Elizabeth Nelson

Elizabeth Nelson has enjoyed a career merging technology, collaboration and visual storytelling. Starting out in a publishing group focused on corporate magazines, she discovered her aptitude for synthesizing dynamic images with written content and realized how that helped clients shape and refine their public image. Her love of compelling storytelling has helped her bring creative solutions to businesses large and small in many fields of interest

Elizabeth is currently the Senior Director of Communication Design at Shedd Aquarium, a nonprofit organization dedicated to animal welfare, conservation research and public education. It is currently the highest paid-cultural and scientific attraction in Chicago, attracting approximately two million visitors annually. Elizabeth works closely with senior management and internal partners to help visualize institutional initiatives and make them tangible. She oversees the Communication Design team in creating public advertising campaigns, high-end fund raising material, exhibit and collateral design for the organization and internal partners.


Previously Elizabeth worked at Northern Trust, a financial services company with US $8.1 trillion in assets under custody that caters to corporations, institutional investors, and high net worth individuals. As 2nd Vice President and designer of the Marketing, Advertising & Public Relations team, she collaborated with internal teams and external partners to help shape a significant refresh of the global brand with fellow brand managers in Guernsey, Ireland and Singapore. She also helped oversee the redesign of over 600 collateral documents.


Before Northern Trust, Elizabeth cofounded Trope/Communication by Design, an independent design consultancy. She created client pitches and designed and managed projects. A partial client list includes Edelmen Public Relations Worldwide, Hill & Knowlton, Inc. (public relations); Charlie Trotter, Inc, The Inn at Little Washington, Random House Publishing and Bullfich Press, (five star chefs and publishers); The Council of Logistics Management; Ligature and The Quarasan Group (educational publishers).


As Assistant Art Director in Hill & Knowlton's Custom Publishing Department, Elizabeth gained invaluable experience designing and producing monthly and quarterly consumer magazines for Ford Motor company, Allstate Insurance and others. Her role involved searching out artists and photographers globally to develop custom art for the magazines.


Since January, 2016 Elizabeth has sat on the board of Intuit: The Center for Outsider and Intuitive Art, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the understanding of and appreciation for intuitive and outsider art through a program of education and exhibition. She passionately upholds their mission to present the work of artists who demonstrate little influence from the mainstream art world and who instead are motivated by their unique personal visions.


Elizabeth received her BA in Visual Communications from University of Illinois at Chicago with minors in Art History and Asian Studies.