Spotlight On: Ben

By Ben Stafford

I’d say I’ve been an artist ever since I’ve been able to hold crayons and a graphic designer ever since 6th grade when I knew I could make money from my skills.

Ben Internal Web Ready

I drew ads selling my services, made custom CD packaging using old magazines and an old typewriter, and was constantly doodling on brown paper book covers and multi-colored school folders. When most kids stopped their artistic pursuits, I ramped mine up.

After graduating from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in 2007, I worked at an ad agency in Columbus, Ohio. It was an unpaid internship, and yes, unfortunately it was legal to do that back then. I did small tasks and dirty production work. The Creative Director had me using glue, glitter, and macaroni “for an ad campaign.” To this day I’m pretty sure I was doing his kid’s art homework. While that position was not fruitful, it did lead me to my next (paid) job at Attaché, a marketing and design firm also in Columbus. It was there where I cut my teeth, my boss nurtured me in my design skills, and I was allowed to make mistakes. I’m forever grateful for that opportunity to work with a great team and learn so much. I stayed there for six years, eventually becoming the Senior Art Director.

My wife, Beth, and I began our own design studio, Foxmeadow Creative, in 2011 and I joined full-time in late 2013. My daughter, Roo, was born a month after I came on board. For five fantastic years we had a blast working together and I got to develop skills I didn’t even know I could develop. I ended up getting to do work for ESPN, National Geographic, American Express and SeatGeek. But it was during years four and five that I had an itch that needed scratching. I missed being a part of a team, something bigger than myself. A lot of the goals I had set for myself had been accomplished and I needed a new challenge and a new ceiling to grow toward. That was when Focus Lab caught my eye. As I read the job posting line by line, I couldn’t help but think this position was tailored to my specific skills. And who could pass up this team? From everything I heard, they had a culture and work-life balance that were exactly what I had desired. I jumped at the chance and applied immediately (after talking with my wife/business partner of course).

After each phone and video interview, I became more and more sure about this being the place I was meant to be. Now that I have a few months under my belt, I’m happy to report that it’s all true. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be in a place where collaboration is encouraged, systems are put into place that allow for growth, and opportunities for improvement are ever-present.