“Why is your logo a Dinosaur?”
I am often asked this question. The answer is simple, and conveys the foundation of the Daniel Ackerman Design brand.
I loved dinosaurs as a child and, when I was three years old, I crafted a tiny Brontosaurus out of my lunch sandwich tinfoil. My parents saw it as the first sign of creativity and have been encouraging me ever since. They currently keep the little sculpture in our safety deposit box.
Growing up I was drawing, painting, sculpting, or building with Legos. You could always count on my being the kid with a box of crayons in the restaurant or leading elementary school friends in drawing imaginary games. While I had no idea what “graphic design” was, you could say that my initial introduction to the field came in third grade. Our teacher chose my illustration to be the cover of the program for our 3rd annual school play, which happened to be a circus show. Seeing this illustration printed on all of the program covers was incredibly exciting and rewarding for my 8-year old self. I just loved seeing all of the students, parents, and faculty holding a copy of my artwork, although I wish I knew what “cmyk” and “bleeds” were back than.
Year later, my parents had me meet with their financial investor in an attempt to instill the values of saving and financial planning in their 16-year old son. Out of curiosity, the advisor asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. When I said, “an artist” he dryly replied, “Oh, I see. So you want to be poor!” Somewhat discouraging (and a bit humorous), nothing stopped me from continuing to develop my artistic skills.
After graduating high school, I decided to defer college for a year to study in Jerusalem, Israel at Yeshivat Orayta. It was the best decision of my young adult life. It instilled me with a solid foundation of who I am. I believe that in order to know where you want to go in life, you need to know where you came from. During this time I developed a profound appreciation and confidence in my artistic abilities, which evolved into a desire to integrate conceptual fine art with creative graphic style and structure. Honing this ability has allowed me to make a greater impact on the individuals and communities around me.
Upon returning from abroad, I received my BFA in Graphic Design from Florida State University. During my time as a student I worked as the Editorial Cartoonist for the FSVIEW and Florida Flambeau as well as a designer for the FSU Oglesby Union Marketing and Communications office with the rest of my time dedicated to Jewish student life on campus. After graduation I spent my summer as an advertising/design intern at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the rest of the following year building up the collegiate initiative I co-founded, Future Leaders for Israel (FLI) in South Florida. Following this program the next step of my career brought me to Northern Virginia where I worked as a Visual Designer for Sagetopia, a Leesburg-based graphic design firm.
Currently I am the Creative Services Manager for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington D.C., where I am thrilled to be combining my creative skills with my passion for the international arena.
When I am not at work, you can catch me at the gym with a sketchpad (as you never know when inspiration may strike!), watching Florida State Football, creating personal projects, or eating cholent at Chabad.