Freshly Laundered 015 / Ben Stafford


Ben Stafford is a graphic designer living and working in Columbus, Ohio. We spoke with him to get the scoop on what it’s like to work with your spouse, from home, with a small child underfoot. Read on to learn more about Ben and the designers he’d like to chat with over steak and cheesecake.


CB: You opened your design studio, Foxmeadow Creative, with your wife Beth about four years ago. How did that come about? Had you guys worked together before?

BS: I can’t believe it’s already been four years! At the time, we were Art Directors at different marketing agencies here in Columbus, Ohio. We had been doing freelance work on the side since graduating from college but never made it “official” until 2011. Beth left the agency world and pioneered the frontier of owning our own business. I didn’t join her full-time until November 2013.

We’ve heard working with your spouse isn’t for everybody. But for us (without sounding mushy), we really do love each other and are best friends. We have similar tastes, design sense and agree on a lot of business-y things. Our design strengths compliment each other well and we couldn’t feel more blessed to have this rare opportunity.


CB: That’s great! It’s a pleasure to work with people you respect and like so it’s gotta be doubly great to have your life partner be your business partner as well. You guys do a lot of work for ministries and nonprofits; did these types of projects fall into your lap, so to speak, or did you seek them out?

BS: Both, actually! We have always wanted to use our skills and abilities to help make a difference. Over the years we’ve teamed up with many different organizations and ministries that are near to our hearts. Just knowing we’ve played a small part in furthering these causes/missions is an honor and joy.


CB: Do you guys work out of your home? If so, how do you balance having your daughter at home with you while you’re working?

BS: Yep! We’ve got a space in our home dedicated to our office/studio. I get out occasionally for a different perspective, but most of the time, we’re in there together.

As for…<changes baby’s diaper then returns>…taking care of a small child while managing your own company, it has its challenges. We take full advantage of her nap time like nobody’s business. I’m sure it will get harder as she grows, but there have been continual adjustments and we seem to adapt. At the end of the day, I’m thankful for how much time I get to spend with my leading ladies while being a full-time designer/illustrator.


CB: Ha! That’s exactly what I was wondering about. You’ve gone four for five with your designs for CB, where do you find inspiration for this type of “personal” work?

BS: I wish I could say tangrams! I haven’t played with any in years but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some subconscious influence. Staying inspired is partly due to the fact that I’m constantly doodling in my sketchbook. It’s rare that an idea (good or bad) goes undocumented. I love working with simple shapes and practicing restraint with my illustrations/designs. As far as who I’m inspired by, the older legends like Saul Bass, Ivan Chermayeff, and the amazing Charley Harper are never-ending resources. The work Ty Wilkins, Mike Bruner, and Luke Bott are producing these days is top shelf and definitely makes me strive to be better and think differently!


CB: If you could sit down to dinner with Saul Bass, Ivan Chermayeff, and Charley Harper what would you ask them?

BS: During cocktails, I’d ask them to share some of the stuff that didn’t make the final cut or some of their personal work that was never shared. In our line of work, sometimes we have to “kill our darlings” and let go of some good concepts. So based on a hunch, I’m sure they have treasure chests full of unseen sketches.

While we’re dining on steak, I’d ask them to share their biggest source of inspiration. My guess is that it wouldn’t be the internet.

After we’ve finished our cheesecake and have moved onto coffee, I’d ask them for their autographs and a quick pic for Instagram. Because, “pics or it didn’t happen,” am I right?

CB: Yes, pics or it didn’t happen! That sounds A) like a pretty great dinner and B) like some great questions. Thanks for chatting with us Ben!

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