Today, it feels like we’re living in a technological Babel. Few languages, yet thousands of dialects and tools to visualize them. Every time you develop something, you need to test it on different operative systems, browsers and devices: the number of possible combinations makes you dizzy.
Please give us a brief bio of yourselves.
We are a digital communication agency established in the year 2000 and located near Como and Milan. Our business is digital communication on a full scale. We love design and codes. We do our best and try to have fun with every job.
What do you do for inspiration?
Luigi: there is no specific trick for me. I would say inspiration comes from what I experience, see and hear. Of course I spend a lot of time on the Internet, with more ideas coming from magazines, TV graphics, poster campaigns, movies. Generally speaking I look for elegance and cleanness in communication and every time I see something I like, I stick a virtual note on my mind… It’ll come in handy, at some point.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
The greatest achievement is to create something which we, our client and the public like: it’s some sort of magic and a great satisfaction for us, every time. We often hear that companies we work for are paid compliments for what we have done: is there any greater achievement than this?
How many hours do you work each week?
Luigi: I don’t think our work can be confined in timeframes, or at least it doesn’t stop when we switch our computers off. We keep working in our heads, in our imagination. Every time we work at a project, the emotional involvement is strong. The most interesting solutions are often born when you would least expect them: in the shower, over a beer, while driving… sometimes even during sleep.
How do you relax or unwind?
Luigi: I watch movies, play with the code, spend time with my girlfriend and take long walks whenever I can.
If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?
Luigi: I think I found myself at a fork a couple of times and I could have ended up doing something completely different. At the university I took classical studies and before falling in love with web design I used to dream about being a researcher. Before university, rock star or poéte maudit, for sure ;-)
What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?
The best part is seeing a good project taking shape, no doubt about this. Somehow, every website contains a part of us and seeing it turning out well is very reassuring ;-).
The hardest thing is to set up a project with the right balance between what we like and the best way to portray our client: we must never forget that our task is to efficiently give shape to somebody else’s communication. This process is often difficult because we have to deal with the client’s self-perception.
What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?
We’ll never forget a project we developed for an important Italian cruise company. It was an ambitious project and the deadline was tight. The result: a whole month of no sleep, in-flight refuelling, our families reporting us missing, but in the end we put up an excellent website!
If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?
We have to thank a client who, at the beginning of our career, decided to apply for a web award with his website. Until then, we had been hesitating, a bit shy. The site has been awarded. Now we’re here.
What software could you not live without?
Luigi: once, I would have said FlashDevelop. Today, none in particular.
How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?
We rather don’t think about it, we might get scared ;-) Beside developing new projects, we also do updates, contents development, social networks management, e-marketing campaigns.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Now: Akqa, North Kingdom
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Developing a good website surely has an impact on its traffic. Visitors are more likely to linger on a nice website and to share nice contents. Beside the impact that comes from winning awards.
Who is your target audience?
We don’t have a specific target audience, we cover all areas, pretty much. Our clients are both small businesses with local public and multinational companies with worldwide visibility. Also the users we target are very diverse: from private individuals looking for a certain product to business operators. Their identikit could be: human being with internet connection.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Today, it feels like we’re living in a technological Babel. Few languages, yet thousands of dialects and tools to visualize them. Every time you develop something, you need to test it on different operative systems, browsers and devices: the number of possible combinations makes you dizzy. Even with all the care, you can never be sure that your work is going to be universally visible in the way you have designed it. To answer your question: a universal web design language.
Are there any websites that have shone through as being pioneering in the last 5 years or so?
ro.me: with its 3D library it has proven that js and webgl could give results as spectacular as flash. It is only now, a few years after, that this technology starts to be widely accepted, perhaps also thanks to its use in mobile devices. How will the posterity define the in between period? The dark age?
Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?
From a personal point of view: winning an FWA encourages us to do better and better! From a professional point of view it has allowed us to get in touch with great worlds out there.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
One of our first jobs was a website for a small digital printing and sticker graphic design agency: annus domini 2000 ;-). The website was, for the time being, a definitely pioneer full flash. Looking back at it now, it’s like archaeology.
Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?
We hope the most common navigation devices will reach the calculation power of Google servers ;-)
Today, there is a good expression potential… yet you have to deal with the processors capacity. Who has never had a phantasmagorical animation in mind, encoded it and found out that the pc just got stuck? How frustrating!
Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?
We developed it in collaboration with another agency (JWT Milan) in 2010, for a Maxibon (an ice-cream by Nestlè) contest; the website name was Bitemore. We took care of the development of the whole graphic interface. The website was complex both from the interface and from the user interaction point of view. We had to deploy all our actionscript knowledge (lots of 3D, lots of animations, lots of interaction): we created something that really was on the cutting edge. It has also been a good chance to work with other great professionals.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
Maxibon Bitemore. Unfortunately, that website had the lifespan of an ice-cream… once the contest was over, the site… “melted” ;-)
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Not as we have experienced it until a few years ago. Its field of application has thinned out a lot. It will probably keep living, in niches though. We hope we’re wrong and that it will turn out to be a phoenix!
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Mmm… we don’t think it’s vital to have specific training, otherwise we wouldn’t be here speaking with you. At the university, we have studied philosophy and classical literature: is there anything further from our job? Everything we know, we taught it ourselves. The only important thing is to have fun doing what you do, everything else comes after.
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?
Keep looking up at the most state-of-art websites. Observe and be smart. Learn from the others. Keep wonder. Never think that something is too difficult and too hard to reach; instead, aim to emulate and exceed it.
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?
Luigi: I have it already, a Volvo 240 Polar
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
The answer is still valid: having a good portfolio. In our business, we sell things that haven’t been done yet, that are yet to be born. Clients make their decision solely based on what has been made before. I understand it might sound like a dog chasing its tail, in the beginning you don’t work much, you develop projects for small businesses; yet you still have to take good care of your jobs. It will pay back!
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
We learned everything by ourselves, by studying, playing, looking at what the best web agencies were doing.
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
We keep looking around. We connect to The FWA every day.
What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?
Talking about a Country in particular wouldn’t be fair: the web is a global world, accessible from everywhere. We often see innovation that comes from one side of the world being reworked and exceeded on the other side.
There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?
Luigi: I must say, some fashion and design brands really fascinate me. When the phone rings, I wish it’s one of them. Let’s hope for the best!
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
Luigi: full tank for my Volvo 240 ;-)
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Always be on the case and never give up. Never think something is too hard and unattainable. Have fun, always!
It has been a privilege, thanks very much
The honour has been ours. Thanks a lot.