Martin Magner


Martin started his career at Ogilvy Cape Town where he worked as an Art Director across some of the world’s leading brands including Volkswagen and Audi. He then made his way into the Youth Engagement space where he spent his formative years placing global brands like Adidas, Spotify and Levi’s in the heart of culture. His passion lies with the youth, empowering them to co-create with brands creating a future they want to see.

Martin is now based in New York City as a Creative Director, and global head of Art for the Coca-Cola business at Virtue Worldwide. He’s pioneering a team of future-focused, culture-first creatives who are elevating and shaping brands to create a meaningful impact on the world. Martin played a big role in the launch of Coca-Cola Creations — a global platform intended to reach Gen Z audiences.

He was part of the team who developed the award-winning work for Backup Ukraine. A project created to offer meaningful support to Ukraine, the idea simply gave average citizens the ability to ‘backup’ their culture to the cloud where no bombs could reach.

In the past year Martin has been honored with multiple awards including Adweek Creative 100 Honoree, Business Insiders Rising Star, Cannes Grand Prix, Lia Grand Prix, New York Festival Awards and multiple more.


Looking forward to 2023, are you optimistic about the role and impact of Graphic Design and Visual Communication in Business? Culture? Causes? Have the events and disruptions of the past few years changed the role or trajectory of Graphic Design?

I am obsessed with the power of design and live by ‘Look crazy, talk smart’. When I think of graphic design, I consider it something so much more than just a good typeface. I think of design as a conversation starter. If it’s not making someone feel something, then you’ve failed. Design should be gorgeous, grotesque, stripped back, uncomfortable and have a damn story to tell.

We’re going through so much collectively and as designers we have the power to bring stories to life in a way that makes people stop, read or listen. From an early age, I used fashion (terrible homemade graphic t-shirts) as a conversation starter. Growing up, painfully shy, I realized the power of attention. When you can harness the power to grab people with aesthetic, imagery, looks or vibes, you have the opportunity to create understanding. And when more people understand each other, stronger connections can be formed.

Most influential graphic designer(s) or art directors(s) of the past 60 years? Of today?

Today: Aiden Zamiri, Yuen Hsieh, BRTHR, Sam Rolfes, AG Cook, Colin D Fletcher. Last 60 years: Pretty much the entire Project X magazine archive.

Most influential graphic design firm(s), ad agency(s), or inhouse department(s) of the past 60 years? Of today?

I’ve always been inspired by culture, not industry. The hyperpop scene is absolutely sending me with their aesthetics. From high end established artists to DIY parties in Brooklyn. The flyers, posters, album covers, t-shirts, EVERYTHING.

Favorite or most influential logo or branding project of the past 60 years?

The evolution of Vivienne Westwood. Her entire aesthetic over the years has been unwavering and I’m obsessed with her iconic orb that has taken so many different shapes and forms.