The Agency™ Names Jim Harrison as Creative Director
Gainesville, Fla. (June 16, 2016) — Following a national search, The Agency at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications today named Jim Harrison as its first Creative Director. The Agency is a two-year-old integrated strategic communication firm led by seasoned professionals and staffed by students.
Harrison, currently the University’s Director of Creative Services, is an award-winning creative director, graphic designer and visual artist spanning a 25-year career. Since 2010, he has been instrumental in guiding strategic creative efforts for the UF brand within the department of University Relations, as well as across campus for other units. He is also an adjunct professor in Graphic Arts at the UF College of the Arts.
Prior to his position at UF, Harrison founded design studio MetaVisual, specializing in branding and visual communication. His graphic work, featured in multiple solo gallery exhibitions, has won numerous Gold and Best in Show ADDY awards, and is in the collection of the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division. He is also a past recipient of a prestigious SAPPI Paper “Ideas That Matter” grant.
“We’re thrilled to have Jim on our Team,” said Andy Hopson, The Agency’s executive director. “His creative skills combined with a unique ability to mentor and teach students make him the perfect choice for this position.”
Dean Diane McFarlin said, “The Agency’s business model is to provide immersive learning opportunities for students while creating inspired and informed campaigns for a growing roster of national clients. Jim’s branding and creative expertise adds an important component to the professional leadership of The Agency.”
Reporting to Hopson, Harrison will will lead The Agency’s creative team of more than 30 students, including copywriters, graphic artists, production personnel, developers and UX digital designers, and help manage an Agency-wide team of nearly 100. He will also provide creative leadership to MAVY™, The Agency’s proprietary on-line research initiative, which will include visual and written content development, user experience, and input on the development of quizzes and discussion forums.
“The opportunity to help establish The Agency in its formative years appeals to my entrepreneurial spirit,” said Harrison. “I’m eager to roll up my sleeves and help train advertising’s future creative talent while developing campaigns that will build our clients’ brands.”
Harrison holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design and is an alumnus of the University of Florida. In 1993 he joined DECA Design, serving as Art Director for 13 years on a variety of regional and national accounts.
About The Agency
Led by professionals, staffed by students and inspired by faculty, The Agency is an integrated, strategic communication firm housed in the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. It offers immersive learning experiences to public relations and advertising students providing them with the competitive advantage necessary to excel in the job market while benefitting from the mentorship and guidance of industry professionals. Built on a foundation of research called MAVY, The Agency specializes in marketing to the millennial generation. The Agency’s roster of national clients includes P&G, Florida Department of Citrus, Florida Department of Transportation, Stein Mart, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and ecotourism theme park, Experiencias Xcaret.
The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, recognized by its peers as one of the premier programs in the country, is driving innovation and engagement across the disciplines of advertising, journalism, public relations and telecommunication. The college’s strength is drawn from both academic rigor and experiential learning. It offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and certificates, both online and on campus. CJC students have the opportunity to gain practical experience in the Innovation News Center, which generates content across multiple platforms, and The Agency, an integrated strategic communication and consumer research agency focused on marketing to young adults. The College includes seven broadcast and digital media properties (including the local PBS, NPR and ESPN affiliates), the STEM Translational Communication Center and the nation’s only program in strategic communication for social change.