Matt Ebbing Discusses Giving Brand’s Personalities

Last week, we talked about someone very new to The Cargo District, Queen Street Barbershop. This week, we are showcasing someone that has been around since the beginning, Matt Ebbing. Matt is here to share his story of starting his own creative agency, and the struggles and successes he has faced so far.


“Starting my own business seemed like an adventure worth having.”

Matt told us he created Ebbing Branding + Design because, “starting his own business seemed like an adventure worth having.” Before Ebbing Branding + Design, he was a creative director at a different agency in Wilmington, but it had shut down.

When looking for a new job, Matt quickly realized there were not many options locally. He fixed this problem quickly by creating an opportunity for himself and starting his own brand development agency here in Wilmington! Easy enough, right?

Matt founded Ebbing Branding + Design, a boutique creative agency that helps clients develop a brand for their company. Sometimes, clients want help from the very beginning to help manufacture the brand. Other times, clients would like to evolve their brand by redesigning a better version of it.

They would do this by asking Ebbing Branding + Design for help. Matt and his team, work to create an image for a company that stimulates growth. They identify what needs to change to make a client’s brand more successful.

When Matt first started his boutique creative agency he worked alone…sort of. He had his golden retriever Samantha to keep him company!

Sam has been an office dog since she was four months old, so she’s used to chilling throughout the day. She’s also extremely cute with a big personality, so we can see why Matt has brought her around since the beginning.

Ebbing Branding + Design started out as just Matt at a single desk inside Coworx.

He strongly believes in the coworking model for small independent businesses, and wanted to work by people who were thinking creatively and progressively.

Not even two years later, Matt has already graduated from a single desk to a two-room office in The Cargo District, with a team of four people including himself, or five if you include Sam!


“I like that we’re makers.”

With about 15 years of agency experience, Matt is an expert on the process of branding for a client. He informed us it is important to start off by researching a client. The discovery phase is crucial to strategic branding.

After learning all there is to know about their new clients, Matt and his team must find out what the brand’s higher-level purpose is. It is important for the brand to be meaningful in some way. This is how brands connect with consumers, and ultimately makes them want to buy their specific products.

When asked what his favorite part of being a creative director is, Matt responded, “I like that we’re makers.” Matt’s favorite part of his job is watching the Ebbing Branding + Design team create something amazing out of nothing. Musicians make music, artists create art, and Matt and his team design brands.

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A strong personality trait that helps Matt as a creative director is curiosity. He explained that he, “isn’t a scratch the surface and move on type of person. I really like to get into the stuff that I get into.”

This, and the fact that he has a “short attention span” is what makes him so good at his job. As a creative director, Matt gets to work with many different clients with different needs. He loves his job because, “he gets to work on a lot of different things, even in just a single brand.”

For instance, one client might need help with developing a logo, naming products, packaging, designing t-shirts or a website. Matt’s ability to really get into something in a short amount of time, helps him to thrive in a changing environment such as brand development.

“We just want to continually do better work for continually more interesting and challenging clients.”

One of the biggest struggles Matt encounters when branding is the fact that Ebbing Branding + Design takes on a lot of clients in very competitive areas. Ebbing Branding + Design is well known for creating very unique craft beer packaging.

The problem is, there’s over 7,000 breweries in the country. Matt described the beer aisle of a grocery store or a bottle shop as, “a sea of noise. Everybody is shouting at everybody and everybody thinks they have a story to tell.”


Whether or not the story is compelling or not comes down to how well they’re telling it, not what it is specifically. Matt and his team has to tell a brand’s story well, so it isn’t lost in the sea of noise.

Even though Ebbing Branding + Design has a lot of competition, the agency didn’t have a problem winning 14 American advertising awards in February of this year! When we asked how Matt felt about winning so many awards he exclaimed, “It’s exciting!” He explained that although it still feels good as a designer to have your peers recognize your work,

“We judge our success off of the success of our clients.”

Matt told us, “we judge our success off of the success of our clients.” One of their clients, Funky Buddha Brewery sold for reported 80 million dollars a year and a half ago. To Matt, that’s a huge success for him and his team. They feel they helped Funky Buddha Brewery reach that success through creating unique branding and packing design.

In a couple years, Matt isn’t really looking for anything specific for Ebbing Branding + Design. He told us, “We don’t want to grow to a certain size, we just want to continually do better work for continually more interesting and challenging clients.”

If that involves growth, so be it, but Matt is happy where Ebbing Branding + Design is right now, and just wants to keep doing the best version of what they do.


Meet the Author and Photographer: Tori Gatanis is a Junior at UNC Wilmington, studying Communication and Marketing. She is currently an intern at the Cargo District and loves the fact that it is dog friendly. Tori is passionate about photography and loves to capture memories when she is with friends and family.