Charlie Nowell turns graphic design awards, internship into job

Charles Nowell, a recent graduate of UMSL's graphic design program

Charles Nowell, a recent graduate of UMSL’s graphic design program, has started working for Momentum Worldwide after winning numerous awards at UMSL. (Photo by August Jennewein)

As a newly minted graduate of the University of Missouri–St. Louis, Charlie Nowell is used to producing art that stands out in a crowd.

Among the numerous accolades he received as a graphic design student, he recently won Best of Student Show in the competition sponsored by AIGA Saint Louis, a professional graphic design organization. Nowell was already thrilled for classmate Nermin Zimic, who won the Judges Choice Award for the best submission out of both students and professionals.

“I didn’t know another award would be called, so I was kind of dumbfounded,” Nowell said of his win. “It’s still sinking in.”

Nowell’s video “UI/UX and the Experience of a Person” was inspired by a mission statement released by Apple last year, which stated that the products are designed to make consumers’ lives better. Nowell noticed that much of Apple’s advertising focuses on people looking at their devices rather than at each other, trading personal interaction for on-screen interaction.

Nowell graduated from UMSL this month, earning a BFA in studio art with an emphasis in graphic design.

“It’s about how we’ve gotten to where we are with technology and how it controls our lives,” Nowell said. “It’s technology designed for distraction instead of inspiration from the world around us.”

In addition to this year’s AIGA competition, Nowell racked up a number of awards as a graphic design student at UMSL. He was one of two students to submit winning designs to paint a mural in Lucas Hall. In 2013, his logo was selected for the Jubilee Brew, the Ferguson Brewing Company’s tribute to UMSL’s 50th anniversary.

Charlie Nowell installing his winning mural design in the foyer of Lucas Hall. (Photo by August Jennewein)

He also made a strong impression on UMSL’s faculty, including Patrick McNeil, a senior lecturer in graphic design.

“Charlie is not content to stick with the easy, surface ideas,” McNeil said. “He is eager to dig in and find greater meaning and purpose in his work.”

Now that he’s graduated, Nowell has been hired by Momentum Worldwide. He started with the advertising agency in Clayton, Mo., as an intern last summer and worked as a freelance art director during his final year at UMSL. The first few days of his full-time career have been filled with learning as well. Right now, he’s working on updating designs for the U.S. Postal Service.

“When I come in, I always say ‘what am I going to learn today?’” Nowell said.

He credits UMSL’s art faculty with helping him achieve his success and finding his job with Momentum.

“I got a better art education here than I would have gotten anywhere else within 800 miles,” Nowell said. “I know all my art professors on a first-name basis and we’re keeping in contact. We’re friends now.”

In addition to Zimic and Nowell, Marquis Love won Peoples Choice for his poster entry. Both will be featured in UMSL Daily.

The UMSL Experience


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