Designer. Strategist. Advisor. Coach. Teacher. Speaker.
Andy Brenits is a sought-after branding and creative strategy expert widely recognized for his award-winning work as a corporate creative leader and consultant.
As the Principal and Chief Brand Officer at Brenits Creative, he has helped countless growing businesses compete with big brands by creating a consistent way to look, communicate, and act. He advises individuals and business owners on brand strategy, creative management, and what it takes to differentiate oneself consistently in a crowded market.
Early Career: Freelance to Corporate Creative
Andy’s career began working as a freelance graphic designer in New York City. While working at The Ivy League of Artists and Ortiz Design Associates, two boutique design studios in New York City, he designed print collateral, textbooks, print ads, and other marketing collateral.
While with Ortiz, he created a series of transit facility wayfinding graphics as an extension of the public transportation universal symbol system.
During this time, Andy also created clothing labels, tee shirt designs, and album covers for local businesses and artists in New York City and Long Island. But it was working at the Ivy League and Ortiz studios that Andy became fascinated with the business side of design and owning and running a design studio, learning the necessary skills that earned him more of his clients and in-house creative management positions.
Gap, Inc: Banana Republic, Gap, and Gap Kids
Andy quickly earned creative leadership responsibilities with some of the world’s most prominent brands, including Banana Republic, The Gap, and the National Football League.
At Banana Republic, Andy designed branded graphics for retail products sold worldwide. These included graphic tees, woven labels, and limited edition hang tags. He was also responsible for ensuring the seasonal consistency of all graphics applications for the Banana Republic brand.
While at The Gap, he directed the development of seasonal graphics across Gap brands, collaborating closely with in-house and outsourced design and production resources. He managed vendor relationships to ensure quality control of finished products. He researched competitor brands and current market trends to determine seasonal style direction.
As part of his accomplishments, he led the GapKids graphics team and successfully expanded the product line by over 30%.
The NFL: Brand Strategy Research and Development
Andy joined the NFL as a full-time consultant and became a team member responsible for improving brand cohesiveness for the NFL Properties consumer products division. He thoroughly analyzed competitor branding tiers and guidelines, created a brand audit protocol, and evaluated competing branding systems.
This work resulted in developing a 3-tiered branding program, including a retail branding identity system for third-party licensee product development. The team created a customized visual strategy and brand guidelines that aligned with marketing strategic initiatives, bringing consistency to the look and feel of NFL-branded products and apparel, resulting in a successful and cohesive brand identity for the NFL.
Striking Out On His Own
Like many corporate designers, Andy continued to freelance while working in-house. One client, happy with Andy’s work, had a proposition: to send (a lot) more work or none at all. So, in 1999 he struck out on his own, opening his design studio, Brenits Graphic Design, in Jersey City, New Jersey…with just one client.
But he only had one client for a short time. As a seasoned professional, clients quickly sought out Andy for his expertise in developing brand image and marketing strategy programs for startups and growing businesses.
Andy focused on creating impactful brand identity and marketing collateral for clients across various industries, including financial services, health and life benefits, pharmaceuticals, information technology, and professional services. Working closely with clients, Andy developed comprehensive print and web identity programs for corporate communications and marketing, such as sales kits and trade shows.
The studio was proud to maintain an average of 10% growth in its client base year-over-year until the dot-com bubble burst and the tragedy of 9/11.
Teaching and Mentoring
In 2002 Andy began teaching and developing courses for Sessions.edu, the online design school. That experience led to teaching at Pratt Institute, where he taught Design Management as an adjunct professor in the Graduate Communications and Packaging Design Program.
The course, aimed at teaching the skills needed to run a creative business or department, included topics on financial management, human resources, intellectual property, marketing and branding strategy, and the design development process.
Andy also began teaching undergraduate design classes at Rowan University a year later. After teaching two years of logo design, packaging design, and advanced design courses, the College of Fine and Performing Arts invited Andy to join the faculty full-time as a tenure-track professor.
While at Rowan University, he chaired the Instructional Technology and Graphic Design Faculty Search Committees and served on the College of Fine and Performing Arts Leadership Committee.
Going Back In-House to KPMG
In 2007 Andy returned to being an in-house corporate creative, joining Big-Four accounting firm KPMG’s national headquarters in Montvale, NJ. He established and led the creative team within the National Design, Proposal & Production Services division in the firm’s national support headquarters.
Andy managed all creative team activities, ensuring consistency of brand standards and creative-directing national campaigns and print collateral. He recruited and mentored creative talent for the department and developed and implemented creative processes, departmental procedures, and virtual workgroup models for domestic, outsourced, and offshore workforces.
Andy earned national recognition awards for his team’s work and received a promotion adding accountability to the in-house print production group. With this promotion, he led all creative and print production department operations within the National Design, Proposal & Production Services division based in the firm’s national headquarters. Andy ensured consistency in brand and operational quality assurance in this role and led departmental success metrics.
While at KPMG, he served on national leadership teams, including the firm-wide sustainability initiative “Living Green,” for which he designed the logo.
InSource: Growing A Trade Association
Recognizing the power of networking and continuous professional development throughout his career, Andy has actively maintained membership in creative industry professional organizations, such as AIGA, DMI, and AMA.
While working at KPMG, Andy attended an event organized by InSource in 2007. InSource, a non-profit association of in-house creative leaders, is dedicated to fostering creative leadership and management excellence. He was so impressed with the organization’s mission and events that he became involved with event planning.
The board of directors invited Andy to join the board of directors in 2008. As a board member, Andy played a key role in various aspects of the organization, including events and programs, content development, and leadership. Andy became President of the Board of Directors in 2009.
Over the next decade, he led the organization’s growth to become the largest network of in-house creative leaders worldwide, with over 8,000 members.
Repeating Corporate Success at APS
Due to his success at KPMG and his work with InSource, Andy was invited to establish and lead the in-house creative team at Arizona Public Service, a public utility subsidiary of Pinnacle West Corporation. So, in 2012, he relocated his family to Phoenix, Arizona.
While at APS, Andy led all creative team activities, including developing operating procedures, project workflow, and creative development and innovation. He successfully transformed and managed the company’s in-house creative department, responsible for graphic design, video production, photography, and brand standards.
Striking Out On His Own, Again
In 2015 Andy struck out on his own again and founded the branding agency Brenits Creative. As the Principal and Chief Brand Officer at Brenits Creative, he has helped countless growing businesses compete with big brands by creating a consistent way to look, communicate, and act.
He also advises individuals and business owners on brand strategy, creative management, and what it takes to differentiate oneself consistently in a crowded market as a fractional Chief Brand Officer.
Sought After Speaker
Andy is a highly sought-after speaker who has addressed audiences at numerous conferences and events, including the HOW Design Live Conference, Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce, American Marketing Association, and Arizona State University.
His speaking engagements offer practical advice and insights on branding and marketing strategy, creative leadership, and design management. Andy has also shared his insights and expertise on many webinars, and has been a guest on the “Marketing Mentor” and “I Am CEO” Podcasts.
Andy is passionate about corporate and personal branding. Unsurprisingly, those topics are central to his presentations. He also helps audiences progress in productivity, leadership, and being self-employed. As a coach, Andy provides tangible strategies and tactics to help business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketing professionals embrace what makes them unique and create a brand that resonates with their target audience.
Active in Professional and Community Organizations
In addition to serving as President of the Board of Directors of InSource, Andy also served on the Small Business Council of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce and the Public Arts Council for the Town of Queen Creek, where he currently resides with his family. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce.
Andy consulted with HOW Magazine and the HOW Design Conference in various thought leadership capacities, including developing the in-house curriculum for HOW U, leading webinars on managing and leading creative teams, writing for print and online, and advising the in-house program at HOWlive.
Recognition and Contributions To The Creative Field
Andy’s contributions to the design field have been widely recognized over the years. In 2013, Graphic Design USA acknowledged him by placing him on their coveted “People to Watch” list. More recently, in 2022, his career was showcased in Who’s Who in America.
Andy is also an accomplished writer, having contributed articles to several prominent publications, including entrepreneur.com, HOWdesign.com, HOW Magazine, F+W Publishing, and dozens of articles for In-Source.com.
He has been published in several editions of the “In-House Creative Management Report” and the “In-House Creative Industry Report.” Andy also has articles published in “Leadership: Best Practices and Processes for In-House Creative Leaders,” “Leadership Volume Two, The Trenches,” and “Leadership Volume Three, Disruption.”
20+ Years of Mentoring and Teaching
Andy is an experienced mentor and teacher and has taught visual design, marketing, brand strategy, and creative development to undergraduate and graduate classes for over two decades. In addition to teaching at Pratt Institute and Rowan University, Andy has taught at esteemed institutions such as Grand Canyon University, MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), The Art Institute of Phoenix, Sessions.edu, and Columbia University.
Andy’s educational credentials include a Master’s Degree in Design Management from Pratt Institute and a BFA in Graphic Design from the School of Visual Arts.