Member Spotlight: Kelly Cummings

Member Spotlight is AIGA Pittsburgh’s monthly blog post to showcase a member. This is our chance to learn more about our members and for the community to learn more about each other.


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1. Who are you?
My name is Kelly Cummings. I am an introverted extrovert, whose socks rarely match and has a strong dislike of pickles. I am a boomerang Pittsburgher, who grew up in the North Hills but has daringly crossed bridges and rivers to live just south of the city.

2. What do you do for a living?
I have been a Marketing Specialist and Graphic Designer in the architecture industry for the past 5 years, getting my start at HOK in Washington, DC. I currently work at Strada, a cross-disciplinary design firm where architects, interior designers, urban designers, landscape architects, and graphic designers regularly collaborate to create places that people truly enjoy.

While I wear many hats at my job, bridging the world of architecture, graphic design and communication, my main job is to help the firm win work. I lead and execute the proposal process, working closely with firm leadership to communicate complex, technical information in a creative and compelling way. I also help with all firm-wide marketing and communication initiatives with a focus on design.

Before Strada, I worked at IKM leading the strategy, research and execution of a complete firm rebrand, including the design of the new logo and redesign of all marketing materials for both print and digital.

3. Why did you get involved into the creative field?
I never considered myself a creative person until I discovered drafting; I learned what a T-Square was in 8th grade and never looked back. It opened up new doors for me to self-discovery and creativity. I took every Tech Ed class I could, learning about space planning, building models, and racing paper cars. Being one of the only girls in the classes, my Tech Ed teachers truly inspired me to pursue my passions.

4. How do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration through collaborating with others. Having open dialogues and sharing ideas sparks new ideas in me. Those sparks of inspiration often come from comments or thoughts from another person that may be insignificant to someone else. I never know what is going to trigger an ‘aha’ moment.

5. What is your dream project?
My dream project is more a dream job. I would love to be a Marketing & Branding Consultant in the A/E/C industry. It is both incredibly challenging and rewarding helping firms reach their vision and goals through marketing and design. I would love to build a reputation as the go-to expert that has helped positively impact firms across the country.

6. How do you get past creative blocks?
I take a break. Since I tend to be working on multiple projects with short deadlines, the break can never be too long. Generally, a few hours of personal time after work or a good night’s sleep will allow my mind to clear enough for me to break through. If not, I seek out help & ideas from others.

7. How and why did you get involved with AIGA?
I discovered the AIGA through my career in the architecture industry and AIA Pittsburgh. I first heard about them after attending a PechaKucha event which is co-organized by AIA Pittsburgh, AIGA Pittsburgh and Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.

Marketing in architecture can be both a specific and lonely job, often with departments of 1 to 2 people. I decided to join to stay connected to a network of designers, ideas and inspirations from all creative fields. This has allowed me to maintain a fresh perspective and bring new ideas to marketing in the architecture industry.

I have also appreciated the opportunities to be a mentor. One fun opportunity was helping organize and host the AIGA Xposed Studio Tour last year at my previous job at IKM Architecture. We were not only able to expose them to what architects do but also to other design opportunities in the field they might have never know existed.

8. What is your favorite thing about Pittsburgh?
I love the different neighborhoods around Pittsburgh and their unique personalities. I enjoy visiting them, spending time appreciating the architecture, places and people that craft the character of each.

9. What are your hobbies?
I have combined my love of architecture and urban environments, with my love of running and photography. Running is one of my favorite ways to explore Pittsburgh. I bring my phone with me to take pictures. I am constantly framing images in my mind as I run and searching for my next photograph that captures my exploration.

10. Advice to fellow creatives?
Surround yourself with people who believe in you, who see your potential. These people will help you learn and grow quicker than you imagined.

Pursue all interest and never stop learning. I have independently learned about random interests such as nonverbal communication, decision-making, psychology, and sociology. Every topic I have learned I have been able to apply not only to my job but also to daily life.

Find your passion. If you are doing something you are passionate about, you will be happier and more successful. We spend most of our time at our jobs so find a job you love doing.

You can follow Kelly on:
Instagram: @kel813ly

If interested in participating in the Member Spotlight or have any questions, reach out to our Membership Director, Laurel Strongosky at

Become a member today!