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Meet Danny Adelman of Litening in Scottsdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danny Adelman.

Danny, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. I started learning Graphic Design and Adobe Photoshop back in High School. There wasn’t much in the way of online education back then (2002), so I pieced together what few tutorials I could find online at the time, as well as take a few classes that were offered at my school. I also started taking an interest in writing, photography, IT and networking; unbeknownst to me at the time, but all of these art and tech passions that were building up during these formative years would end up pointing me toward my current career path.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do after High School. My family didn’t have the finances to send me to a University or any art school without amassing tons of debt. It just didn’t make sense to me — to put yourself in a position where you owe half of a house ($80k – 100k in debt) just for a piece of paper and some beginner skills in order to get a job. So, I couldn’t pull the trigger on any art schools I wanted to go to. But, because I graduated with a 3.8 GPA, I got a random letter in the mail and was offered a full-tuition covered scholarship to Pima Community College. It’s no CalArts, but it was free, and a place to start. I dove deeper down the rabbit hole of design and absorbed as much as I could. I was fortunate enough to have a really good core instructor who worked on a lot of advertising art in Tucson for famous businesses in the city back in the day.

After I got my Associate’s degree, I was approached by my employer at the time, KOLD-TV to work full-time and skip the process of getting my Bachelor’s degree. I decided to get a head start on my career. I then branched off into learning the broadcast and journalism industry, learning Adobe After Effects and motion graphics. After my first year or so being full-time, the entire marketing department, myself included, won numerous awards for various creative promo campaigns. And, at the young age of 22, I won a Rocky Mountain Emmy Award for a music-based, 15-second motion graphic TV spot.

After the recession hit, a lot of things had changed. I began to take an interest in entrepreneurship at this time and how I could apply what I know from my career towards a business. I couldn’t really connect the dots, though. A couple of years later, I took a job at another TV station, KVOA-TV, as the Design Director and made it my mission to completely overhaul the entire station’s graphics and visual identity. While I wasn’t there for very long, I did accomplish re-branding the station’s news opens and it felt so rewarding to be in charge of such an important project and to represent Tucson pride in my own way.

Then, I was approached by Epic Productions, a small video production company where I’m currently working. I ended up moving with them years ago and I’ve been here in Scottsdale ever since. At Epic, I’ve been able to expand my portfolio of work in graphic design, web design, motion graphics, in various industries. More importantly, I took a renewed interest in web design again, something I hadn’t touched since my early college years.

After a few years of working with a variety of clients, I saw a pattern. The entrepreneur bug bit me harder this time. There are many businesses and marketing departments out there that need help with their visuals, primarily in regards to branding, brand strategy, visual identity, website design, and UI/UX. I decided to take some business education courses online and developed a plan for what I want to do next.

In 2019, I officially launched my own small business: Litening — a fully virtual branding and design agency. Structured to operate anywhere in the world by being remote or virtual, Litening helps businesses, entrepreneurs, and marketing departments by saving time on the branding and design process by doing deep discovery and consulting before any work is tasked. Our wide network of designers and engagement in the design community enables us to reach out to the talent that best fits a client’s project, the client’s industry, as well as scale easily with a project’s budget.

While I don’t have plans of growing too large, my goal is to set up processes and systems within the business so that I can eventually spend less time at the helm. I wanted Litening to be a business that is somewhat symbolic of its namesake — being fluid and nimble. I don’t believe the future of many office jobs requires actual office space for people to gather in and to all be available from 9-5, M-F. Working remotely also gives the people you hire great flexibility and balance to their lives, and I really wanted to empower that model.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There were many obstacles — a lot being financial, for getting to where I’m at today. It took a lot of saving and sacrifice in my twenties to be able to have the freedom to approach what I really want in life today.

I spent a lot of those same years going through personal development as well — regaining a lot of confidence that I lacked and needed in order to push farther in life.

One of the biggest hurdles was leaving my first full-time job to a bigger and better position. I remember the feeling of my rock-solid job security going out the window and how it scared the hell out of me being the new guy and proving myself all over again. I later realized job security anywhere is just an illusion and was just another reason to pursue entrepreneurship. I also was met with some hostility in the new workplace, at first, due to office politics. I was far outside my comfort zone, not just at work but with learning new skills outside of work at the same time. But, one of my greatest innate qualities is perseverance, and I did persevere through that rough growing patch, luckily it was short-lived!

After that period of time was over and things improved, I grew tremendously stronger, more resilient, and more confident. I learned then what many people talk about now, that growth only happens outside your comfort zone, oftentimes far outside that zone. In my opinion, after that life experience, it’s growth that everyone needs to feel their happiest and be fulfilled.

Developing discipline to push myself outside my zone again regularly is a tough challenge right now. However, the biggest challenge is finding and prioritizing time for anything that will improve my life. Sacrificing personal relaxation time for personal productivity is now becoming more and more frequent.

Litening – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Litening is an entirely virtual branding and design agency. We live and operate in the cloud — which is parallel to the real-life phenomena of lightning — utilizing the internet and technology to its full potential. Our tools and processes live in the cloud also and this enables us to hire some of the best talent for a project, without limitations to location, anywhere in the world.

We help businesses, entrepreneurs, and marketing departments by saving them time and adding creative power when needed in crunch periods. We consult on what is best for them and their audience and discover and deliver on the platforms that are best for advertising their brand.

Our discovery process is at the heart of what helps cut through the red tape and the bottle-necked processes of yesterday. We create not what our clients want, but what they truly need, what their targeted audience will respond to with only a handful of guided back-and-forth feedback sessions.

Overall, we exist to electrify our clients’ visual communication needs and assist in their marketing efforts to help their businesses gain awareness and ultimately grow.

We specialize in branding, design, and motion graphics. I’m most proud of establishing the business with progressive ideas, like being completely virtual, and I’d say that separates us quite a bit from others who are still brick and mortar.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success for me equates to two things: having the financial freedom to basically help you do whatever it is you’re passionate about and accomplishing something truly meaningful to you in your life, no matter how small. Whenever I put in extra time and effort for something I care deeply about or am invested in, I never regret it and always feel successful.

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