Mockup straight on edit

Nigel Ewan (Advertising & Graphic Design, 2014) fell in love with Columbus College of Art & Design the moment he started taking Saturday Morning Art Classes here as a child. His curious nature and incredible sense of pride for the school led him to explore the college’s deep history for his senior thesis. He recently launched a Kickstarter to raise money to print his findings on the history of CCAD in a book he wrote and designed himself, called CCAD IS OURS. (And the CCAD connections are many: Kickstarter rewards include a poster by Imaginary Beast, Rachel Dangerfield, a 2010 Advertising & Graphic Design graduate, illustrating a quote from former CCAD President Joseph V. Canzani, and a limited-edition CCAD-themed piece by the duo behind Dangerdust, the anonymous duo of 2014 Advertising & Graphic Design grads.

We talked to Ewan recently to learn more about the project.

What are you currently doing, careerwise?

I was a graphic designer at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams until last fall. Since then, I’ve been working full-time as a one-man independent design studio. I have clients in the education and arts sectors, and I’m in the process of relaunching my website.

What prompted you to write a book about CCAD?

CCAD’s campus is really nice these days. But I spent time at CCAD every week as a kid, and I remember when it was a good bit funkier. I had classes in Beaton Hall — CCAD’s original home next to the Columbus Museum of Art. It's a gorgeous 1930s Spanish revival building, but by the mid ’90s, it was also pretty grimy and a little spooky. The basement was dark and full of ancient metal easels. I’d heard stories that there was a tunnel connecting Beaton Hall to the Museum. Turns out that’s true. You can read about it in the book.

I also owe a lot of inspiration to Frank Laskowski, my freshman design teacher. I don’t think Frank gets the credit he deserves as a vital CCAD personality. He worked alongside longtime CCAD President Joe Canzani for many years, assisting with the infamous Color Concept class (required for all students regardless of major). After there were more freshmen than Joe could teach, Frank was given the honor of teaching an additional section of that class on his own. He has a lot of great stories to tell about those days.

What is your favorite part of CCAD?

I love the community of CCAD. I don’t mean just “all my friends are here in this one place” — although that’s fantastic. I’m talking about the community that goes over a hundred years back in time.

The college wouldn’t be where it is today without a lot of people you’ve never heard of: those students who took a chance in the ’50s and ’60s committing to a tiny art school that did not have a very glitzy campus; the teachers who believed in the college and worked as teachers during the day, but also as advisors, administrative staff, landscapers, and even construction workers; the Columbus businesspeople who selflessly banded together to protect CCAD’s independence in the face of a merger with a local university. CCAD wouldn’t be what it is without all those people, and their stories deserve to be told. My goal is to get people excited about all that stuff.


Learn more about CCAD IS OURS and check out the Kickstarter here.