Q+A: Ramy Nagy, Madeo
Madeo is a website & design consulting company that works on a range of projects, from website design and mobile apps, to ad campaigns. In addition, Madeo also works to bring awareness to local nonprofits, and special causes that have a social impact. Their client list is long and impressive, from Levi's and the Smithsonian, to the Innocence Project.
We sat down with CEO and Creative Director Ramy Nagy to talk about what Madeo is all about, the future of the company, and more.
What is Madeo all about? What sets you apart from your peers?
We focus on partnering with clients that have a social impact. And what’s different about us is how we work with our clients: we are so integrated in our approach that we sometimes take on team roles within our client teams, as opposed to just working on isolated projects. Sure, we'll work on something specific, like a rebranding project, but we'll do it as part of the client's own marketing team, and work with them on a daily basis in a very integrated way.
What brought you to Dumbo?
We had an office in Manhattan for more than six years, and were thinking about changing locations. As a team, we collectively started thinking about what our priorities were for our new neighborhood. We settled on DUMBO because everyone just fell in love with the culture of the neighborhood! It's about the creative energy of so many other partners that are in DUMBO; plus, being on the waterfront is a big perk. Having a nice open space that overlooks the water, and has a lot of sunlight, these are things that we really liked about here. We also wanted our own quiet space that feels like home. We wanted to settle into a place that was a little more permanent and long term, and create our own space that fosters collaboration.
"We settled on DUMBO because everyone just fell in love with the culture."
In your yearly recap of 2019, you introduced the buddy-system in your office. How has that been going and do you have any more ideas for further evolving your workplace environment?
One of the biggest values that we have here at Madeo is collaboration. The kind of work we do is all about having a strategist collaborate with a designer, a designer collaborate with an engineer, etc. In order to produce websites and other communication projects that are clear to people, it takes a lot of work across different skill sets. We came up with a buddy system so that for each project you're working on, you’re both collaborating with other roles — like a designer collaborating with a strategist — and with a peer of the same role. This way, the two peer designers can bounce ideas off of each other and help one another in a special way. It’s really improved our overall collaboration, and helps everyone learn much more in an interesting way.
What were the milestones of 2019? And what are you looking forward to working on in 2020?
2019 had a lot of very big projects and accomplishments for us. We launched a number of startups, rebranded organizations, and produced a lot of projects. One that I’m particularly proud of is that we designed and produced a special website for "Just Mercy," a movie and a book about the Equal Justice Initiative. It's a personal favorite because a lot of people are going to be exposed to this organization through that work — people will come across the movie and learn about EJI and its meaningful cause.
In 2020, we’re focusing on how to partner and collaborate with an even wider range of nonprofits and mission-driven brands. In addition to our work with bigger organizations, we are thinking about how to help nonprofits that might not have the same kind of resources or mission-driven startups at their early stages. We’re excited about how we can help them improve their brand, their overall engagement with audiences, and to do that in a way that aligns with their different stages.
It's great that you can support and work with causes you’re clearly passionate about within the company itself. How important is it to you to work on important issues and with non-profits that are purpose-driven?
It’s great knowing that what we work on has a positive impact on a community or a group of people. However, it’s not a requirement for them to be a nonprofit. What matters to us is to help clients that are doing something we’d like to see more of in this world and sometimes companies are positioned to do that in a way that nonprofits can’t.
Does working with a range of companies help you become better partners to your non-profit clients?
Yes definitely. For example, the NBA reached out to us and we worked with them on the design of their NBA app, which is used by millions of people all over the world. What we got hired to do was improve the user experience with specific personalization features. They were interested in our ability to understand different types of users and be able to successfully design personalized interfaces for them. This is right up our alley in terms of our skill sets. Working on that kind of scale gives us great insights that benefit our nonprofit clients in ways that other designers wouldn’t be able to have had they only worked with nonprofits.
The main point here is that we strongly believe in the value of being well-rounded, not just collectively, but for each designer, engineer, and strategist to be a well-rounded person. This is not something that people are just born with — I think it’s something that you have to invest in. We are constantly working with different types of industries and different-sized clients so that we can have a more nuanced understanding of challenges when they do arise for our clients.
Where do you hope to see Madeo in the future?
Our goal is to continue to become better team members for our clients. Looking forward, this means teaching more of our skills to our clients, so we’re not only contributing to the work, but also helping them improve their own potential as well. That way our impact can be much bigger and more long term. It’s almost elevating the role from producing great work to teaching others how to produce great work.
And finally, what’s your favorite part of Dumbo?
Definitely the waterfront. Actually, make that the waterfront with a perfect sandwich from Bread and Spread.