If you are a student at Colorado State University, chances are you have seen one of CJ Jewell’s creations. The senior graphic design major has worked on countless projects for the Lory Student Center (LSC), Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation (RMSMC), the Associated Students of Colorado State University (ASCSU) Syron-Sullivan Administration and three ASCSU presidential campaigns.
His impressive designs are rooted in time and practice. Jewell has practiced design since he was young and has kept himself involved in the field throughout his college career. He is currently enrolled in 17 credits, including three labs, on top of working two jobs. On any given week, he will spend anywhere between 24 and 34 hours in the Visual Arts Building labs. His on-campus jobs, one at the LSC’s marketing department, Colab, and the other at Rocky Mountain Student Media, take around 25 more hours of his week.
When asked how he gets through it all in a week, he smiles. “Coffee. Plus, mentally, I start a second day every day around six or seven p.m. You get into a flow.”
He has a routine that sets him in for a productive night. After a quick hour or two of relaxing with beer and friends between his first and second day, he starts his playlist, usually house or rap music, lights a candle to set an atmosphere, grabs another cup of coffee and gets to work. “The ideal situation is getting settled, getting things done, looking at the clock and realizing two-and-a-half hours have flown right by.”
Jewell was one of several students chosen in this project to highlight student excellence in initiating change on campus. When asked how marketing and design influence the university, he paused for a moment. “CSU absolutely has a brand. It’s important to maintain as we continue to evolve and modernize, because it’s the first representation of CSU that a lot of people have. The personality is the brand that they put off,” he says, swirling his coffee cup as he speaks. “I think ‘proud to be’ is the heart of the brand, and that’s had a positive impact. It resonates through the school, and in the student government, we bought into ‘Ram Pride’ without even being told to do so, it was reflected in our work.
Jewell believes that marketing and design can be a powerful agent for change because it rallies otherwise unaware students together to address a common issue. “As an example, one initiative we worked on last year through the Syron-Sullivan Administration was parking. Awareness is the number one issue. I don’t think a lot of students realize that things don’t have to be set-in-stone.” Student body awareness of ASCSU initiatives is an obstacle for every administration. Jewell was a part of an administration that committed themselves to aggressive initiatives and transparency. He believes that contributed to their marketing strategy. “You market the issue combined with the solution, tailored personally to the audience. Word choice and color are important to whatever materials you create because they create a psychological connection for the viewer. That’s what we really worked on in our department last year — simple but memorable materials.”
Next semester, Jewell will be promoted to creative services manager for Rocky Mountain Student Media. This promotion comes only after a semester of working at RMSM. It isn’t hard to see why he was promoted so quickly. His coworkers from ASCSU had nothing but positive things to say. “He has an excellent work ethic,” Tristan Syron, past ASCSU president stated. His Deputy Chief of Staff Claire Fenton agreed. “He’s passionate about his work. He’s so driven.” Past and current Director of Diversity and Inclusion Linzhi Douglas added, “He’s incredibly thoughtful in his designs. He tailors and communicates them to create products that speak way more than words.”
Looking ahead, Jewell knows his future lies in innovation. He will graduate in May and is looking for opportunities in California to challenge himself. Luckily, he has had plenty of professional experience and an impressive portfolio thanks to his involvement during his college years. Wherever he goes, Jewell will be committed to “changing the game” and improving the lives of others through ground-breaking design.