Podcast

Creativity, Building SuperFriendly, and Design Systems with Dan Mall

The Creative Director Dan Mall joins the show to talk about his career path and the moments that led him to start SuperFriendly, his own agency that is all about design systems. Dan shares his ethos and explains why he considers himself an intentional person. We explore some of the key moments within the foundation of SuperFriendly and we talk about the practices that companies value the most when it comes to working with agencies.

DAN MALL is a creative director and advisor from Philly. He’s the founder and CEO of SuperFriendly, a design collaborative that helps in-house teams make better digital products with design systems. Having worked with clients like Canon, ESPN, Kraft, Quartz, Apple, Google, The New York Times, Microsoft, GE, Crayola, Lucasfilm, Thomson Reuters, and more, Dan has a passion for playing matchmaker between surprising art direction and intuitive interaction design. Dan has extensive experience leading design teams and crafting processes for successful digital work. Before opening SuperFriendly, he worked as Design Director for Brooklyn-based digital creative agency Big Spaceship. Prior to that, Dan was Interactive Director of web design boutique Happy Cog and was one of the founding members of its Philadelphia office. Dan is also a co-founder of Arcade (a fun way to manage design tokens for enterprise teams); wrote Pricing Design (a book to help agency owners and freelancers figure out how and what to charge for their services); and co-hosted Businessology (a podcast and workshop series teaching designers how to run better businesses). Dan often speaks at conferences like SXSW, An Event Apart, Smashing Conference, Artifact Conference, RWD Summit, Future of Web Design, FITC, and more, teaching other designers and developers his methodology of how to do better work. He has been invited to many award show juries like the Art Directors Club, .NET Awards, and the Pixel Awards. Dan has also written for notable design publications like A List Apart and .NET Magazine. Most recently, he has taught advertising at the Miami Ad School, web and graphic design at the University of the Arts, and animation at the School of Visual Arts. Dan regularly consults with design agencies to help whip their design teams into shape. Dan is enthralled with his wife and two daughters. He writes irregularly at danmall.me and tweets often as @danmall.

Timestamps

(01:33) - Introducing Dan Mall: A family man and professional leader who believes that everyone is creative.(06:52) - Icebreaker questions: A day in Dan’s life, his latest obsession and why people describe him as intentional.(13:52) -  “People value design”: Dan’s background, influences and events that got him into design.(19:35) - What is SuperFriendly? Get to know Dan’s agency model and why it’s similar to Hollywood.(22:48) - A decade in the business: Exploring some of the key moments within the foundation of SuperFriendly.(31:54) - “Narrow positioning draws more clients”: What is SuperFriendly's main focus in 2022?(36:19) - A centralized-package-managed-version-controlled-software-product: The evolution of SuperFriendly’s concept for design systems throughout the years.(43:01) - Try to help people: What is Dan looking forward to in the following years? When is his next book being published?

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