Meet Mark García “Possessing a great talent isn’t enough”
New York, September 4th, 2016
New York City has long maintained the status of being a hub of creative thinkers. The team at Majestyk is no exception to that reputation. What started as a specialty mobile development shop five years ago, has since evolved into a full service digital agency. Full of talented and innovative individuals striving to push the boundaries in digital, the agency specializes in mobile and web development, UX optimization, mobile/digital strategy, branding, visual design and even product development beyond digital platforms.
Comprised of a small team of ten full-time staffers and additional freelancers, the team at Majestyk is more like family. The closeness of the staff and shared passion for the craft is a big component in Majestyk’s success. As one of the winners of the IBM Watson Mobile Developers Challenge for a smart toy they created, the crew at Majestyk is certainly ahead of its time. They’ve taken this idea of a smart toy, one we only could have dreamed of years ago, and turned this visionary concept into a reality.
Leading the driven team at Majestyk is Creative VP, Mark García. With a strong background in traditional print design, Mark made the switch over to digital about halfway through his career. With a constant inundation of new information and technologies, making that transition was at times difficult, but always rewarding. To learn more about Majestyk and the innovative projects the team is working on, we chatted with Mark about everything from smart toys to the ways he stays on top of his digital game as a professional in this constantly evolving yet exciting field.
Describe Majestyk in a few descriptive adjectives:
Focused, passionate, and fearless — as a team, we like to push the boundaries.
How did you become interested in digital media and marketing?
In university I was a dual PR and Communication Studies Major with a minor in Design. After college, I gained valuable experience in traditional print design and went on to become the leading art director at an agency for 7 years. My background was deeply rooted in the traditional design side, however there came a point where I realized I wanted to do more with digital. I made the steady transition and about 2.5 years ago got more deeply involved in mobile work.
What is a campaign at Majestyk you’re particularly proud of?
In February 2014 we entered the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge to develop a new and innovative digital product. The prompt was to utilize the high-level computing power of the Watson supercomputer to push the envelope on the capabilities of modern apps.
Our proposal was a smart toy. The initial iteration was a plush stuffed animal, capable of talking, listening, responding and evolving its speech with a child’s growth. A “toy of the next generation”, CogniToys impressed the judges of the contest and ultimately they selected us as winners. This competition allowed us gain a lot of respect from IBM and within the industry as a whole. We’ve since partnered with IBM for almost two years now to bring our concept to market.
What are your daily activities as Creative VP?
No day is the same, and that keeps things interesting. Usually as a team we touch base in the morning to check in on projects. Throughout the day I’ll have scattered meetings, brainstorms, client pitches and proposals to work on. I like to get my hands dirty as often as I can and do physical design work myself but I’m typically focused on helping run the business and developing creative strategies for clients. We work in all different business niches; our projects split at about 50% startups and small brands and the rest with larger agencies, where we get the opportunity to work with clients like CitiBank and Pepsi.
What are some challenges you and your team face on a daily basis and how do you overcome them?
As someone with a strong background in traditional creative, making that transition to digital was hard because everything moves quickly. It’s still challenging to stay updated on the most trending platforms or solutions. The tech industry as a whole is lightning fast and clients rightfully expect digital agencies to know their stuff. It requires a lot of personal education to stay on top even as a seasoned professional.
What excites you most about your field of work?
I love how the tech industry is always changing — there is constantly something new to learn. That keeps me on my toes, always ready to absorb the next big thing. I also can’t say enough about my team here at Majestyk. We’re a small, intimate team and much more of a family unit. There’s a real sense of camaraderie between us and it creates an inspiring environment to come to work in everyday.
Are there online publications, professionals, or industry leaders you follow for inspiration?
I’m active on Twitter and use that platform to get the latest trends and news. I follow brands I like and admire as well as fellow creative directors. I’m constantly scrolling through Twitter for information. For visual inspiration I prefer Instagram.
Please list a few of your favorite digital brands:
Maple — I really like what this digital brand has done from a visual branding perspective as well as their particular business model in food and tech. It will be interesting to see how the scale in the long term.
Slack — The concept of messaging systems isn’t new, but the way Slack has structured their platform really makes them a game changer. Slack is a fairly a young company but it’s scaled exponentially because of this.
Birchbox — This brand has a really strong digital presence and they’re the stand out originators who brought the concept of curated box deliveries to the mainstream. I’ve always been a fan of them since they first hit the market.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m really big on traveling. I like to get out of town whenever I can, especially for longer trips. My most recent overseas excursion was to Sweden. It was my first time visiting the country and I loved it.
Which countries excite you most in terms of digital creativity?
I would have to say Denmark. From both a design and usability perspective, something about the industry in Scandinavia has always caught my attention. Their furniture, for instance, is well known and recognized around the world. Their aesthetic and philosophy on functionality, be it physical products or technology, is something I keep an eye on.
What advice do you often give to people who are starting to work in your same field?
It’s crucial to be humble and stay hungry. Possessing a great talent isn’t enough — one needs passion to truly succeed. As the industry changes so quickly, people working in the digital sphere have to adapt and be willing and eager to learn new trends as they come in. Aside from that, realizing the importance of the relationships with people from both a networking and inspiration perspective is important.There is a lot you can learn by surrounding yourself with creative and talented people. It can be intimidating but with the right mindset working with people who might be more well versed than you can be motivating and pushes you to challenge yourself.
Where do you see the industry going in 5 or 10 years?
It’s hard to make any hard predictions since the field is always evolving, but I think the VR trend is something that we’ll see continue to grow. In regards to apps, the industry is saturated with them. There’s an app for everything and it’s becoming hard to capture a user’s attention and retain it. Because of that I think there will be a shift in technology towards “smart” products and the concept of an internet of things – equipping our everyday objects and making them more functional through integrated technology.
Stay updated on all the latest projects and news from the team at Majestyk. Check out the agency’s profile on TIA.
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