Andrew R. Brenits
Associate Director of National Design
Company Name: KPMG, LLP
After graduating from SVA, I began my career as a designer working for small studios in the Flatiron district of Manhattan before moving in-house. I’ve held positions at Banana Republic, Gap, and the National Football League. During this time I was able to work not just as a “creative”, but I was also exposed to the business side of design, learning how to work with clients, manage projects, and build relationships. I realized quickly that I liked the business side of design just as much as the creative challenges of my work.
In 2000 I ventured out on my own and opened my own studio designing corporate identity and collateral for small companies in the finance, technology, consulting, and hospitality industries. Realizing that there was still a lot that I did not know about running a business, I enrolled in the Design Management graduate program at Pratt. I learned about business and management strategies related to design, branding, and marketing – the stuff they don’t teach us in art school, but should. What I learned enabled me to run my business successfully for nearly 8 years, before deciding it was time to go back in-house.
I joined KPMG in 2007 to start up, and manage, the National Design, Proposal & Production Services (NDPPS) site for the Montvale, NJ office. As a design manager this has been the ideal mix of creative, management, and leadership challenges for me. What better opportunity is there for a design manager, than to be asked to set up a design department? I can’t think of one.
Along with my professional design/management responsibilities I also teach design management in the Graduate Communications Design program at Pratt, and taught graphic design in the undergraduate program at Rowan University.
What is the best thing about working in-house?
The feeling that I am part of something bigger than just my most recent design project. As a consultant, I felt like a hired gun brought in for just an assignment. I never got the feeling I was a business partner or valued advisor.
Working in-house gives me the feeling that what I am doing, as a designer and a manager, is somehow contributing directly to the success of the company I am working for. It’s much more satisfying for me.
What types of projects does your department do?
Our department is responsible for producing the Firm’s internal, and some external, communications and marketing collateral. We design proposals, newsletters, white papers, and brochures.
What keeps you motivated and inspired in your job?
My incredible team of designers and production staff who work hard every day, as well as the management and leadership opportunities I have been provided.
What do you consider the biggest success of your in-house career?
Starting up the department that I currently manage easily ranks at the top of my list. While there are several design projects I’m particularly proud of, this challenge has been highly successful and rewarding.
What are you currently reading, watching and listening to?
The last thing I read, that was not a trade magazine, was the DaVinci Code. Since my wife and I just moved to a new house, I’m find my self watching lots of home improvement shows, and reading This Old House magazine. I’m looking forward to all kinds of creative projects to do around the house.