for the Obama Foundation. In 2018, she was named Emerging Designer by the Professional Association of Design in Chicago, IL. Soho House recognized her as one of Chicago’s Rising Stars in 2021, and more recently, she has been featured on WGN, WGN Radio, NBC, Fox, and WTTW.
Today, Karen can be found managing the personal brands of media personalities and non-profit leaders, running a team of creatives, conducting mind-mapping strategy sessions with business owners, and mentoring young designers of color.” (bio provided by honoree)