Ask the Board – April 17, 2017 | PAOLO TOSOLINI


Of the successful projects you’ve worked on, which is your favorite, and what steps led to making it a success?”

Success is somehow a personal definition: There are tangible measurements, such as customer satisfaction, on time delivery and on budget delivery. Then, there are intangible aspects that, at least personally, are also quite important. They usually address questions like: Did I learn something new? Was it challenging enough? Did it help me advance professionally? Am I proud of the end result?

I’m the founder of a digital agency, and we specialize in business storytelling through emerging media. We love interactive signage, and that’s the core of our business. We were thrilled when Microsoft approached us with a special request to prototype a touch experience that would become the blueprint for information kiosks in several campus buildings.

What I recall more fondly about this project was the opportunity to spend quality time with my design team and brainstorm new UI interactions that could both please and serve their purpose. Creative projects often come with some strings attached: In this case, we were asked not to worry about scalability, which can limit creative freedom. The order was just to innovate, within  the boundaries of Microsoft brand guidelines.

We were also pleasantly surprised about the emotional involvement of the client itself, who demonstrated an insatiable appetite for novel design, limited only by budget and deadlines.

We found that our most successful projects share some common elements:

  • The client doesn’t micromanage us to the point of choking our creative flow
  • We establish a rapid and efficient rhythm of communications that allows us to iterate quickly and weed out bad ideas.
  • We afford enough time to challenge ourselves to continuously innovate on UI design, rather than repeating what we already did in the past. From the economic standpoint, this is not always wise, but I like to think that innovation comes from trying something new even when it’s not strictly necessary.
  • Finally, making sure that the client has everything they need to fully succeed as project owners. This goes beyond a great deliverable. It includes proper documentation (e.g. screenshots, videos, etc.) that can be used in their reports to upper management as a testament of a job well done.

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Tosolini Productions

Advertising & Brand Council

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