Design Agency Basic Hires New Execs From Apple, AKQA and Instrument

By Lindsay Rittenhouse 

San Diego experience design agency Basic is out to prove it is anything but what its name might suggest.

After claiming to have doubled its revenue last year with the addition of major clients such as Snapchat and L’Oreal, Basic announced today several promotions and the hirings of AKQA’s Cristina Torres as executive director, Apple’s Michael Madavi as senior strategist, Instrument’s Steve Denekas as vice president of creative and freelance creative producer Danielle Higgins as marketing director.

“This growth for Basic shows us brands are resonating with our experience-focused approach to digital,” founder and CEO Matt Faulk said in a statement. “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.”


Torres and Madavi will work out of Basic’s recently-opened Mountain View, Calif., office. Torres will oversee operations in this role, having the experience of leading Apple, Jordan and Levi’s programs at AKQA. Madavi, formerly Apple’s marketing manager and a R/GA strategist, will head up strategy across all creative teams.

Denekas and Higgins will be based at Basic’s new San Diego headquarters. Denekas, previously Instrument’s vice president of creative, will be the first to take on that role at Basic, helping it, according to the agency, reach its “next chapter.” Higgins will be responsible for what the agency calls “passion projects,” business development and growth, acting as a creative producer to clients like Amazon, Nike and Adidas.

Basic also promoted Andrew Yanoscik to creative director for brand strategy, Erwin Hines to creative director for innovation, Ashley Reichel to vice president of operations, Jon Vlasach to design director and Ryan Vancil to associate design director.

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