Feature Friday: Tim McKenna

Throughout 2015 we’ll be featuring Central PA AIGA members on our blog, asking them about their backgrounds and how they got to where they are today. If you’ve been to any of our 2014-15 events, you’ve seen definitely seen our first featured designer and, most likely, met him. Tim McKenna is the President of our chapter, owner of Azrael Group and the digital art director at PPO&S, located in downtown Harrisburg.

Tim McKenna

Where, When and For What Did You Attend School? 

I attended Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia for Graphic Design, focused on Commercial Art. I graduated in 2010 and then took night classes at Harrisburg Area Community College in Web Development, gaining an Associates Degree. Currently, I am enrolled at Western Governors University for Business Management. I am ever the student. (How he has time for anything is beyond me. – Bri)

What important milestones do you credit to getting you to where you are today? 

After being on Warped Tour in 2006, I visited Hussian and saw a huge print of the Walls of Jericho album “All Hail The Dead”. I found out that a current student had done that and I enrolled that day. I was sold. Towards my senior year, I won a scholarship through the Philadelphia Ad Club and a coveted internship spot at any Ad Club member agency. I had the opportunity to come back to Central Pennsylvania since the agency I wanted to work with was based in Harrisburg. Through a mix up I ended up not getting said internship and I found my own internship at Benchmark Group Media and began work on a designing ads and publications. I commuted every other day between Harrisburg and Philly. That work and schedule taught me a lot about time management, quality and not working in a vacuum.

A huge milestone was creating the PAFP Community. While I worked at Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, I worked with my two other colleagues in the communications department to concept and create an online community of practice, sort of private social network for family physicians who were members of the academy. I designed, built, tested and launched the site inside a very small timeline. When we launched the site, we won several awards and were invited to speak at conferences on technology, design thinking and healthcare.

Honestly though the work I am most proud of and that has helped me in my career has been for the band Meet At Sundown. What started as a simple logo design request turned into a lasting relationship both personally and professionally. Not too many clients will call you and say “Can we add more swamp to this?”. That is awesome.

Why design?

Design makes me tick. I get to take data, aesthetics, an idea and skills down a multiple paths each day to try to make a statement, develop a solution, create an impression and change perceptions each and every day. Design excites more than when I used to play in a band.

How long have you been an AIGA member?

I was a member of AIGA Philadelphia in 2009 when I was at Hussian. After learning that Central Pennsylvania had its own chapter, I updated my information and joined AIGA Central PA when I moved back to Central PA.

Why should anyone be an AIGA member? How has it benefited you?

Design is everywhere and through our work, we can make huge differences in how the people view and interact with the world. As part of AIGA, you are dialed into network of passionate and incredibly talented designers all across the country.

Being a member of AIGA has benefitted me in so many ways. Just being a part of AIGA Central PA has allowed me to meet so many people who have been instrumental to me to developing my career, so there is a tangible benefit to being a member, but the real benefits are the intangible. I know a lot of people in the chapter and there are many of us who not only share the same passion for design, but we share similar interests and outlooks outside of design; like music, films, hobbies and perspectives on life…and that is just in our area, who knows what connections I’ll make nationally. I’ve taken road trips to events with Pittsburgh, Baltimore, DC, and Philly and I’m welcomed with arms from the chapter members there. AIGA is what unites us.


Want to nominate a designer for our blog spotlight? Email Bri.

By Bri Piccari
Published February 6, 2015