More than a designer

The bulk of my portfolio has been gleaned from my 15-year career as a national-award-winning designer at The Columbus Dispatch, where I designed print and digital pages, drew illustrations and created infographics. I am currently a web designer in the marketing department at Nationwide Insurance, designing web pages, visual emails, social cards and online infographics for all business lines.

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“Charlie is brilliant. He combines exceptional creativity with high intellect to create visual solutions that are highly effective, unique and beautiful. He is ridiculously fast at conceptualizing something and executing it. He is mind-blowing. As the top newsroom executive, I always appreciated the intensity of Charlie’s focus and how high he set his standards; he was a great influence in the room.”
— Benjamin J. Marrison
former editor, The Columbus Dispatch
“Charlie is a content-driven, highly focused designer who can produce thoughtful, compelling layouts as well as highly creative and timely illustrations. The range of work he produced during this time is remarkable for its diversity and quality. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to collaborate with his colleagues and bring out the best in everyone around him.”
— Scott Minister
former art director, The Columbus Dispatch
“Charlie Zimkus is, hands down, one of the most talented visual communicators I know. The design students I teach are incredibly fortunate to have Charlie speak in their classes and critique their work. His illustrations and print/online designs are stellar — he’s all about developing strong concepts in his work and executing them in the most innovative ways possible.”
— Julie M. Elman
Associate Professor, The School of Visual Communication, Ohio University

A proven leader
I developed leadership and management skills during my work on team projects such as the 2011-12 redesign of, where I was the lead designer. I feel just as comfortable verbally communicating ideas to fellow designers and developers as I do to editors and reporters and I am skilled in presenting work to large and small groups. I was an advocate for design in daily Agile meetings and worked one-on-one with developers to ensure design consistency.

A thoughtful designer
My design decisions are based on the content, not meaningless design flourishes or trends. Content is king and my job is to make sure readers don’t miss the message, and that they understand the basics before diving in. I also illustrate complex topics in insightful, unexpected ways, always mindful to match the story or product in both message and tone. My informational graphics and page designs for The Dispatch were created to inform and educate readers as much as they are to grab attention and be attractive.

A branding advocate
I respect and advocate consistency in design and branding. I created an extensive design style guide for the redesign of and I am a hawk when it comes to spotting inconsistencies in our print product. I apply the same tenacity to advocating the brand guidelines at Nationwide Insurance.

A collaborator
As a designer at The Dispatch, I worked with photographers, editors, and reporters on thoughtful, compelling page designs, which ranged from magazine-style special section covers to Sunday A1 news fronts. I frequently attended photo shoots for food and special section covers and enjoyed working with photographers to get the lighting and composition of our subjects just right. I enjoy brainstorming concepts with a small group of creative people and have found that such collaboration can quickly cut through the obvious ideas and yield concepts that are truly special.