SDC22: Nicolás Castro from Bergen Fondly Remembers SDC2018
Lead, Samsung Developers
The Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) is coming soon! We’re looking forward to another opportunity to share new product information and updates to the platforms and tools that you use to make your own products.
Today, we’re talking with Nicolás Castro of Bergen. Bergen won a Best of Galaxy Store award in 2018 for their beautiful and innovative Galaxy Watch watch faces. Nicolas attended SDC in person to receive the award and learn from the technical sessions. At the time, he discussed what winning the award (video in Spanish) meant to their company. We are taking this opportunity to discuss his experiences at the event and how he has succeeded with Galaxy Store.
Hi Nicolás, thank you for joining us. Tell us, "who is Nicolás Castro?"
Hi Eric, and thanks for giving me this great space to talk and share my work.
Well, who is "Nicolás Castro"... I feel I could be writing for a while, haha.
I have been a product designer for maybe more than 15 years. I live in Montevideo, Uruguay, a small and great country in South America. I am passionate about design—I think it shapes my everyday life, mainly focusing on working as a Product Designer, Galaxy Theme and Galaxy Watch face designer as well.
I am a father of a child of about five years old named Delfina, with whom also in our play times, we enjoy sketching and designing together.
In my free time, which is tiny, I try to read and learn about UX and Crypto Art. I always leave time to do sport as well, I am an active person, and I am convinced that sport helps us to be more energic persons and healthy in body mind and soul.
What can you share with us about Bergen, your company? Where did it start, who else is involved, etc.
The Bergen startup was born at the end of 2017 and focused on creating watch faces. Before that, I worked as a UX designer in a software company and then discovered this fantastic business. After some research about it, I could see great potential and opportunity, so I decided to quit my job and build a startup named Bergen.
Before the pandemic, Bergen was composed of about six people, some of them external collaborators. After the pandemic, the team was reduced to two people. These were difficult moments, but Bergen was able to come out ahead.
I want to mention a particular thing; many people ask me why the name Bergen. It regards the meaning of the word that caught me: "Mountain man who looks far." However, there are other meanings as well. Bergen is a city in Norway, which is beautiful, but I haven't been there yet! So, after winning two awards using its name, I think I should go in person... haha.
What led you to creating watch faces for Galaxy Store?
Creating watch faces is a task that I am passionate about. Since I was a child, I have always liked speedometers, RPM gauges, and car dashboards. I like speed, and I think there is something there that connects me and makes me enjoy it so much when designing.
Generally, Bergen's style tends to be 3D oriented. We use graphics that stand out on the clock, always taking care of all the details. We prefer precise use of colors, contrasts, fonts, and the correct use of brightness and shadows.
I focus on creating designs that reflect the users' personalities, the same thing that happens with clothing.
You attended SDC as a live event in 2018 and you received a Best of Galaxy Store award for your watch face designs. What do you remember about the event?
Well, whenever I remember that moment, an immense joy comes over me. It was an incredible milestone in my life. I met many people, colleagues, and a large part of the Samsung Developers staff.
I also remember the emotion of being the first award-winning designer in this type of category—that year, the award ceremony for watch face designers began. I would like to go back in time to feel the emotion of those days again—they were thrilling days. Even the return to my country was incredible; my family, friends, and colleagues were waiting for me at the airport to celebrate.
You received some extra publicity at the time from an unexpected source. How exciting was that?
Well, that was unexpected, and I was amazed when the US embassy in Uruguay published a press release about it. That gave it even more significance to the event that had occurred.
What are the most important things you learned at SDC?
The most important thing was that people could achieve extraordinary things when they work with passion and ambition; they can cross many borders and create incredible opportunities.
So I want to encourage everyone to learn about developing apps, designing Galaxy Themes, and Galaxy Watch faces. I'd like to invite those who want to learn to be successful watch face designers at facefy.org.
In a previous blog post from 2018, you talked about your creative process. What process and tools do you use to go from ideas to finished product? Have any parts of your creation process changed in four years?
Well, to be honest, not much has changed. My design process is the same: research, sketching, testing, creating the final design, iterating, and starting again.
New editing tools have appeared, and that's a good thing, but the core of the creative process is the same. It is not recommended to design inside a program—they are used to build your creation, not to increase creativity. Instead, grab a white paper and pen and draft your ideas! That is my standard method to design.
Your designs have a very striking visual style with sharp, angular features and bold colors. They look like they are made for active people. Are these designs reflected in your own lifestyle?
Wow, you have good eyes. I am a person who does sports, such as biking, running, cross training, kart races, paragliding jumps, surfing, and playing football. The feeling of those styles is for active people! And of course, for those who want to experience energy 😊
This year, as the previous year, SDC will be a virtual event on October 12. What are you hoping to learn more about this year?
This year I am very interested in continuing to learn about NFTs as much as teaching people worldwide to create profitable watch faces.
Regarding NFTs, I think there are many possibilities for many people, and it would be great if Samsung put some eyes into it too—who knows, create a new side business in the virtual world.
Can you share where we see more of your work?
Gladly, here you go!
Thank you for your time today, Nicolás. Perhaps in a future time, we can all meet in person again.
Hey Eric, for sure! I love flying and traveling to the US occasionally, so I will gladly meet you again. Thanks for your "buena onda" (good vibes and energy), as always.
Resources for sellers at Galaxy Store
Many thanks to Nicolás for sharing his experiences with us. Nicolás is one of the many entrepreneurs all over the world whose businesses are enabled by Galaxy Store.
For more information on signing up and selling on Galaxy Store, look into the Galaxy Store documentation. For assistance with setting up and starting your sales campaigns, the Galaxy Store discussion forums are where you can get great insights from other sellers.
We look forward to SDC 2022 on October 12. Join us online to watch the keynote and learn in the technical sessions at samsungdeveloperconference.com. Join us on Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and YouTube to continue the discussion.