Grand Ciel is French for Big Sky.

In naming my design studio, Grand Ciel was picked in the spirit that all things are possible and knowing the power of imagination. But working with me, you’ll find I’m quite down to earth.

Why I Do The Work I Do

Armed with a visual arts education and invaluable on-the-job experience in branding, design and marketing communications, I left the corporate world in 1996 to launch Grand Ciel Design. Everything I do is based on the love and knowing what makes good design. Its effectiveness to communicate, to emotionally connect, and the positive impact it brings is what makes design so rewarding for me.

When I started my design studio, I worked with clients who have similar values and respect for good design and who enjoyed the results from our working together. But my business felt too generalistic and I was working in areas that were interesting but not all together passionate about. A little over two years ago, I began focusing on projects with clients in the educational and environmental sectors, bringing all my experience and energy to these areas.

Why Education? As a college graduate from St. Olaf College back in the 1920’s, my grandmother knew the value of education and set aside a college trust fund for my brother and me. That was an early influence and it’s turned me into a lifelong learner. I know first-hand how empowering and life-changing knowledge can be.

Why the Environment? I may be an artist at heart but I have strong leanings towards all things biology and am fascinated by how every living thing on this planet is so deeply interconnected. If my math and chemistry scores had been higher, I envision I’d be working on Cousteau’s Calypso or out observing wildlife in remote jungles like Jane Goodall. In the end, my art has made me an environmentalist, much like a Beatrix Potter.

As a creative professional, I keep an open mind, strive to break out of conventional thinking and blend the disciplines of design, art, and storytelling. I work with clients strategically as their branding and design partner to visually define their brand voice and tell their brand story. I’d love to hear yours. 


Creativity doesn’t start and end with design or art direction. I’m a practicing fine artist, specializing in watercolors, graphite drawings, oil pastels and maker of Little Books for Grownups. The artwork that I do positively impact my professional design work. A win-win for both the creative spirit and for my clients. Check out my artwork here and find prints and other fun items of my illustration work for sale here.


When a client or project calls for it, I draw on the talents of professional colleagues — experienced marketing strategists, researchers, SEO experts, programmers, web developers, copywriters and social media consultants. This allows me to build a collaborative creative team that is best suited to work efficiently, effectively and responsively to your needs and expectations.

Grand Ciel Design certified as a Woman Owned Business (W) with the Central Certification (CERT) Program sponsored by Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis, Ramsey County and the City of St. Paul.

Kristin has a deep heart and an intuitive feel for design. She’s not afraid to ask the hard, “old school” questions that lie at the heart of any creative challenge, instead of just relying on “new school” bells and whistles and smoke and mirrors.

Kristin isn’t a designer simply because it’s fun or it’s lucrative. She’s a designer because she is an artist and a creative soul who NEEDS to design. It’s a rare thing to work with someone who has talent as well as that kind of passion.

— Jennifer Kane, Owner of Kane Consulting, Social Media Marketing & Digital Communications Strategist

Years In Business

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