The Design Business Show 235: Serving Before Selling with Daniel Adoff

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | July 3, 2023
Check out episode 235 of The Design Business Show with Daniel Adoff to learn about selling connections in your business.

Daniel Adoff is the Principal and Chief Strategist at Dyno Creative. He is a creative problem solver focused on building and evolving brands. He leads teams on a broad range of projects that include illustration, web design, and brand development. Some of his clients include Netflix, Discovery+, Sambazon, Taco Bell, and Hyperice. As a lifelong learner, Daniel is passionate about mentoring emerging talent in the practice of design and illustration. In his personal life, Daniel is a coach of Muay Thai Kickboxing. He holds a BFA in Illustration from LCAD and teaches courses within the Graphic Design and Illustration departments, including Professional Practices and Adobe Illustrator. Daniel is an active member of AIGA.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

Daniels Young Start to Art + Building Relationships

  • Daniel shares a childhood story of how his friend showed him that experimenting is what art is all about, which made him rethink his creative process 
  • How Daniel’s father owned a screen printing shop where he learned how to make t-shirts at a young age 
  • Daniel graduated from college with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration, but as he started working, he got more graphic design work 
  • In 2008, during the economic crash, Daniel had all his clients disappear, but at the time coached water polo and decided to make it the best-looking team as a case study
  • The first extensive branding project Daniel did was for his water polo team, which helped them expand from 10 to 175 athletes 
  • The story of how Daniel helped one of his past water polo athletes build his brand from the ground up 
  • Helping people is part of Daniel’s core values, and he says that Dyno Creative shares that – they’re here to solve problems, build partnerships and help people grow into their greatest self 
  • Daniel likes to start building relationships by asking people how he can help them; In the business, that equates to asking someone what their biggest pain point is 
  • Instead of trying to sell yourself and your services, Daniel says it’s more valuable to ask people what they are struggling with and what’s challenging them 
  • If you make friends, Daniel says, then there is bound to be someone who wants to help and support you in the same way you want to help and support them 
  • Why it’s important to get connected with people who are outside of your circle and industry to find out how they got where they are 
  • As creatives, we struggle to apply our skills to ourselves  
  • Daniel and I both talk about what we want to achieve in our businesses moving forward

Getting Projects You Want

  • Daniel and his team created a bunch of mock projects that they have on their website to show off the type of work they want to be doing
  • At Dyno Creative, they do a lot of cold outreach, and Daniel shares how it works for them  
  • Daniel explains it’s important that if they aren’t the expert in what a client is asking for, they connect them with someone they know who is an expert
  • How Daniel and his team can send 1,000 cold emails each month through PersistIQ that helps with generating an email list of people who might need their services  
  • Social media is like a billboard; Daniel asks how many times you have driven past a billboard and called the number on it – it’s great for awareness, which is how Daniel uses it, but he likes other strategies like email and building genuine relationships best 
  • In emails, Daniel likes to include results they’ve had for other clients and a clear CTA (call to action) so people can see how they could help them solve their problems too 
  • Daniel shares the details of working on the artwork for the Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive film
  • On streaming platforms, you might notice different key art pieces for different shows because they are testing which ones get the most clicks – this is how Daniel’s illustration ended up being used for Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive  
  • No matter what you’re trying to improve in your business, it won’t work unless you have a clear core message – the easiest way to find this, Daniel says, is to take away your product and see what your brand would be 
  • Check out the Dyno Creative website and connect with them on Instagram, Dribble, or Pinterest 


Links mentioned:

Dyno Creative Website

Dyno Creative on Instagram

Dyno Creative on Dribble

Dyno Creative on Pinterest 


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