College of Arts and Communication

Jake Magyar '10

Jake Magyar

Jake Magyar graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in Graphic Design and a minor in Multimedia. Since then he has worked with a variety of agencies in Madison, Chicago and Milwaukee. Of his time at UW-Whitewater he says “the class sizes were small and I could seek the attention I needed.”

What made you want to pursue a degree in your field?
“I began college as a finance major, although my true passion was in art. I had always loved art, but never pursued it during my high school years because while there are many benefits to growing up in a small town, art wasn't cool. I excelled in art as a kid, but as I entered high school, I took one art class my freshman year and was made fun of. Quickly thereafter I fell to the pressures of my friends, coaches and other peers and avoided all art and graphic design classes offered by my high school. During the end of my second semester of college, a dormmate was taking graphic design classes, and he is the single reason I felt confident enough to change my major to fit my passion. His name is Jake Ruef, and I'll be forever grateful.”

What was your favorite part about attending UW-Whitewater?
“I needed attention, and one-on-one time with my professors. I needed to be motivated early on and I needed the structure. I felt very behind as I began classes because many of the students around me had some graphic design skills from high school and I was starting a little late. Whitewater was the perfect fit for me because class sizes were small and I could seek the attention I needed to learn the tools and skills.”

How did your UW-Whitewater experience prepare you for your career or transform your life?
“Whitewater gave me a foundation to work from. It surrounded me by like-minded people, some I still keep in touch with, who gave me the confidence and understanding of how to move forward after graduation. The class challenges, ad clubs, Chicago Museum trips and even the casual conversations with classmates led me to the career I have today.”

Are there any artists you draw inspiration from?
“I often draw inspiration from artists who work in my industry. Many of them being ad agencies and production houses. The work done by Wieden and Kennedy, Hungry Man, Goodby Silverstein, Arnold Worldwide and Fallon to name a few. I also spend time looking at online publications and books like "Workbook" which hosts some of the most talented photographers and illustrators in the world as well as "Communication Arts" and "The Egotist" online. It's always been important for me to understand where the bar is and familiarize myself on an ongoing basis with current great work.”

Where are you at in your career?
“I spent the last 12 years between Madison, Chicago and Milwaukee working for mid-sized and large agencies. While working for agencies and sharing some really great client relationships with leading brands across many industries, I moonlighted and built a freelance clientele. Over the past two years, including many late hours, I worked freelance for Microsoft as my largest client redesigning their consumer market animation design guidelines for their Microsoft 360 product while working full-time for the Hoffman York agency. During that time, I found time to build a small influencer network with a few other like-minded travelers through Instagram (@jakemagyar) where I shoot photography and represent mostly travel and outdoor living brands like Timberland, Burley, Royal Robbins and even Amazon Prime. Presently, after six years with Hoffman York, I recently left for a new opportunity with a CBD company in Los Angeles to help build a creative in-house team for Lord Jones and Happy Dance by Kristen Bell.”

What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
“I am most proud of the relationships I've built within the ad business over the years.”

Have you received any awards?
“I've received recognition from Communication Arts, Milwaukee 99, The Clios, Graphis, Awwwards, How Design Digital, Ade Age and Ads of the World. I've worked as a judge for the Addy's. Work I was intimately involved with led to earning the agency I worked for winning Advertising Age's Agency of the Year.”

What advice would you give to your former self?
“Follow your heart and smile. Always be willing to put yourself in the uncomfortable situations. You're only uncomfortable because it's new and challenging. That's where the growth will come from.”

What advice would you give to your future self?
“Stay the course.”

What advice would you give to a potential UW-Whitewater student?
“Find your passion, and build your career around it. If you do that, you'll never work a day in your life. Life is about happiness, not career expectations or what our society has already defined as a successful career path. You can carve your own path within whatever industry you enter or create, and the world will be better because of it.”

Learn more about the Art and Design Degree Programs