Charles graduated from Pratt Institute in 1971.
Soon after Charles began as the Art director of the HERALD, a local New York newspaper, whose original format design was created by Massimo Vignelli. Almost immediately, Charles knew that he'd found his calling. It was a time when the dynamic formula of the modern-day glossy magazine was evolving into the style of the magazine we know today, and Charles spent the next decade helping a number of publications get from the planning room to the newsstand. From Ms. to MADEMOISELLE to THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE to HOUSE & GARDEN, he worked closely with such top Art Directors as Bea Feitler, Ruth Ansel, and Alexander Liberman.
Charles joined the staff of the revived VANITY FAIR magazine in 1983, rising from Art Director to Design Director, a position he held for the next eleven years. During his tenure, he oversaw the magazine's visual evolution, balancing the writing with provocative imagery and graphics. In 1994 he became the Design Director of VOGUE, the flagship of all Conde Nast Publications, where he also helped launch TEEN VOGUE.
At VOGUE, and elsewhere, he has collaborated with many of today's most acclaimed photographers, including Annie Liebovitz, Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, Mario Testino, Jonathan Becker, Francois Halard, Arthur Elgort, Patrick Demarchier, Bruce Weber, Craig McDean, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. He also considers his association with Alexander Liberman and the editors Tina Brown and Anna Wintour to be among his most important professional relationships.
Churchward both visually edited and designed THEN / THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF ALEXANDER LIBERMAN, A PECULIAR PARADISE Photographs by Nathan Benn, and was a substantial contributor to Sir Harold Evans' THE AMERICAN CENTURY. With VOGUE he helped create and design the books IN VOGUE, VOGUE LIVING: HOUSES/GARDENS/PEOPLE, THE WORLD OF VOGUE: PEOPLE/PARTIES/PLACES, and EXTREME BEAUTY IN VOGUE.
Charles also authored and created the books HERB RITTS / THE GOLDEN HOUR in 2010 ( "...a lush photographic and anecdotal tribute" - Vogue magazine. "...compiled and wonderfully designed book - an intimate look at Ritts' short but meaningful time on this earth: his own Golden Hour." - THE magazine ) and IT'S MODERN / THE VISUAL EYE AND INFLUENCE OF ALEXANDER LIBERMAN in 2013 ( "...the book is primarily about Liberman's work, with equal attention given to his innovative editorial design and the rather less celebrated painting and sculpture he considered his true calling." - The New Yorker ), both for Rizzoli International Publications.
In 2018 he wrote a defining essay on THE SCHOOL OF LOS ANGELES for Matthew Rolston's book HOLLYWOOD ROYALE.
In addition, he has designed various posters, corporate logos, record covers, advertisements, promotional materials, and photo exhibitions, and has received various awards over the years from The American Society of Magazine Editors, The Society of Publication Designers, The Society of Illustrators, The Hershal Levitt Award, The American Institute of Graphic Arts and Pratt Institiute's 2017 Alumni Achievement Award for a career in Communications and Design.
Charles resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.