Want to know more about some of your favorite makers and creatives?
This week I asked Dani Banani, the wonderful creator of The Hive’s fabulous new logo and the lead designer behind Fun Usual Suspects and Dani Lutz Designs, to join us for a fun little Q&A session. Dani kindly agreed to let us pick her incredibly creative and talented brain for a few minutes and now I’m so excited to share The Hive’s very first Maker Spotlight with you!
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite food?
What is your favorite treat?
Cookie Dough Ice Cream
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
I love watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette! So much drama!
What is your favorite non-shop related hobby?
Baking, cupcakes in particular.
Dog & Cat (You can’t ask me to choose between my babies!)
Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what is it?
I can play 3 different musical instruments.
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?
I would be a bonsai tree, because I’d get to be indoors and people love them and give them lots of attention.
Tell us a random fun fact about yourself!
I once sold 26″ of my hair for $2,000! (…To a guy who was super sketchy!)
Who are you?
My name is Dani, I grew up in the midwest, but escaped in my late teens to Seattle, where over the last decade+ I’ve somehow managed to collect an amazing guy, adorable pets, loyal friends, select family, and cool clients. Being able to create things for a living has been and continues to be my dream, and I feel lucky to be living that dream. I work hard every day to earn it.
For Fun Usual Suspects, I create cute characters, illustrations, and graphics for digital and physical distribution across multiple channels. From digital downloads to cute t-shirts, my entire brand is built around, cute, sarcastic, funny and clever. I also do custom design work for a wide variety of clients in my role as Lead Designer at Dani Lutz Designs.
What is your story?
I’ve always been creative and crafty and after working for many years at various print/design places, I realized I had the skill, insight and ability to communicate effectively to both be able to create my own characters and graphics but also to work on custom designs for others. I have a clear design aesthetic: simple lines, clear messages, elements of surprise, and cute if possible. But above all, it must be effective and get right to the point. I didn’t see enough of that type of design in the world, so with the help of family and friends I was able to create my own.
What or who inspires you?
Hayao Miyazaki, Rebecca Sugar, Justin Hillgrove, & Alex Hirsch
What was your biggest obstacle to success and how did you overcome it?
My own self doubt. I still struggle with it every day, but with the support of friends and family and some years of therapy and introspection I’m working to overcome it everyday and to remind myself that not only is my work good enough, ultimately it’s not the results that matter, it’s the work itself. And once you focus on and love that, the rest of it gets a lot easier.
Time management & having control issues. It’s hard to let go of your ‘baby’! Wasting time on things that others can do or help with and not spending enough time on the things only I can do. I started with lists, lots and lots of lists, to-do lists, idea lists, daily tasks, monthly tasks, a year in advance and what each month should look like. It seemed easier to see it all laid out, and also kept me on track towards my goals. I’ve also learned that there are people in my life that I can trust to help me do the things that I’m either not good at, have no interest in, or simply don’t have time for. And so I’ve been able to let go of some of the things that used to weigh on me. It’s still a work in progress though.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and/or what advice would you give to a maker who is just starting out?
Do something every day. For me it’s specifically something creative every day. It can be a tiny little thing like decorating my to-do list with doodles or it can be creating a new line of products to launch. But every day I do one thing to push me further towards my goal. When I first heard that piece of advice I was instantly overwhelmed, I thought that is impossible! There are days I want to sit on my butt and do nothing! But I turned it into a game and pretty soon I was excited to make time in my day for my businesses, and on those “plop down on the couch and watch Netflix days” I always have a notebook nearby to write down puns and doodle new design ideas. I made this my New Year’s Resolution and it’s made a huge difference in my year already, so I can’t wait to see how far I will have be by the end of the year!
Where can people purchase your items?
Where can we find you social media?
Dani has been kind enough to offer you this Super Special Coupon
Code just for reading her Maker Spotlight! Use TOPSECRET for 15% off any order from Fun Usual Suspects!