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Tim Cohan

Tim Cohan


The Designs of Grindelwald

HAS Alum’s Spellbinding Work Updates Beloved Franchise

Tim Cohan ’05 currently works as an associate partner at Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design consultancy, where he and his team have tackled one of fiction’s dearest realms: the magical world of Harry Potter.  Of all the types of design projects that visual communication design (VCD) graduates tackle, branding and logo work are some of the most common.


“We take the best parts of the equities that [the Harry Potter franchise] has, spin that up, and pull out specific pieces of content to create something that still lives in the bigger world of the brand,” Cohan says.


After finishing the logo for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, his team knew the branding for The Crimes of Grindelwald needed to be different.


“They’re moving away from the beasts to talk about the bigger world and the whole backstory behind everyone you know from Harry Potter,” Cohan explains. “So while the typography still lives in that classical Gaudi-inspired space, we’ve added fire and light, which are elements pulled from certain plot points in the movie toward the end.”


Cohan’s years as a student at the Hartford Art School (HAS) prepared him well for the highly collaborative and hands-on culture at Pentagram. When he left his hometown of Beverly, Massachusetts, to start the HAS foundation year, during which all first-year students learn about each of the art forms taught at HAS, he had no experience in visual communications design. The HAS faculty supported him throughout his foundation experience, and helped him channel his love of teamwork through the VCD program.


“[VCD] did a good job of providing resources so I could get started talking to people,” Cohan says. “One of the things they gave us was a long list of alumni and where they were working as a starting point of people to contact."

"I sent my portfolio and résumé to a few places, cold. I got a couple of calls back and ended up working in Boston at a firm where a Hartford Art School alumnus worked.”


Cohan’s career has only climbed from there. His best advice for current students is to remain open to any opportunities that look valuable and to spend time talking to professionals in the field.


“You can be an independent designer, but big projects take big teams,” he says. “The better you are at collaborating and speaking up for yourself, the better you’ll do.”