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Life & Work with Dani Maslan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dani Maslan. She and her team share their story with us below:

Dani Maslan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, surrounded by her large and diverse family. As a child, when she wasn’t swimming competitively, she was watching her parents build an art collection which included artists like Robert Arneson, Beth Cavener, Eric Fischl, Alice Neel, Hung Liu, Phillip Pearlstein, to name a few.

Fortunately, Maslan’s father saw her budding interest in art at a young age and enrolled her in an oil painting course offered through the Kansas City Art Institute. Thus began her long and varied relationship with the arts. She was soon awarded with impressive honors at 14 years old: she was one of the few artists chosen for Tim Rollins and the KOS workshop and gallery show in Kansas City. Later she was awarded a grant from Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to fund a two-week art workshop for inner-city youth.

Maslan parlayed those successes into art school in New York City. She moved to Brooklyn and graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Communications Design. She worked for Takashi Murakami as a painting assistant and did freelance design work. In 2009 she decided to start her own business, and Foxtail Press was born. For three years, she supported herself in NYC, designing, printing and selling greeting cards, making her art affordable and accessible to all. Then tragedy struck. Her beloved sister, co-conspirator, and best friend died suddenly and the trajectory of her life changed.

Maslan returned to her Midwest family but retained her entrepreneurial passion. She started an eyewear brand named Milton, managed a Shinola pop-up store, and designed for Foot Traffic. She was then recruited by Hallmark as a hybrid product and packaging production designer, bringing her talents full circle and right back into the greeting card world. Maslan recently landed a contract with Neiman Marcus as a media designer and is excited to begin this new venture. Maslan spends her free time with her adorable dog, Emma, and in the pottery studio. She is known for her clean, restrained, and mature aesthetic in everything she touches.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Not smooth at all. The biggest struggle I had by far was in January of 2011 when my sister (and also my best friend) died unexpectedly. I was with her when she died. It was the first time I ever lost anyone I was close to and it turned my world upside down. The previous May, I launched a greeting card business and my sister was my biggest supporter in that endeavor. I had no idea what I was doing and she helped guide me along the way. When she died, it’s as if time froze for me. The rest of the world was moving forward, but I was struggling. I had a very hard time keeping up with the demands of a new business and didn’t feel very creative.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I have experience in several areas, including business, marketing, sales and design- from brand identity, print and digital media, product design, production, packaging, graphic design, animation, photography, styling, logos, websites, e-commerce, trade shows, visual presentation, illustration, painting, ceramics, etc.

I’d say I specialize in and am most known for my personal aesthetics. I’m most proud of having started my own business, Foxtail Press. I took a chance on something I knew nothing about and threw myself in the deep end. I learned as I went and had a pretty good run! I’m also proud of all the skills I’ve taught myself since graduating from art school. I’m not afraid to fail and continue to surprise myself when I succeed at doing something I never thought I could do.

What sets me apart from others, perhaps, is that I’m somewhat unconventional in my approach. As an illustration major, I wasn’t all that prepared to enter the workforce after graduating from art school. Most of what I know now, I’ve taught myself. This gives me an edge when communicating with clients and business partners that aren’t familiar with art/design industry language and terminology. I also really believe some of the best, most creative and unique solutions come from unexpected people and places.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
Less Trends. More utilitarian approach to fashion and lifestyle. Increase in digital billboards. More designers working independently, freelancing and remote. With an increase in sleek-looking design templates with customization features and a user-friendly experience, designers will be less in demand. Same with photographers (due to the quality of iPhone pictures, filters and editing apps, not to mention stock photography. 3-D printing, VR and AR will grow, and designers will need to adapt and learn new skills to stay relevant. Creative Directors and stylists will work in more of a consultant-type capacity but will continue to stay relevant. People will have more options than ever at their fingertips, but without an eye for design and aesthetics, they will have a hard time making decisions.

Contact Info:

  • Email: dani@danimaslan.com
  • Website: danimaslan.com
  • Instagram: danimaslan
  • Facebook: Dani Maslan


Image Credits
The Milton ad with the model and my dog Lucy. That photo was shot by Jenny Wheat, but was art directed by myself.

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