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The Design Business Show: Serving Before Selling

Hosted By: Melissa Burkheimer | July 2023

At Dyno Creative, we strive to be creative problem solvers as we focus on building and evolving brands.  Whether we are working on illustration, web design, or a brand development project—we pour 100% of our effort and creativity into serving our partners first and focusing on the sale second.  

In this recent episode with Melissa Burkheimer from The Design Business Show, our Principal and Chief Strategist, Daniel Adoff, shares his design journey, the power of strategic design, and the importance of creativity—even in the most challenging times.

To hear more about Melissa’s tips for aspiring designers, or learn more about DesignerCon 2023, make sure to give this podcast episode a listen!

Daniel Adoff's Design Journey - A Highlight Reel

  • Daniel shares a childhood story of how he would create Halloween cards (and even a Ninja Turtles costume—because—why not!?) with his friend who showed him that experimenting is what art is all about. This lesson caused Daniel to rethink his creative process.  
  • Daniel’s father owned a screen printing shop where he learned how to make t-shirts at a young age. 
College & Young Adulthood
  • He graduated from college with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration, but as he started working, he gained more graphic design work experience.  
  • In 2008, (hello, economic crash), Daniel had all his clients disappear. At that time, he coached water polo and decided to make it the best-looking team (branding for the WIN!) and documented the journey 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—no biggie. 
  • Daniel shares a story of how he helped one of his past water polo athletes build his brand from the ground up. 
Successful Business Owner
  • Helping people is the foundation behind Daniel’s core values. His company, Dyno Creative,  shares those same values – they’re here to solve problems, build partnerships, and help people grow into their greatest self. 
  • In the business, identifying a brand’s biggest pain point is the first step in helping them move from point A to point B. 
  • 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. 
  • Daniel discusses the importance of getting connected with people who are outside of your circle and industry to find out how they got where they are today.   

How To Get The Projects You Want

  • Show Off Your Skills
  • Our team at Dyno Creative likes to create mock projects  to show off the type of work we would like to do in the future. Instead of sitting around twiddling our thumbs hoping we’ll get this kind of work, we realized it was critical that we showcase we can actually DO the work first. 
Make Connections
  • You won’t get anywhere hoping someone will reach out to you first. We take initiative by doing a lot of cold outreach. 
  • Sometimes, you just aren’t the right fit for a client. If a client is asking something of you that you can’t deliver on, make sure to connect them with someone who is an expert. This shows you still value their business and care about their success. 
  • Dyno Creative sends 1,000 cold emails each month through PersistIQ— an invaluable tool that helps with generating an email list of people who might need our services.  
  • Remember—social media is like a billboard. It’s great for brand awareness.
  • In your emails, include results you’ve had for other clients and a clear CTA (call to action) so people can see how you can help them solve their problems too.
Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive
  • Listen to the podcast and check out our case study for more details 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 our illustration ended up being used for Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive.

  Next Steps

  • 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 is to think about what you brand would be if you product doesn’t exist. That will help you get down to the basics of your core values. Then, you can build your products and services to support the core values of your brand. 


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