Freshly Laundered 025 / Bob Ewing


Graphic designer and letterer, Bob Ewing works and plays in Indianapolis. He recently launched a new side project, INCH X INCH with friend and fellow designer, Drew Hill. We chatted with Bob last month about side projects, how he got his start, and what it means to belong to a community. Read more after the jump!

CB: A few months ago you completed your Daily Lettering project after almost a year and a half of lettering exercises. Why did you decide to move on? What’s your next creative side project?

BE: I wouldn’t say completed as much as I just stopped. For the past couple months I had been feeling like it was time to move on and that I wasn’t getting as much out of it as I was previously. I have quite a few things going on right now and It was starting to become a barrier for those things I needed to work on. I actually haven’t missed it like I thought I would, which is a relief. I still letter almost every single day. I am just focusing on larger projects and showing more of my process instead of the daily letterings, which I think is actually more valuable to the people that follow me. Often times as designers we just show the final pretty piece and no-one sees the mess of work it took to get to that place.

As far as what’s next for me, I am plan to start creating things for my own brand. The daily #hashtaglettering was great and I learned a lot, but I also created a lot of content that will never be used for anything other than practice. I am looking forward to continuing to learn and grow my hand lettering skills, as I still have a lot to learn, but doing that on larger projects.

The biggest thing I have been working on lately is Inch x Inch, which is a monthly button club whose proceeds support youth art education. My good friend Drew Hill and I just launched it the beginning of March, the response has been quite overwhelming and we are excited about the future of this side project.


CB: When a side project becomes more “work” than “fun” sometimes it is best to just close up shop on it, so to speak. Inch x Inch sounds great! How did you guys decide that Art With A Heart and 826CHI would be your charity partners?

BE: Agreed. It also had an affect on my personal life. I grew professionally over those 534 days, but I also made some personal sacrifices. While I try to never let work interfere with time with my kids, it affected my relationship with my wife. I often did my daily letterings after the kids were in bed, which is in-turn time I usually spent with my wife. She has been more than supportive of my career, but honestly that was the biggest reason for shifting gears even more so than the reason mentioned above.

We are super excited about Inch x Inch and how it can help benefit youth art education. Art education played a huge role in both Drew and my development, just as we assumed it did with our target audience. When researching charities, we quickly realized that we could affect change on a local level more than on a national level. With the amount of money we will be donating at this early stage, it would be best served to keep it close to home. We have plans to grow this venture as big as we can and in-turn donate on a national scale. Art for a Heart was an easy choice for us. We really appreciate their hand-ons approach and their belief that youth art education benefits kids in school and in life. Our button sponsor, Busy Beaver Button Co helped choose 826CHI as a way to diversify our donations and for many of the same reasons we chose Art with a Heart.


CB: How did you get started in the graphic design world?

BE: I always loved drawing when I was a kid. I even talked my parents into putting white wallpaper in my room so I could draw on the walls. Early on in high school, I started to take an interest in drafting and quickly decided that I wanted to be an architect. All while maxing out on all my art classes as well. I spent my summers working in my Uncles architectural firm and got accepted into Ball State’s renowned architecture program after graduation. Everything was working out perfect, or so I thought. Over the course of my 3.5 yrs at Ball State, I started to lose interest in architecture and dropped out of college.

I moved back home with my parents, got a job as a commercial electrician and did that a couple years before moving to Florida to escape the cold Indiana winters. While in Florida, I did door and window installation, and trim carpentry on large custom homes. Things were going really well. I started dating my wife 6 months after moving, but the kicker was she still lived in Indiana. We dated long-distance for 6 months before I ultimately decided to move back to Indiana. I was excited about moving home and the start of a new life. She is the best thing that ever happened to me. I got a job for a window and door company back in Indiana and quickly realized I needed to do something more with my life. I decided on graphic design. It took me all that time to discover what I loved about architecture was the design, but I wasn’t crazy about everything that came with it. I enrolled in night classes at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis. It was important to me to be able to work and go to school at the same time. I finished up in two years and graduated with my Associates Degree in Visual Communications.

So I guess I got started like most other people, with art as a kid. And even though my path is a little windy, those art classes as a kid started to shape who I am today. I am a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason” and I don’t have any regrets with how I’ve gotten here.


CB: It’s always interesting the paths people take to get from point A to point B in their careers. While yours definitely has some turns in the road, it looks like you’ve finally hit your stride. What do you find most compelling about being a graphic designer?

BE: I think the thing I love most about design is the design community. If you think about it, we are all competitors but hardly ever treat each other like it. The sense of community is truly amazing.


CB: Speaking of community, how do you participate in the community? Are you a member of any professional organizations or grassroots organizations?

BE: I am a member of Indianapolis’ AIGA and AAF chapters. We also just got Creative Mornings last November and people seem to be taking to it quite well. The agency I work for, Element Three, also started a workshop series called FUSE Sessions. We have the first one under our belt and are looking forward to having 3 more this year. There are a lot of talented creatives in this city, so any opportunity to get them together is a good one.


CB: We know you recently returned from Creative South. What would you say was your biggest takeaway from that conference?

BE: Oh wow, that is a good question. Creative South is community. Wait, no. It’s family. In a world concentrated on social media, likes and followers; there is something so human and refreshing about what happens over those 3 days once a year in Columbus, GA. I think Jen Mussari said it best when she said, “We are humans first and creatives second.”

If you have experienced it, then you get it. If you haven’t, you are probably wondering what is in the water down there. I wish it was that easy to explain. It’s Mike Jones, it’s the volunteers, it’s this amazing small/big city, it’s the speakers and the attendees, it’s community. All I can say is you have to experience it for yourself to truly understand how special this conference is.

Thanks so much for the interview, I love what you guys are doing!


CB: Thank you, Bob!

To keep up with all that Bob has going on, follow him on twitter, instagram, and dribbble. To pre-order his new shirt, Cancer Is Stupid, go here. Bob will be donating all of his designer proceeds from the sale of this shirt to Relay For Life.