The Firm List > The Firm List Spotlights > Project6 Design

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Project6 Design Spotlight on the Firms
FL: Where did the name Project6 come from?
P6: The name Project6 came from Esten's last name, Sesto, which means "sixth" in Italian. And we just liked the word "Project" because it sounds intriguing, in a James Bond kind of way.
FL: Your sites talks about how poorly done marketing materials can do more harm than good. Do you have examples of how a company handled their marketing poorly and how Project6 fixed that situation?
P6: We don't really have any "before" and "after" shots. Our philosophy on this is that your company is presented to the world through print and web. In a competitive economy you have to utilize every marketing channel to its fullest advantage. Your brochure and website should reinforce the brand and speak clearly to your audience. After all, your competitors are only a click away.
FL: San Francisco was probably the heart of the internet & the dot.com boom, how has the market been in the last few years and how has Project6 survived in that environment?
P6: For us, the last few years have been pretty good. I think more and more companies are not looking to hire larger agencies, but rather focusing on smaller firms and individual consultants. Some say that from our site we look like a large firm, but we're actually quite small. The advantage of hiring a firm like ours is that a company can get the experience of a larger agency but at much more reasonable prices.
FL: How have your backgrounds in industrial design shaped & crafted your firm's web design/development services?
P6: Both Edina and I do have backgrounds in ID. I think that where it really helps is in allowing us to analyze a problem and to find a very simple solution. Often those solutions are found in simplifying an architecture or user experience, which is what industrial designers are trained to do. When designing a product, many times you have internal components and you work with engineers to develop an external look that re-enforces the company brand and satisfies the user. These are very similar principles in user interface and web design.
Project6 Design Offices
FL: How important is listening in your process? Isn't it a given in the process of any firm?
P6: Listening is a very important step. I suppose it is a 'given' for any firm, but for us it's an important reminder not to jump right into design. It is surprising how many designers do not effectively listen to clients. If the project is to be successful, client goals and audience needs have to be understood and acknowledged.
FL: You've written on your site that your firm's goal is to "create design solutions that produce real results for your company." How do you go about measuring those results and ensuring that your work meets those goals?
P6: This is where listening comes in. While you are listening to your clients and learning about their needs, audience and industry, you are creating a set of goals that the project should accomplish at the end. We check back throughout the entire project and remind ourselves who we are designing for and what we are trying to communicate.

For many projects, it's about branding, which can be difficult to measure. Over time, however, the results become clear. Usually the results are measured in customer feedback and additional sales. Sometimes measuring results can be as easy as monitoring traffic to a website.
FL: Given the changes in the economy and marketplace, what is the balance of print and web work in your ongoing business? How has that changed in the last few years?
P6: Things have certainly changed in the last few years. Two years ago, all we did was website design, now our focus is on handling the multiple aspects of building a small company: identity, brochure/print, web, HTML emails, and web applications/e-commerce. So now we're better equipped to handle any type of work a client may need. I believe this flexibility has helped us survive the ongoing changes to the economy.
FL: You've done a lot of email marketing campaigns for clients. How have these been received by both clients and end-users? Do you see any distinct trends emerging in this niche of the industry?
P6: This has been an interesting turn for us. In the past year alone, we have been doing quite a bit of HTML email work for larger companies like Pottery Barn, The Sharper Image, TravelSmith and LeapFrog. I think more and more companies are recognizing that email marketing can be a very affordable way to connect with their customers. From an ROI perspective, the cost of designing, developing and launching a campaign are only a tiny fraction of the revenues generated. This definitely is a trend that we'll see continue.
FL: If someone stopped you on the street and asked you to quickly tell them how Project6 was different from any other web design firm in San Francisco, how would you answer them?
P6: We do not consider ourselves a web design firm, but rather a design firm. We work on branding and print as well as the web. What makes us different from other design firms is that we are a very small with big firm experience.

From a design perspective, what makes us different is that we tend to create very simple and clean designs. We believe in usability and communication, not in hype and flash.
FL: You've both worked for larger firms & companies in the past, how has it been different working as Project6? What's your advantage over either a larger firm or an in-house web department?
P6: Being small means we can only take on a few clients at a time, which means they get more attention. We also have much less overhead, which allows us to be a very affordable design agency. One of the biggest advantages to a client is that they get a direct line of communication to the person doing the work. Less red tape means more work gets done!
Project6 Design - Edina Tanovic + Esten Sesto
FL: In addition to the web & print design services, you offer some products. How important are these products to serving your existing and future customers?
P6: This has been something we continue to test. Over the years many different companies have come to us asking for the same website features, such as tools for managing site content, file sharing portals and more powerful traffic analysis. So we decided to package some of these features into distinct products that can be easily integrated into a new or an existing website. I think this has been an important step for Project6 Design because it makes it easier for clients to understand some of the options available to them, and it allows us to implement solutions for them on a much faster basis.
FL: If you and Edina were to change careers tomorrow, what you tackle next?
P6: That's hard to answer, computers have been in our lives forever! I think Edina would like to be an artist. I would join America's Cup and sail the World.
FL: What's the one tool or technology in this field that you think will have the greatest impact in the years ahead?
P6: It's hard to choose just one. As processors are getting faster and hard drives getting more compact, having a mobile or remote office is becoming more feasible than ever before. Also, the 3G cell phone network is finally allowing people to stay connected with their business. These two areas of technology will continue to make the world a smaller place to do business in.
(spotlight first ran February 2003)


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