Guide & Anchor: Charting Creative Waters in Indy

Spotting bold designs and colorful floral prints around town? It may be the work of SJ and Joey — the creative masterminds behind Guide & Anchor.

Owners of Guide & Anchor stand in front of signage on their building

Meet the lovely owners of Guide & Anchor Creative Studios, located off of East 10th Street.

Photo by Guide & Anchor

On the near east side of Indianapolis, Guide & Anchor’s vibrant blue shop stands as a testament to the city’s flourishing creative scene. Founded by Sara Jean (SJ) and Joey Potts, this design and branding studio embodies the essence of artistic exploration and creative design.

From their roots in Chicago’s bustling creative landscape, SJ, a seasoned animator and creative director, and Joey, an illustrator and creative director, were ready to venture into entrepreneurship. They began looking for a smaller city to grow their business — and landed on Indianapolis.

In addition to Joey having family in Indy, they both remarked on Indy’s vibrant creative community.

“Indy is such a great resource with so much support for small businesses,” said SJ. “There are so many cool people here doing so many cool things. The opportunities seem endless. The city is growing and changing, and we’re just excited to be a part of it.”

They began taking on clients ranging from breweries to music festivals shortly after moving to Indy in July of 2018. “We started getting hired a lot for illustration and animation but that quickly shifted to branding and interior design,” said SJ. After working out of their small apartment, they purchased a shop in 2020, which had its grand opening on November 11, 2023, after three years of renovation.

Beyond client projects, the shop also hosts its own collections. Their launch collection called “Floral Remedies” is a clothing line with additional items such as bags and notebooks.

Interior shot of Guide & Anchor shop with color decor

Keep an eye on Guide and Anchor’s IG for upcoming events they’ll be having in their beautiful space and around the city.

Photo by Guide & Anchor

“Our shop is a studio, an incubator space for our ideas, we’ll mostly be working with housewares and clothing,” SJ shares, outlining their vision for the future. As far as creative collaboration goes, SJ and Joey advise, “Know what you’re good at and know who’s good at what and collaborate with those people so everyone can do what they love.”

It’s not hard to spot Guide & Anchor’s work around town. Kismetic Beer Company is a prime example of Guide & Anchor’s diverse portfolio and impact on the city’s aesthetic landscape. From the retro-future lounge vibe to the integration of branding with interior design and even glassware and furniture, Kismetic showcases Guide & Anchor’s ability to create cohesive and immersive brand experiences.

“We just want to be able to help guide our clients to a new vision while also keeping them true to themselves,” said SJ. “You should always be anchored to the core of what’s important to you but also allow yourself to seek new horizons. Small businesses are personal. It’s an honor and a cool challenge for us to stretch ourselves as designers and think about the best way to visually represent someone else’s dream.”

Other examples of Guide & Anchor’s work across the city include the branding for Proper Variety & Events, Snug, King Dough Carmel, Natural State Provisions, Loom, and Black Circle, as well as the character designs for Hi & Mighty.

“We’re super excited to be in Indianapolis right now. It’s unlike any other city. It’s really popping off,” said Joey.

As for the upcoming All-Star Weekend, Guide & Anchor unveils a special treat: the “Y’all Stars” collection. “I was just sketching and thought of ‘Y’all Stars’ adding elements of the 80s and 90s fun, a lot of energy like the way those shirts used to be when they were chaotic and artsy,” said Joey.

There will be two designs available for pre-order soon. Follow Guide & Anchor at @guideandanchor on Instagram for updates on when the online shop will be live.

You can find Guide & Anchor products at pop-ups in their shop and around the city. Their upcoming events include a curated vintage coat sale at their shop + pop-up for the Fall in Love with the Near East Side event and a Y’all Stars pop-up at Proper Variety & Events.

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