Conversation Starters | Dave Salanitro

Conversation Starters

Is that Tartar Sauce on Your Chin? Please, Tell Me More.

Dave Salanitro is a 33-year accomplished conversationalist in the creative dialects of brand, design, writing, and strategy, His discourse spans architecture, the fine arts, corporate communications, and publishing.

As founder and the creative force behind the prolific Oh Boy agency, his clients spanned from the Fortune-ranked to the entrepreneurial. He conceived of and brought to market Oh Boy Artifacts—a brand of upmarket paper products and housewares that premiered to raves from his peers and the public.

Reviews for Salanitro’s extended portfolio are no less favorable. His work has been called “as intelligent as it is elegant” and “at once sophisticated though without pretense, informative and accessible, and witty if not laugh-out-loud funny,” Most notably, “given the chance to engage in conversation with [Salanitro, one should] immediately avail themselves of the opportunity.’

He has lectured at University of San Francisco and University of California Berkeley, among other notable academic venues and trade events. Salanitro holds 245 commendations for design excellence, among them, a National Silver ADDY. He is well represented alongside his peers in the permanent collection of the Denver Art Museum.


I am a writer, a conversationalist, and a storyteller. I am a designer of artifacts, structures, and strategies. I can take a picture or draw one. I can build a brand and, with some help, a site or App.
I once built a house. The knowledge I possess is the result of curiosity, resourcefulness, intuition,
and a nagging dissatisfaction with the status quo. This is how I shape my contributions; this is how
I measure success; this how I stay tuned to shifts in our culture, the restless shiver that precedes
an awakening.

I work with companies in over-crowded marketplaces where there proliferates meaningless catchphrases, artificial promises, and ubiquitous service offerings.

In my own industry, ideas are too often subordinate to arbitrary aesthetics. Media, print or digital, is selected by default. I have worked in many medias1, some just because and some because they were just and right and served the purpose. The best of what we do grows from the bottom up; it happens organically. Acknowledge the goal; considered strategies determine form. Articulate truth. It so happens that truth is interesting.



  1. Acknowledge that commerce exists as a guest of culture, and culture—who we are, what we do, and why we care, collectively and individually—affects every aspect of commerce. Culture begs for ideas, new and renewed, to pique its interest, capture its imagination, move it forward, and encourage reinvention.
  2. We each and all are perfect and fallible. embrace the paradox.
  3. Be fearless. Fail-safe creative doesn’t exist. if it did, it would fail utterly.
  4. Embrace the banal; nothing is banal.
  5. Curiosity is the true mother of invention.
  6. Methodologies are to the big idea­­­­ as a bit is to a stallion. Break free of castes; unbridle creativity.
  7. SHOUT.
  8. Bold, bare truths inspire action.
  10. Effective solutions exist somewhere between intellect and intuition.
  11. Allow that sometimes your intuition is one-hundred percent right.

We are likely a good match if you believe, as I do, that creativity and authenticity open minds and start dialogues, and every articulation of your brand is an opportunity to kick up some dust and stir some souls.

1. Comprehensive brand services: audits; internal and customer polling via direct contact and online surveys; (re)positioning and forward-looking strategies; verbal, visual, and tactical guidelines (often combined with visual communications guidelines); and comprehensive brand workshops. Identities: corporate business systems; logo marks, and other proprietary service marks and trademarks; and naming. Corporate letters and spoken word. Corporate literature of all ilk. Events: direct marketing; navigational patterns and directional signage; electronic data exchange (including social media integration); on-site print and e-components; and promotional literature. Digital media (e.g., websites, Apps, and the like); site architecture; content generation; design and development; search engine optimization; pay-per-click; and social media strategies and integration. Packaging. Traditional and e-enabled advertising. Writing and editing. And things we have yet to conceive.


“Dave is a rare breed—talented designer and rapier-smart writer all in one!”

—John Bielenberg, Confrère, Client, and Founder, C2,LLC and Project M

“Dave Salanitro is one of the rare few designers who does not limit his obligations to the surface of the page. He considers problems holistically, and his solutions are inspired. Because he assumes the responsibility to acquire what knowledge is necessary to properly execute a project, the result is never without strong strategic underpinnings. Dave has a fine eye for form and a finely tuned ear for lyrical copy. His visions are rich and detailed. Moreover, he never fails to realize them completely.”

—Maria Pavlick Client, Brand Consultant and former Creative Director, Cadence worldwide

“I have never worked with a creative consultant quicker or more insightful than David Salanitro. He demonstrates a keen understanding of client needs and market realities. David possesses a unique ability to translate intangible assets into concrete, value-added strategies and solutions that are accessible to every audience, and unfailingly benefit brand value.”

—Tracy Iseler, Client, and Partner in the Global CRM Service Line, Accenture worldwide

“Dave’s talents surpass brilliant: as a writer he is ingenious and quick-witted; as a designer he is dexterous and fearless; as a strategist he is intuitive and unfailingly spot-on. As an individual and as a collaborator he is a pleasure.”

—Jean Orlebeke, Confrère, and Owner, Obek Design

“David Salanitro is first and foremost an incredible thinker, a rare breed of creative who comes to the table with big ideas, not just pleasing pictures; and he executes his ideas flawlessly. He’s also charming and, God forbid, friendly—qualities as remarkable as they are rare.”

—Brian Collins, Founder, Principal, and Chief Creative Officer, COLLINS Manhattan

“The work is both lovely and terrifyingly robust. Dave Salanitro is a creative hurricane wrapped in a McSweeney’s cardigan.”

— Cris Logan, Design Director, Venables Bell & Partners

S A L A N I T R O   C O .