Dan Poynor

Designer / Developer / Director

Current Status: Available for hire! |

(512) 694-2668

Educated at CalArts in Visual Communications then U.C. Berkeley for Webmaster, Linux Server Administration, and Marketing degrees has given me a broad formal education. Combining that with years of hands-on experience, I’m able to step into multiple roles from concept development, to designing branding elements and page layouts, to running A/B tests and user testing, to final implementation. Working within multi-disciplinary teams I’m also able to communicate effectively with stakeholders using germane nomenclature to collaborate on design, development, and marketing efforts.

Portfolio / Roles

Roles Overview

  • 3D Designer (18)

    These are a few projects that I either created a 3D model for or used an illustrated 3D-ish style for. Depending on the project I might use 3ds Max, SketchUp, or Photoshop and Illustrator 3D features to compose and render. In the past I’ve also used other software such as Maya, Blender, Bryce, Poser, Strata 3D, Swift 3D, and more. Ultimately I prefer to work with dedicated 3D artists when possible though.

  • Art Director (281)

    As Art Director, I ensure consistency and quality standards are met when working with established brands and creative objectives. Along with other team members, I help brainstorm how we can achieve design goals while fine tuning messaging and visual direction stylistically. In general I’d say I use a filtering process by exploring creative approaches, gathering input and ideas, trying a few directions, and presenting multiple rounds of mockups and prototypes till a unanimously agreed upon solution is reached. In this role I work with other designers, developers, illustrators, photographers, copywriters, printers, vendors, clients, managers, and whoever is ultimately providing the final sign-off approval.

  • Brand Developer (100)

    Brand development includes brand strategy (or positioning) for new start-ups and re-branding for established businesses. As part of developing the strategy I work with clients to learn about customer segments to target, craft personas to base customer experience models and storyboards on, define/refine unique offer messaging for customers, identify competitors and graph competitive landscapes to see how we can differentiate, plus look for both inbound and outbound marketing opportunities to communicate the brands message in every more effective ways. Brand development can include creating the logo design for a company but generally includes everything that surrounds the logo as well such as the look and feel, color palette, font choices, language and naming conventions, interaction, plus other brand imagery such as photo style. Even the way a company answers the phone can be considered part of their brand.

  • Brand Extension Designer (76)

    As companies merge or move into new markets new marketing materials need to be crafted that customers can relate to as being familiar but also new or better somehow. These are projects that I’ve played a role in during those transition times. It could involve co-branding materials while preserving both companies brand integrity or creating a new product line that’s under that same parent company umbrella. Working with stakeholders business goals need to be defined and clearly communicated upfront such as if the extension is for a complementary product or a new product line extension (such as creating a “pro” line), if it’s for a new parent/core company relationship or an affiliate licensing relationship, or if it’s actually a new separate independent brand spin-off to help prevent diluting the current brands equity.

  • Brochure Designer (4)

    Before learning interaction design I was originally a print designer, so I have a fondness for interesting well designed printed brochure work. After most print projects are finished though it’s rare that I get a copy of the final piece besides the test prints or dummy versions. Presented here are a few examples of brochures and pamphlets that I’ve worked on. Creating a brochure containing pertinent information in a clear easy to read format that people can understand is a primary goal. Additionally creating something compelling that people will want to pick up and carry around with them needs to be considered. For these reasons, content organization and presentation are integral components that I focus on while working on the layout and style of a brochure.

  • Content Designer (34)

    Content strategy, presentation, organization, writing, and maintenance all start with the user in mind. Understanding user needs in order to effectively communicate the benefits of a product or service for their specific need creates authenticity and trust in the companies brand. Good content is more that just writing lots of copy or marketing fluff though. Also, how the content is delivered and presented has to consider the target audience in order to figure out the best vehicle to use to reach them, same as the writing. The famous quote “The medium is the message” points to the need to understand the communication vehicle to be used and to design content for that context specifically. Since final content is not always available at the beginning of a project, it often changes or evolves over time as a project progresses. For example, once while working on a web site design I received two pages of text from a copywriter to use in explaining to new members how to use an online video chat product. After integrating the content I suggested we also create a brief Quick Start guide for the front page that offered a short simple 1, 2, 3 step explanation so new members could quickly and easily use the product without being too intimidated by having to read two pages of text. Streamlining the customer onboarding process helps users to become more familiar and intimate with a product quicker and businesses experience less abandonment issues. Tasks in this role might overlap with a Content Strategy role or Content Development role as well.

  • Copywriter (9)

    In general I prefer to work with a copywriter or product manager and receive near finished content (or as close as possible) in MS Word or just plain text to work with. When needed though, I can step into the role and craft initial text for review and to edit as needed which helps kick-start a project by having something to start molding. When possible I base headlines, supporting text, or long-form text on previously existing examples, competitive analysis, industry research, customer research, marketing aggressiveness, or a TL;DR summary to format into a rough outline then embellish with details, brand messaging, SEO keywords, and persuasive marketing tactics to form potential copy for final use. Overall I do try to limit the “fluff” to create a better customer experience when possible. If nothing else though, I tend to just use “Lorem Ipsum” as placeholder text, especially for long-form writing while starting work on general concepts, visual design options, and layout directions.

  • Creative Director (364)

    As Creative Director, I help generate ideas and come up with design strategies and concepts before deciding which we should move forward with based on project requirements and client input, business objectives, and research. Creative direction drives the overall messaging and visual style on projects while keeping the big picture objectives in focus. In this role I usually work directly with business owners, marketing managers, and data analysts to identify opportunities and define success then help ensure all creative efforts impact business in a positive goal-oriented way. Related responsibilities I sometimes take on to support the creative direction are competitive analysis, customer and design research, product design, concept development, design strategy, storyboarding, content design, and style guide development.

  • Design Strategist (53)

    General design strategy process I use: After gathering info identifying potential audiences and users from managers and other stakeholders I typically do some design research to understand what those audiences needs, concerns, desires, motivations, contexts are and what they expect from the product being presented which helps to inspire a deeper understanding and empathize with the potential users. Along with doing a competitive analysis, these findings drive development of guidelines for creating functionality, look and feel, messaging such as headline and supporting text, and imagery which target audiences will perceive as being of higher quality above competing product experiences and more authentic/appropriate to their specific needs. The findings help focus idea generation sessions with collaborators and can sometimes effect the overall business model itself or communicate product and brand management needs. After presenting concepts, gathering feedback, and narrowing down solutions to move forward with, sometimes I’ll assemble a matrix which provides a framework identifying what resources are needed and informs other team members what to expect as development begins. A test matrix can also serve to inform folks not intimate with a project what we tested and how results were measured.

  • Flash Animator (45)

    In the late 1990s I used Macromedia Director and it’s scripting language Lingo to create interactive desktop applications and presentations. The Flash format and ActionScript language eventually became the successor to Director and at one point the Shockwave Flash plugin came preinstalled in web browsers on most operating systems. The bulk of my Flash animation work was for banner ads and a couple presentations. Past couple of years I’ve taken a hiatus from working with Flash as it’s popularity declined. The new version though, called Adobe Animate, looks to be a powerful authoring tool.

  • Font Designer (5)

    Occasionally I get an idea for a new typeface and create a font. Final format could either be raster, vector, or Type 1, TrueType files. There are several amazing typeface designers around the world that I follow and envy which my work doesn’t really compare with on a professional basis. I’d say my typeface designs possess a quaint charming awkwardness or use an amateur vernacular since I don’t spend near as much on them as a professional would. Nevertheless they can have their use, such as in a punk rock poster design, as a headline display font, or towards creating a wordmark logo. There are a few typefaces that I’ve chosen not to show here since they're less complete or evolved than these examples.. If really interested in seeing the others that I’ve started though let me know.

  • Front-end Developer (327)

    Working as a Front-end Developer I use a combination of coding languages to create web pages, perform website maintenance, and integrate enhancements. My goals are to create code that can be used consistently across all browsers and devices that is easy to maintain and preserves branding standards throughout a products interface. Primary front-end coding proficiency includes HTML, CSS, Javascript, and PHP using HAML, SASS, and jQuery. Currently I’m using CodeKit as my pre-processor on OS X along with MAMP Pro, Git Tower, Sequel Pro, Cyberduck, and BBEdit text editor plus various utilities such as browser developer tools, ImageOptim, and xScope to create pixel perfect layouts. This site takes advantage of CSS features such as Flexbox, Grid, @supports, custom properties, and clip-path and transforms plus some Javascript ES6 features to enhance the user experience in modern browsers while also including fallbacks for older browsers. I’ve yet to dive into using Grunt, Gulp to try and streamline workflow compared to CodeKit, or haven’t tried more advanced Javascript techniques such as for SVG animations, but always curious and investigating new technologies on-going.

  • Gif Animator (64)

    Most of these are simple button animations with a couple of exceptions. The goal with using animation in marketing design is usually to grab attention before presenting an offer. With that in mind sometimes the offer is the animation or at least close within the layout.

  • Illustrator (68)

    Whenever needed, I can usually mimic and illustration style based on samples or come up with something new and unique. I work with both Photoshop and Illustrator to create raster and vector art for print, web, or video formats plus occasionally go offline using analog tools to get the feel I’m looking for.

  • Information Architect (54)

    In short, Information Architecture helps users understand a presented context/organization and help them find what they’re looking for. By rearranging paragraphs on a page or separating content into pages we are architecting information. There are often primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of content organized into levels and groups based on an assessment of defined targeted users cognitive load, decision-making process, mental models, or a common vernacular language structure. The structure of the information can be more important than the message itself. For example, this portfolio site aims to answer most common questions I receive about the work I do by organizing the information into several categories based on my design roles, client names, industry types, and media types used as well as a simple list of design projects I’ve worked on. Being able to present information clearly is key to all projects I work on. A couple related quotes I like to keep in mind while performing work in this role are “Form follows function” and “Clarity trumps persuasion”.

  • Logo Designer (38)

    Before designing a logo I always gather as much information upfront as possible and do a little research. Primary information would be about who or what the logo is meant to represent, what they do, what their values or benefits are, plus, who the audience is and what they’re looking for in a business or service which the logo is representing. By learning about the audience a logo will be able to connect and engage them better. Additionally it’s helpful to know who the competitors are to be aware of their tactics and ensure we’re differentiating from them, plus any ideas or logos that people like which might provide some creative guidance. Final logos could be a a custom wordmark (or logotype), monogram, logo mark (or abstract symbol) accompanied by the name. All this information effects the cost and whether a short-term quickie logo is needed or if a larger branding project is needed which could include creation of mood boards and doing focus group reviews. General goals I usually include are making sure it still reads at small sizes, it should work in black and white, it should not be too trendy or cliché, and that it should be unique without looking to foreign. The logos presented here are designed either as a single representational branding element or as part of larger projects that include other branding elements.

  • Packaging Designer (42)

    My experience working on retail consumer packaging ranges from games, to CDs, to technology products, and health products. Creating a unique custom packaging design helps products stand-out on store shelves and appeal to your customers. To ensure success it’s not unusual that I go “undercover” and take photos in stores of similar products and create mockups showing the new packaging design simulated on the store shelves to get a feel of how a new design will fit in before actually producing the final packaging. Additionally creating 3D models of the packaging helps store owners, printers, and production houses understand the size and shape that a package intends to use and provide comments towards improving the designs effectiveness. Functioning as an Art Director on lifestyle photoshoots with products increases success of getting just the right photo to use on the outside packaging and on any inside product instructions and marketing campaigns. When needed I can perform as an in-studio product photographer as well. Once a design direction is established, additional products can leverage the packaging design style for additional products to streamline workflow and create a consistent look.

  • Photographer (10)

    I maintain a home studio equipped for in-studio product and stock photography. Products are typically small to medium sized – such as a hand-held breathalyzer or motorcycle helmet – but occasionally larger or super small. For lifestyle photography I prefer to hire and work with professionals who are more comfortable adapting to various lighting needs and situations as I focus on organizing what’s needed and art direct shoots with some objective distance.

  • Responsive Web Designer (19)

    As web sites are accessed from a variety of mobile devices more and more these days, responsive web site design has become a must-have feature. After having worked on a few responsive sites my approach has evolved to initially creating page designs with flexibility in mind from the start. Responsive page layouts usually consist of at least five layout breakpoints based on the most common mobile and desktop browsers and screen widths. Typically these size are for iPhone portrait and landscape modes, iPad portrait and landscape models, plus a desktop layout and perhaps a couple others where content dictates. When resizing a browser window sometimes widow words or odd content alignments can occur which requires some finesse. For example columns of text, a bar chart, or a slideshow might need to be redesigned to work in a vertical layout besides the traditional default horizontal layout. By using best practices when coding CSS for web pages I’m able to bullet-proof layouts while consistently maintaining design integrity on any device.

  • Typographic Designer (22)

    Included in this category are a few work samples created either for a client or as a personal experiment in typography design. Typographic design involves the arrangement of letterforms to create more engaging experiences beyond literary communication. Letters can align or merge to form new shapes that emphasize or add meaning to individual words, phrases, or prose. Expressive and stylistic letterforms can provoke an emotive feeling or convey a specific objective meaning either on their own or in combination with other design elements such as the dot, the line, and the pattern. The way letterforms interact between themselves, the viewer, and their environment creates a typographic style that can be used effectively for branding, editorial illustrations, and art. Simple put, typography can say more than words.

  • UI Designer (48)

    As a User Interface Designer I create the look and feel for products and marketing campaigns. When designing the way a product is presented and how users interact with it, I always strive to preserve brand integrity and quality standards. Tasks I tend to perform as an Interface Design include:

    • Creating high-fidelity mockups
    • Integrating branding
    • Crafting interactivity
    • Designing graphic imagery
    • Presenting design variations
    • HTML, CSS, Javascript programming
    • Designing responsive screen layouts
    • Defining/designing animations
    • Developing prototypes
    • Incorporating final assets, or
    • Documenting final design specifications
    • Optimizing code
    • Quality assurance testing
  • UX/CX Designer (165)

    As a User Experience Designer (a.k.a. Customer Experience Designer) I work towards creating satisfying experiences for users and marketing effectiveness for businesses. By understanding both business goals and user needs I’m able to find ways to bring the two together in various ways, then figure out what’s working best. Sometimes also referred to as a UXD or UED role, the tasks I perform might include (but not always):

    • Establishing strategic goals
    • Creating content maps
    • Analyzing competitors
    • Creating user personas
    • Producing storyboards
    • Information architecture
    • Taxonomy development
    • Wire-framing subject areas and pages
    • Laying out low-fidelity mockups
    • Presenting design concepts
    • Doing user research
    • Developing prototypes
    • Coordinating with developers
    • Conducting A/B tests
    • Tracking goals and successes
    • Communicating results
    • Monitoring and maintenance
  • Video Editor (8)

    When needed I can do basic video editing such as assembling raw camera footage, sound, and graphics into a video for a website or for marketing channels such as YouTube. I use Adobe Prelude to organize video clips and Adobe Premier to assemble rough cuts before rendering the final version. For longer, more involved, video projects I work with professional editors to create just the right look and style.

  • Visual Designer (545)

    In this category I’ve lumped together work I've done on a variety of platforms under various titles I've had such as Graphic Artist, Graphic Designer, Lead Designer, Senior Designer, just Designer, and Visual Designer. As a hands-on designer I work on creating creative assets by designing overall page layouts, making color and font decisions, either sourcing stock photos or taking photos myself, sourcing stock illustrations or creating illustrations myself, and finalizing any other graphic related needs. Typically I use Adobe Creative Suite software including Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator and I've completed hundreds of projects in print, interactive, and online mediums. To ensure design goals are met, work usually involves reviewing creative briefs and sitting in on client meetings before submitting multiple versions for review stakeholders and other collaborators towards obtaining final sign-off approvals.

  • Web Designer (304)

    As a web designer my goals are to provide expert creative advice on the look, feel, and functionality of your web design project. I produce compelling and persuasive artwork including layouts, images, icons, and illustrations that are user-friendly while keeping business goals and any corporate design guidelines in mind. By posting mockups online for review I’m able to gather feedback from internal stakeholders and external clients to discuss options, directions, answer questions, and gather feedback on before coding prototypes. After visual design direction is approved I begin coding using languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, and PHP using modern standards and best practices. As prototypes are reviewed and bullet-proofed for multiple browsers including mobile, I work on integrating final templates with back-end developers, CMS systems, hosting providers and analytics tracking services.