Macey and Mallory Cowden facing forward, twin girls, brown glasses, blonde hair
Mallory, left, and Macey Cowden.

Macey and Mallory Cowden

B.F.A., 2023, Communication Design: Graphic Design, magna cum laude
Macey: Minors in Art History and Sculpture
Mallory: Minor in Art History

Hearing about students graduating and pursuing their passions is always a joy. Macey and Mallory Cowden graduating from the CVAD's second-highest-ranked graphic design program in the Southwest is a double delight. It is a challenging program, a fascinating field with a competitive career outlook. It's a field that requires creativity and technical skills, so it's impressive that these twins completed their studies with high honors. Having a twin sibling in college can be a huge blessing. They provide emotional support, academic support, and a built-in friend. Twins in college together can be a double dose of love and support!

As recent graduates, Macey and Mallory now have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to various industries, such as advertising, marketing, publishing, and even film and television. They may also work as freelancers, start design businesses and follow in their creative parent's footsteps, owners of Nuu Muse Gallery in Dallas. The possibilities are endless! In any case, these twins have a bright future in the exciting world of graphic design.


Macey Cowden

Senior Design Highlights

Macey looking forward smiling, long blonde hair, brown glasses, red-and-black topTell us a bit about yourself.
My early years were in East Texas, but I consider the Dallas-Fort Worth area my home. My hobbies are all over the place. I love to experiment with so many types of mediums. Whether designing work for clients, tinkering away on a sculpture, or squishing around on some clay. As for food, I love anything sweet, as I got a major sweet tooth! If I pick something savory, it would be garlicky lemon chicken. I enjoy watching movies so much! I grew up watching Period-Dramas with my mom and still do. Watching movies that look into the past or future is fun, as sci-fi and period movies are some of my favorites. I like entomology and think bugs are so fascinating! I like to collect any dead ones I find to put them in a shadow box to display. 

Two framed boxes of dead bugs and a potted plantHow are you different from your twin?
Weirdly, we are complete opposites while still being the same. We have many of the same interests, and being creative is the main one. However, the way we design and interact with the world is different. Mallory likes structure and minimal design, while I like to explore experimental and organic design. 

What inspired your interest in Communication Design? 
I have always loved to explore various methods of design and art. During my childhood and teenage years, I often got bored with doing one type of art project and constantly looked for the next one to try. It started with getting those cheap painting kits to different types of clay and continued with me trying out different studio classes during my time at UNT. 

My parents are still supportive of my ever-changing need to be able to explore different art mediums. This support was natural as being creative runs in the family as my mom is a professional artist.

This yearning to explore has never ended, so Communication Design is appealing. It has so many different outlets to experiment with and learn. When it came time to decide what career I wanted to pursue, I saw Communication Design had many key elements that I could see, resulting in a long and successful career. It has a good mix of allowing me to be creative while also having a business element which leads to many career paths.

What skills have you learned in college most essential for your career? For Life?
Time management is one of the best skills I have learned in college. Balancing life and school was beneficial as it helped put what is important in life first. The second skill would be networking. Knowing faculty and students through the Comm Design program has provided many resources to help me succeed in my career and life. 

Who at CVAD has most influenced you? 
The Comm Design professors' input was insightful in providing me with knowledge and references that helped in my design work. All the professors had different ways of thinking, which was beneficial to keep my designs fresh and current. If I had to pick one professor, it would be Karen Dorff. Her stories and knowledge of the design world gave me an interesting perspective on design and excited me even more about this career.

What do you find best about being a creative?
I love the whole process from start to finish. Starting from an idea in my head for a design or sculpture and then getting to see it come to life is so rewarding.

"Dream Big!! I think it is important to explore new designs to expand one’s design knowledge constantly."

Mallory Cowden

Senior Design Highlights

Mallory facing forward, long blonde hair, brown glasses, black-and-white topTell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Tyler, Texas, but I moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area when I was six. I have lived in the DFW area since then and plan to stay there, but who knows what the future holds? I love doing various fine art projects in my free time – watercolors, plaster molding, and even miniature model spaces. My favorite genre of books and even movies would have to be anything about time travel or future worlds.

How are you different from your twin?
We are different and similar in so many ways. Our sense of design style differs as we inspire to do different graphic design fields. I love to work in modern publication designs, while my sister, Macey, is more focused on branding or UI designs. Another difference is her love of bugs – I am the complete opposite, as I dislike bugs.

What famous or prominent designers or architects have studied influenced you?
Back in middle school, one of the first architects I heard of was Frank Llyod Wright and the Fallingwater house he had designed. I loved anything minimal, sleek, or mid-century, so I was drawn to his project. As for designers relating to graphic design, I would say there is not one designer in particular who has influenced me. I have seen works from a few big names: Saul Bass, Bea Feitler, and Henry Wolf. Feitler’s and Wolf’s are similar as they experiment with typesetting, layouts, and large type in many of their works.

Are either of your parents or other family members designers?
I do not know anyone who is a Graphic Designer; however, creativity runs in the family. Our mom is a professional artist, while our dad is an operator for a restaurant. Being a designer is a good mesh of what my parents do now and what they taught me growing up — being creative and having business skills.

Who at CVAD has most influenced you? (Faculty, other students, Andy Warhol?)

Many of the Communication Design program faculty are so supportive and caring. One faculty that influenced me the most during my early student design career would be Erica Holeman. I took her classes for two years, where I learned much about type, publications, and interactive design.

What skills have you learned in college most essential for your career? For Life?

The Communication Design program is big on preparing us for a professional career, so I have learned a lot during the last four years here. I learned networking tips and helpful resources about how to have a successful career at a studio or even if I were to freelance.

What do you find best about being a creative?
I love everything about being a creative. My favorite ‘quirk’ about being a designer is the awareness you gain from learning design rules. I always find myself picking out a typeface on the street or how the kerning on a sign is not properly spaced.

What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years? Where do you want to live and work?
My career goal is to work in-house at a design agency in the Dallas area. I like living close to family, so living in the DFW area is important. I would also like to earn my M.F.A. sooner than later, as that can help me get a creative director position — although having an M.F.A is not always necessary. I have researched a few M.F.A. programs within Texas and even thought about maybe going to SCAD; however, I have not settled on a university yet. Staying in Texas would be great, but I am unsure if a university within Texas exists for an M.F.A. in communication design, so I will probably look at out-of-state. For my 10-year plan, my sister and I have always planned from the start that we wanted to create a design studio in the future, so I hope we can make that happen. 

"One of the most important things as a designer is always learning new techniques and skills. Keeping up with the trends, more technology-wise than style, is also important to understand where Communication Design is going in the future."