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February 18, 2019

Kelly’s Designs Bring Research to Life

By Hannah Diorio-Toth

Although you may not realize it, you’re likely familiar with Tim Kelly’s work. The College of Engineering magazine you may have flipped through, the engineering center logos you have come to know, and the infographics you've explored were all designed by him.

The College of Engineering’s senior graphic designer has built a 13-year design career at Carnegie Mellon University. And, as a two-time Carnegie Mellon alumnus, his connection to the university runs even deeper.

Kelly earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Fine ArtsSchool of Design.

“The program is tremendous. It equates design with problem-solving while developing students’ empathy for the needs of the end user; positioning graduates for present day, as well as future success,” Kelly said.

During his time as an undergraduate student, Kelly had a graphic design work-study position in the College of Engineering’s Research Accelerator, formerly the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems. After graduation and a few jobs in the field, Kelly found his way back to Carnegie Mellon, when a full-time position became available in the Research Accelerator, where he got his start.

“Unlike many of my peers who were hunting for jobs in cities like Los Angeles, New York or Boston, I was looking to stay in Pittsburgh,” Kelly said. “Working at Carnegie Mellon allows me to work on a wide variety of projects so I’m never bored or feel pigeonholed as an artist, and I didn’t have to move away from my hometown.”

During his time working in the Research Accelerator, Kelly earned his master’s degree in public management from the Heinz College. He came into his current role as part of the College of Engineering’s marketing and communications team in 2015. At the time, the team was being expanded and Kelly was ready for the opportunity to do higher profile projects within the college.

As the senior graphic designer, Kelly oversees the College of Engineering’s visual identity. He uses tools such as infographics, illustrations and photography to bring the research of the college to life. These communication pieces support research proposals, expand the reach of social media posts and deepen the storyline of magazine articles.

“The faculty and students in the college are tackling complex, global problems ranging from the visually abstract topic of cybersecurity to the visually astounding topic of bioengineered organs. By organizing content in visually interesting ways, we are able to project this important research out into the world to many different audiences such as media, prospective students and alumni,” he said.

Kelly enjoys his work and his co-workers.

“The College of Engineering attracts highly competent people who help the workday go smoothly. And, the college knows when to give people a break. It’s not just about the work,” he said.

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