July 14, 2023

This Designer Is The Latest To Get Transparent About His Salary And Income History

Dan Mall Designer

In the tech industry, discussions about money are often shrouded in secrecy, but one designer is challenging this norm by leading by example. 

In a recent blog post, designer Dan Mall shared the details and context around how much money he’s made over the last 19 years of his career, drawing praise from industry peers.

Making money conversations more transparent

Dan Mall is a creative director, designer, founder, and entrepreneur from Philly. As the son of a chief financial officer and the brother of a financial advisor, he grew up with money being an open topic, and he believes that discussing it openly is a crucial step toward creating a more equitable industry. 

Inspired by Brooklyn-based designer Matthew Smith, who openly shares his salary history and contextual information, Mall followed suit. 

By disclosing his earnings at different stages of his career and providing insight into the factors influencing those figures, he hopes to foster more transparent conversations about money.

The Importance Of Context

Mall’s salary history includes an unpaid internship, a $400 per week internship at a digital media program, and a $90,000 salary as design director at Big Spaceship. However, context is key.

“Money is such a relative and contextual thing,” Mall wrote on Twitter. “The lack of context makes talking about and understanding money difficult.”

By contrast, Mall said that including context makes talking about and understanding money much more accessible.

For example, Mall explained that he spent eight years working for other people and the next ten working for himself, running a design system consultancy firm, Superfriendly. 

He is now creating “Design System University,” where he sells design system courses and monthly community membership.

Still, Mall noted many contexts missing, such as how much or little he was working and how this relates closely to how much money he made and how he felt during each earning period.

“Making $10K while staying up late is so different than making $10K while you sleep,” he explained.

“Numbers don’t lie, but they don’t always tell the whole story.”

Salary Transparency

In today’s modern workforce, salary transparency has become an increasingly important topic as employees want to know how much they will be paid, how their compensation compares to others in similar roles, and if there are any disparities in pay based on gender or ethnicity.

Empower found that 68% of Americans avoid uncomfortable money talk at work, even though 56% wish discussing salaries wasn’t taboo. Most people (60%) believe that open conversations about salary and income would help avoid miscommunications, and 50% said it would motivate them to work harder.

They also found that 34% of Americans, which included over half of Gen Z, would share their salary information on their LinkedIn.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.