Pittsburgh is stronger than hate, and Tim Hindes, a 2000 graduate of Allegheny College, wanted to convey that message after a gunman opened fire at 9:54 a.m. Oct. 27 inside the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
Hindes said he heard sirens while he was helping friends move about a mile away from where the shooting occurred. He did not realize what had happened until he went home.
After learning the sirens he heard were the result of an act motivated by hate, Hindes started doodling.
The final design: a black background with two hypocycloid shapes in blue and red. The third shape featured in the image is a yellow Star of David. The words “Stronger Than Hate” appear in stark white letters next to the shapes.
Hindes graduated from Allegheny with a degree in communication arts. Professor of Communication Arts Michael Keeley taught Hindes while he was a student at the college. Keeley remembers Hindes as being a “smart, sensitive and thoughtful” student who did not “toot his own horn.”
“I’m proud but not surprised it’s Tim,” Keeley said.
Hindes serves as principal and CEO of TrailBlaze Creative — a marketing and design firm in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. While Hindes is not Jewish, he said anti-Semitism was on his mind recently, after one of his Jewish friends was verbally attacked by anti-Semitic comments.
Playing with different shapes and designs, Hindes decided steel was the best way to represent Pittsburgh’s strength — showing the city is not “breakable.”
Although people may recognize similarities between Hindes’s image and the Pittsburgh Steelers logo, Hindes said the shapes originate from a former U.S. Steel logo. Confused, angry and sad, Hindes said he never planned on having his work shared on such a public platform; however, his friends encouraged him to make his work accessible.
Now, as Pittsburgh residents mourn and begin to heal, Hindes’ image has been shared, tweeted and posted on a global scale.
In a public Facebook post, Hindes wrote, “As any designer will tell you, sometimes graphic design concepts come quick and other times it is quite tedious. But, I’ve found in my experiences that when design is driven by emotion, it tends to be less cerebral and happens quickly and poignantly. This was one of (these) cases. But it wasn’t created without meaning or thought.”
Hindes takes pride in Pittsburgh, its residents and the city’s history and said he wanted to showcase the city’s fortitude through his image.
“Now, for anyone reading this unfamiliar with Pittsburgh, there’s something that you should know — we don’t get rattled easily,” Hindes wrote on Facebook. “This fortitude was instilled in our community by our pierogi-pinching grandmothers who didn’t take any crap from any jag offs. We were strong before this tragedy. A tragedy like this just makes us stronger. Just like you can’t break steel, you can’t break the resiliency of a Pittsburgher. We are stronger than hate.”
Hindes has encouraged people to use the image and share it on social media. He has set his Facebook profile public and has provided a high resolution image for individuals to download as long as “Pittsburgh’s image” is used “for good and not evil.”
“It’s getting the message across that love in the end will win, and hate will not,” Hindes said.
Hindes has been trying to respond to those who reach out to him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and his email to thank them for their support.
“I’ve had a number of internet trolls, and I’m dealing with that, but I am trying to make it a personal goal to reach out to people who reach out to me,” Hindes said.
Viewing every share as “an act of love,” Hindes thinks that is what is most important — love. He never anticipated the image gaining as much attention as it has, but he has received messages of gratitude and support from people all over the world.
Hindes has been sent pictures of his image printed on T-shirts, hats, needlepoint designs, athletic helmets and more. He also said a 30-foot by 30-foot banner is being made to hang in Squirrel Hill.
“It was never meant to be a symbol for hope, but I am honored and humbled that it is,” Hindes said.
Marley Parish is editor-in-chief of The Campus, the student newspaper at Allegheny College. This article originally was published in The Campus on Nov. 1.