Taking Thomas to coffee

Meet Thomas Righini Carrington, Senior Motion Graphics Designer, and videographer at Emergn. Thomas has worked in TV for more than 20 years, but this year, he embraced the challenge of becoming an essential part of our Motion Graphics team – bringing creative campaigns to life and leading the creation of our learning videos. Thomas loves football, snowboarding and most of all, adventure – 10 years ago he decided to move his life from Rome to London. In this Coffee Chat, you will learn more about Thomas’s role at Emergn, his history, and advice on how to integrate feedback early and often to deliver more engaging work in Motion Graphics projects.

What’s your role at Emergn, and how long have you been with the company?

I’m a Senior Motion Graphics Designer and videographer for the Brand & Marketing team. When I first joined Emergn, we didn’t have a Motion Graphics team, but there was a built-up need for producing more videos and animations.

Most of my team’s work is now focused on creating video content for our learning products – and also supporting our marketing campaigns. One thing I’m truly excited about is our team. We have a really diverse Motion Graphics team and we all come from different backgrounds and experiences, so we get to learn a lot from each other as we try to better understand the Emergn brand and find new ways of making it more dynamic and engaging.

Tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started

For the past 20 years, I worked in TV, which was a completely different world from motion graphics. I started working early in this area, so I witnessed a big change in video and TV, and how technology evolved. When I first started, a video was something that only elite companies with high budgets would use. But now, it has become a whole new language that people and companies use, not only to sell more, but to communicate and send a message, or create a feeling.

My studies began at the European School of Design in Rome. My first choice was to take a very generic communications course and study graphic design. But, as I was enrolling for that course, I was told about a new course starting that year – Motion Graphics. It caught my interest, and I took that course. Now I feel like it was a great decision.

When I first crossed paths with Emergn, I was excited to see the way the company uses video. It was the thing that caught my eye from the first moment. At Emergn, video it’s not just a tool used for selling or promoting – it’s a vital part of the company, it’s how we communicate and help our clients, and our people, to learn. And that’s one of the main reasons I joined Emergn – because video and animations are core parts of our products.

Looking back, one of the reasons I got in touch with Emergn, was because of this Coffee Chat series. It was really interesting to hear the employees’ stories and see that the company makes an effort to give them a voice and put them out there.

What’s something you do as a Senior Motion Graphics Designer that makes you proud?

I’m really proud of one of my first tasks here at Emergn. I had to work on a piece to promote our work-based learning capabilities externally and the challenge was to show a small part of our offerings in a very short time. I came up with an animation of how Emergn’s approach to learning builds knowledge, in a creative way, and I felt it came together really well in a nice promotion piece.

What’s the biggest challenge for you as a Senior Motion Graphics Designer?

I think one of the biggest challenges for me, and for Motion Graphics Designers in general, is to dedicate enough time to focus on creating a good graphic that aligns with the brand. As Motion Graphics Designers, we need to focus on a lot of things happening in the video. This includes incorporating all the information in a set period of time, prioritizing key messages, understanding how long the user will take to capture that message, and more. This is a challenge sometimes, but it’s important to be mindful of integrating the feedback you receive and working within the brand guidelines.

A great thing for us here at Emergn is that we have two teams – motion graphics and graphic designers – that work together to achieve a better result.

What advice would you give to a Motion Graphics Designer facing that challenge?

Feedback is key. One of the VFQ principles that I agree with the most and use in my daily life is “Discover quality with fast feedback”. It’s essential for Motion Graphics Designers to get more feedback throughout the creation process, rather than at the end. Let’s say you’re working on a campaign. If you only get feedback when finishing the video, it might take you much longer to change something that is wrong in the video. If something is changed in the first minute, for example, it will most likely impact the second, third, and fourth, because it’s structured in time, and things often fall apart like dominos. Even though you want to finish fast and see the end result, you must remember you are telling a story.  However, without seeing the end of the story, you might feel like you don’t know if it’s working, or if you’re doing a good job delivering the message. That’s why storyboarding and animatic are essential.

The thing to remember with video is that you can be producing something that’s amazing to see and looks really nice and creative, but if the message doesn’t match what we’re trying to communicate, it won’t reach the end goal – in the case of learning sessions we create, this is particularly important.

Providing feedback is also fundamental: offer feedback early and often to the person or team that requested the work on what’s doable. Be proactive and show them different solutions to deliver that message, so you can manage expectations and reach a better outcome.

Outside of work, what’s one thing people should know about you?

I used to play football professionally for Aston Villa when I was younger. It was a fun part of my life. Another sport I really enjoy is snowboarding – and I travel a lot for that. Every year, I spend a few days in the mountains, skiing, and snowboarding and I enjoy that a lot. I’ve traveled quite a bit, but one of the places that impressed me most was Granada, in Spain. The views were just stunning: you’re in the middle of the desert, practically like the Grand Canyon, and suddenly you go uphill, and you’re on a big mountain looking towards Morocco. The views there are just amazing – and you can ski down towards the sea.

Another thing a lot of people probably don’t know about me is that I was born in London, but I grew up in Italy. My father is Italian, so I moved to Rome when I was just a few months old and spent my life there. However, there was a time, about 10 years ago, not long after my wife and I had our first child when we felt like we wanted to do something different. So, we planned to move to Australia. However, a few days before the move, something changed in terms of laws and visas, and we ended up not being able to go.

We didn’t know what to do, because we were already set for a move – so that’s when we decided to move to London. At first, it was really hard to adapt to a completely different city with no family or friends, but it was one of the best decisions ever. By doing this, my wife and I felt lucky that we had something interesting to do in a completely new place – it was all part of our experience. My advice is never to stand still, take that first step, even if it’s scary and life-changing.