Interview with Dan Mall

1. When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?

I originally went to college to be an animator, but I quickly realized how tedious it was and how bad I was at it. Flipping through the course catalog for what else I could do, I found a handful of courses I liked that seemed to be under the umbrella of something called “graphic design,” which I had never really heard of at that point. I learned more about design, realised that it came pretty naturally for me, and the rest was history.

2. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?

Most clients come to SuperFriendly through some form of content. That might be a case study we published, an article we wrote, a talk we gave at a conference, and other things like that.

3. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?

One of our core values at SuperFriendly is to “win together,” and that’s not just for our team; that includes the client too. We always want our work to provide more value for our clients than the money they spent on us. When we can do that, they see us as an asset and are much more prone to want to do more work together.

4. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?

We try to incentive clients to pay on time—or even early!—both positively and negatively. Our Master Service Agreement describes an additional fee for late payments. We also give clients a discount for paying early. The combination has led to most clients paying on time.

5. What does your typical work day look like?

Every day, I wake up somewhere from 4:30am–5am and I spend the first hour of my day doing “mission work” before I check email, Twitter, or Slack. “Mission work” is work that furthers my mission on the Earth, which is currently to create better opportunities for people to flourish. That could be scheduling emails that connect people, working on new products and services that help create opportunities, and other things like that. 

From there, I’ll spend the next few hours getting myself and my kids ready for the day. When I’m back at my desk, I have 2 types of work days: “closed” days (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) and “open” days (Tuesdays and Thursdays). 

On “open” days, I have email, Slack, and Twitter open all day and am generally open to talking to my co-workers in whatever they might need (critiques, jam sessions, unblocking, etc). 

On “closed” days, I have a 2-hour work block in the morning and a 3.5 hour work block in the afternoon. I also have a 1-hour block in the morning and afternoon where I check email, Slack, and Twitter; otherwise, those apps are generally closed the rest of the day.

I usually stop working between 5:30pm and 6:30pm.

Connect with
Dan Mall

Main Website: Dan Mall

Social Media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Email.

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Dan Mall has been a creative director, designer, and developer since 1998. He has taught design systems and collaboration at public conferences, private client engagements, as higher education instruction, and on many podcasts and videos. Dan’s superpower is getting people excited, even when there’s challenging work ahead.

Interview published on: Jun 16, 2022

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