San Diego design agency Basic poaches members for exec team from AKQA, Apple

Cristina Torres, Erwin Hines, Andrew Yanoscik, and Danielle Higgins (l-r) are among digital firm Basic's new hires / Basic

San Diego-based experience design agency Basic announced the hiring of four executives, as well as the opening of a third office in Mountain View, California.

The new members added to Basic’s executive team include Cristina Torres of AKQA as its executive director, Michael Madavi of Apple as senior strategist, Steve Denekas of indie digital innovation agency Instrument as vice president of creative and Danielle Higgins as marketing director.

Aside from the hirings, the agency moved five of its long-time employees up to director levels. Andrew Yanoscik and Erwin Hines were named creative directors, with Yanoscik overseeing brand strategy and Hines tasked with innovation.

Additionally, Ashley Reichel was promoted to vice president of operations, while John Vlasic and Ryan Vancil were bumped up to design director and associate design director, respectively.

The agency also announced the opening of an office embedded in an unnamed “global technology client” in Mountain View, where Torres and Madavi have called their home office. Torres will oversee operations at the highest level as the executive director for the office in the Bay Area, and has brought experience from running Apple, Brand Jordan and Levi’s programs at AKQA with her. Madavi, who was a marketing manager at Apple and a strategist in a previous role at R/GA, will lead strategy across all creative teams and efforts for the tech company's brand work.

Meanwhile, Denekas and Higgins based at the newly launched headquarters in San Diego. Denekas, the agency’s first vice president for creative, will be working alongside agency leadership and collaborating with those who have built the company to take Basic to the next chapter. He held that role at Instrument, and was also worked at Wieden+Kennedy as the Levi’s global brand design director. Higgins role, the agency said, will “help shape the Basic story”, and has responsibility over passion projects, business development and opportunities to drive growth as creative producer for Amazon, Nike, Xbox and Adidas.

According to the agency, its promotions and hires are a result of agency growth, taking on Snapchat, L’Oreal, and Heath Ceramics as new clients. The agency also launched its own interactive “culture manual” to supplement the influx of new talent coming in.

On the news, Basic founder and chief executive, Matt Faulk stated: “This growth for Basic shows us brands are resonating with our experience-focused approach to digital. Each of these new hires and promotions has been handpicked as a fit for our agency’s philosophy of bringing brands and culture together. We can’t wait to get to work in our new spaces."

Recent projects from the digital shop include a revamping the .com experience for Beats by Dre, built an e-commerce platform for retailer BB Dakota, and helped messenger bike brand Chrome expand to reach new urban environments with a content plan to bolster its digital presence.

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