CCAD alum brightens the world through print
At Columbus College of Art & Design, emerging artists and designers find their voice, hone their craft, and learn to create with confidence. Via business classes, internships, real-world projects with community partners, and much more, CCAD students graduate with discipline and professional know-how, strengths that are invaluable in career success. This month we’re highlighting three creative success stories. CCAD grads share their career paths and tips for other creatives seeking professional success. Keep reading to learn about a graphic designer who turned his passion for print into a business venture.
Nigel Ewan (Advertising & Graphic Design, 2014) has been successfully freelancing as a designer since his time as a student at CCAD, but it’s the Risograph printing company he started with his sister, Dempsey Ewan (Advertising & Graphic Design, 2020), that’s been garnering him attention lately.
Clatter Press, the first-of-its-kind printing company in Columbus, Ohio, is an outlet for the pair’s desire to make unique, vivid printed objects in small quantities. Risograph printing originated in Japan as a fast and inexpensive image duplication technique and has gained acclaim in the art world for its rich spot colors and an ink texture similar to screen printing.
“It’s been a joy to master this technology and to literally get my hands dirty,” Ewan says. “There’s something to being able to work within certain constraints and printing in this way certainly impacts the kinds of design decisions that you can make. It helps focus where I’m going to start.”
While Clatter Press and the quarterly publication he and his sister started in April 2020, Big Mess, keep Ewan busy, he considers graphic design his day job. Being independent makes him more agile and personal, a tradeoff a lot of clients like.
Working as a freelancer provides Ewan the flexibility to work from home, control his own schedule, and be selective about work. “I take on projects that a single person can do or ones I can do with short-term teams,” Ewan says.
He is drawn to projects that intersect with design, including copywriting and editing and print production. Ewan says he has always seen printing as an extension of his design work. That’s what motivated him to purchase a Risograph machine in 2018. When it comes to his competitive edge, Ewan credits two skills for helping him stand out in both office and contract work.
“I like to think I have an above-average mastery of print production—as a designer, you don’t need to know all the nitty-gritty details about printing, but if you do, you can do so much more—and an ability to work with words, with a copy editor’s sensitivity,” Ewan says. “As a designer, you’re a visual communicator. It’s a natural extension of that to also be an effective verbal communicator—to consider what words mean and not just how they look.”
While his graphic design work and Clatter Press take up a lot of Ewan’s time, he wants his fellow creatives to know you need other outlets, too.
Nigel Ewan’s advice: time matters
“Be aware of the expectations of your time,” Ewan says. “I want CCAD students to know that they can like doing graphic design, but that they don’t have to eat it and sleep it. I measure success in terms of being able to support my family, not by the number of clients I have or how much time I spend working.”
Learn more about the Advertising & Graphic Design program at CCAD or apply here. Read about a photographer who has made a name for herself in the music industry here and a creative entrepreneur using her filmmaking acumen to tell medical clients’ stories here.
Are you a CCAD alum with a story to share? Get in touch.