THE RIVALRY is an independent, collaborative design studio.


THE RIVALRY is a collaboration of opposites who share a discerning eye. While we are inverses of each other, our collective strengths balance our differences. This duality lies at the center of everything we do. The studio is owned and run by JESSE KACZMAREK and ANDY GUGEL—each a leader in their creative field (BRAND and DIGITAL, respectively)—with offices in NEW YORK CITY and MINNEAPOLIS. Together we create engaging experiences with clients who champion the potential of design.


  • Art Direction
  • Branding
  • Concepting
  • Creative Direction
  • Digital
  • Environmental
  • Exhibition
  • Guidelines
  • Iconography
  • Ideation
  • Identity
  • Motion Design
  • Packaging
  • Print
  • Product UI
  • Retail
  • Signage
  • System Design
  • Wayfinding
  • Writing



Creative Director (BRAND)

JESSE KACZMAREK is a partner and Creative Director at THE RIVALRY. He leads extensive branding projects from large-scale identity systems to packaging and retail programmes. Prior to establishing THE RIVALRY as a partnership with GUGEL (2014), KACZMAREK founded the studio as an independent practice in NEW YORK CITY (2010)—collaborating with design-centric brands and creative firms. Joining NIKE’s influential BRAND DESIGN team (2008), he led the design and art direction of global campaigns, retail and exhibition programmes, and branding for NIKE SPORTSWEAR. He also helped establish DESIGNWORKS at BBDO (2006), repositioning design as a value en masse within the multinational agency. He began his career at FALLON (2005), CARMICHAEL LYNCH (2004) and PERISCOPE (2002)—learning the merits of both concept and craft. KACZMAREK studied design in MN before starting his career in MINNEAPOLIS (2002).


Creative Director (DIGITAL)

ANDY GUGEL is a partner and Creative Director at THE RIVALRY. He leads a diverse range of digital projects from user-focused experiences for device and screen to defining visual systems across product UI. Prior to establishing THE RIVALRY as a partnership with KACZMAREK (2014), GUGEL founded his own independent design practice 32 ROUND in MINNEAPOLIS (2006), collaborating on a series of high-profile projects with a diverse list of brands and the industry’s top studios. He led award-winning digital campaigns and visual identities at FALLON (2004) and PERISCOPE (2000). GUGEL holds a B.F.A. from DRAKE, where he studied design before starting his career in MINNEAPOLIS (2000).


Over the past decade, KACZMAREK and GUGEL have gained numerous industry awards; including honors from ART DIRECTORS CLUB, ADC YOUNG GUNS, ADWEEK's Talent Top 10, AIGA, CANNES, THE CLIO AWARDS, COMMUNICATION ARTS, CREATIVITY, D&AD, GRAPHIS, HOW, ONE SHOW, PRINT, STEP and others both online and off.


With over thirty years in combined branding and design experience, every client has benefited from the highest level of thinking and greatest attention to detail—regardless of size or stature. Below are just some of the brands we’ve had the opportunity to work with.

  • Adidas
  • Adobe
  • Android
  • BMW
  • Cadre
  • Canon
  • Caviar
  • Dering Hall
  • Disney
  • eBay
  • FirstPost
  • Google
  • HBO
  • John Varvatos
  • Kickstarter
  • Motorola
  • NBC
  • New Balance
  • Nike
  • Nokia
  • Nordstrom
  • PBS
  • Sony
  • Spin Magazine
  • Square
  • Target
  • The Verge
  • Uber
  • United Airlines
  • Warner Bros.


To consider THE RIVALRY for a project, collaboration, or to just say hello, please email or call us.


We're always scouting for standout talent. To be considered for future openings and collaborations, submit your resume and portfolio to To hear about THE RIVALRY’s latest projects and studio happenings, follow @therivalryinc on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM.