Dan Mall Teaches

by Dan Mall

I teach designers how to get the respect they deserve. I share tips, tricks, and tools about design systems, process, and leadership.

Featured Post

Level Up Your Design System Experience for 2024

Reading time: around 2 minutes As the holiday season and end of the year approaches, you might be thinking about what you’ll be doing differently in the new year. For those of you who want to level up your design system knowledge, here’s a roundup of some great ways to do that from some of my own products as well as others’ too. My Make Design Systems People Want to Use course at Design System University is getting a little long in the tooth, so I’ll be replacing/updating it soon. It’s...
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14 days ago • 2 min read

A case study: building an accounting brand and website

Reading time: around 6 minutes My dad Tan Mall spent 40 years as an in-house CFO. After he helped his company get acquired last year, he decided to start his own accounting consultancy. He asked me to help him put up a new website, and of course I said yes. Here’s the story of that process. I had grand ambitions for this project. I knew I could probably put up a website in a day, but that seemed boring. Instead, maybe I could work with a junior or mid-level designer who’s never had the chance...
21 days ago • 7 min read

Commit to Commit

Reading time: around 1 minute Can you have this done by the end of the day?” A scary question for some, especially if it comes from a manager, boss, or client. What they’re looking for is a commitment… which is usually the reason that it’s scary. When someone asks you to commit to something, there are three useful responses. The first two are obvious: “yes” or ”no.” Yes” is easy. If you do believe you can have it done by the end of the day, “yes” is easy because it’s honest and it’s probably...
28 days ago • 1 min read

Creating a Success Metrics Tracking Practice

A big thank you to my sponsor who keeps this newsletter free for readers: Omlet provides component analytics for front-end devs: scan codebase, measure adoption, optimize with confidence. Get started for free with a 30-day trial, no credit card required. Reading time: around 2 minutes As the common saying goes from business management consultant Peter Drucker, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” So, many teams put high priority on setting up ways that they can measure the impact...
about 1 month ago • 3 min read

Designing Everything

Reading time: around 3 minutes The second worst trick designers ever pulled was convincing the world that design is primarily about colors and fonts. The worst trick designers ever pulled was believing that ourselves. Designers have one of the biggest unfair advantages for success in the world: we’re skilled, trained, and practiced and prioritizing and making decisions. Think about the act of creating a color palette. In the RGB spectrum, there are 16,777,216 different colors available. Most...
about 1 month ago • 3 min read

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Reading time: around 1 minute I’ve never really been good at celebrating my accomplishments, but that’s something I’ve been working on changing over the last few years. One of the things I’m learning in a course I’m currently enrolled in—Shawn Blanc’s “Focus Like a Boss” program—is about the 5 areas of life where we need margin: Time Health Emotions Finances Creativity Generally, margin in one of these areas often leads to margin in another. So, in looking for ways to celebrate, I figured I...
about 2 months ago • 1 min read

Stretch and Warm Up

Reading time: around 1 minute As an adult who still attempts to play sports, allow me to extol the virtues of stretching and warming up before you play. I wouldn’t dare step on a basketball court without foam-rolling my calves, alternating between various yoga stances, and form shooting around before playing in a competitive game. Yes, I am that guy on the sidelines. If I don’t do these things, I’m all but guaranteed to hurt myself. When I observe a designer go directly from a meeting to...
about 2 months ago • 1 min read

Answers to Common Design Questions

Reading time: around 2 minutes I get a good deal of messages from people asking me questions about design. I try to answer as many as I can, but I’m unable to get to all of them. So, here’s a roundup of my answers to some of the most common questions I receive. What typeface should I use? Neue Haas, GT America, or Pangram Sans. Gothics, grotesks, and geometric sans are so are in right now. Should I use a grid? Yep. 12 columns. How much should I charge for my work? Start at $25/hour. Once you...
2 months ago • 2 min read

How Much of a Rascal Are You?

Reading time: around 2 minutes A specific theme has been surfacing lately across many of my students and mentees. All of them have great ideas to improve their work situations that help their coworkers and colleagues. These ideas usually get shot down by a boss, manager, or client. My students ask me what they can do about this. To which I reply, “How much of a rascal are you?” For many, it’s important to know that they’re doing a good job at work. Doing a good job often means following a...
2 months ago • 2 min read

How to Calculate Opportunity Profit

Reading time: around 6 minutes Opportunities are relative. Wanna go to a major league baseball game tomorrow?” You probably evaluate that offer against the factors in your life. If you hate baseball, you’ll probably refuse. If you love baseball, you’ll probably accept. If you love baseball but you’ve already scheduled a date with your partner, you might regretfully refuse. If you hate baseball but you haven’t hung out your friend in a while and want to, you might reluctantly accept. The...
3 months ago • 6 min read
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