People of the Year: Tim Horn


Tim Horn

Each year, The Colgate Maroon-News chooses a topic to highlight for a Special Edition. This December, our theme is “People of the Year,” modeled after Time Magazine’s annual “Person of the Year” issue. In this special section, we have profiled sixteen individuals who have had made significant—and perhaps lesser-known—impacts on Colgate’s campus this year, be they in the classroom, at the football field or even on the Cruiser. Inside, read about what defines them as worthy of recognition.

As Colgate’s Creative Director, Tim Horn paves the direction for Colgate’s visual identity through content creation including design, multimedia and digital architecture and production. Horn has over a decade of experience in evolving brand identities and strategies for publishers and higher education institutions.

His work has been recognized and awarded internationally, but what matters the most to him is engaging with community members and pushing boundaries of creativity. As Creative Director, Horn describes his role in ensuring the wellbeing of Colgate’s visual identity.

“I know my job title is a little ambiguous. Creative Director could mean anything,” Horn said, laughing. “I’m responsible for how the Colgate narrative is told to the outside world through a visual perspective. And when you talk to people about their experiences at Colgate, often the first thing they mention is a visual experience. The snow on the hill, the sun rising over the valley. These are very visceral things.”

Horn was at the forefront of updating Colgate’s brand for the bicentennial year.

“We went into it with a mindset of ‘What do we want to keep? What works?’” Horn said. “We wanted to take what we have and enhance it.”

Horn explained that students, parents, faculty, alumni and Board of Trustees members were interviewed to gain a plethora of perspectives. Horn was interested in what made people come to Colgate, and what motivated them to stay.

“It’s an interesting time,” Horn said. “We have 200 years of history—of really successful history—and the beauty of the Bicentennial is that we have this moment where we can come together as a community and point aspirationally to the direction we want to go for the next 200 years.”

For the Bicentennial “C”, Horn wanted something that felt celebratory, but still captured the spirit of Colgate.

Horn said that he drew inspiration from the gold at the top of the chapel, while he compared etchings on academic buildings to modern typefaces to decide on a new Colgate font.

For the newly designed brochures, booklets and Viewbook, he looked to the campus itself for creative guidance.

“Our new color palette is all derived from colors found on campus,” Horn said. “I walked around campus and took pictures on my phone of acorn shells, fall leaves, snow, shadows and sky. The red [found on a brochure] came from a maple tree.”

Horn’s favorite part of living here in Hamilton is the closeness and compassion he sees in the community, describing the small town as incredible.

“It’s a friendly community,” Horn said. “I live on Spring Hill Road, and I walk to work everyday. And that walk to work is my favorite part of my day, just because I get to slowly see the village rise into Colgate. As I walk up the hill, it gives me time to think and reflect. It’s interesting because I do it everyday. And if it’s raining out, I’ll get five people stop their car and say, ‘Hey, do you want a ride?’ And you just don’t see that everywhere.”

Horn lives with his wife— who owns Village Bound Quilts, a company that sells hand-made textile goods—their son Sawyer and their dog. Horn’s interests include typography, fancy chairs, pork products and almost anything involving maple syrup or hot sauce.

Contact Celine Turkyilmaz at [email protected].