The Art of Storytelling With John Lasurdo of Dead On Design


“The secret to getting ahead is getting started,” Mark Twain famously said.

John Lasurdo, the founding president and CEO of 10-year old marketing and ad agency Dead On Design, doesn’t mince words when asked why he quoted the famous author on his firm’s website. 

“The hardest part is always getting started, especially when you have a blank slate,” he says.

The Southampton-based company handles everything from graphic design to social media, anything creative with graphics. 

“For me personally, growing up I loved art,” he says. “I took a lot of art classes in school, and I also had an interest in computers, computer games and all things digital. Digital design and new media was the perfect intersection, so that was my major in college.”

Lasurdo is a self starter who founded the company in 2010 after spending a few years working in real estate marketing in the Hamptons. 

“At that time realtors were beginning to drastically change how they marketed themselves and their properties,” he says. “They began hiring professionals to take photos. Before that they would just take their own. I worked with a well-known broker out here and I would tell him, ‘You’re selling a $20 million house, the buyer should get a beautiful glossy book.’ We do high end brochures and books for hundreds of listings now. At that time the (real estate) companies weren’t offering that to the brokers yet, we broke the mold for the industry.” 

Lasurdo works with a team of three other full time staff, and employs numerous subcontractors from the creative field, among them are graphic designers, content specialists, digital editors, copywriters and more.

“I specialize in luxury marketing,” noted Lasurdo, 42, who grew up in Wading River and lives locally. His company’s clientele also include landscapers, builders, architects, interior designers and all sorts of small business owners who don’t have their own in-house marketing departments.

Since starting Dead On Design, Lasurdo said he’s filled a niche in the Hamptons community. 

“There was a need for clean and crisp, concierge-style graphic design services with a focus on real estate,” he says. “I currently fulfill this need by providing tailored services which include not only the items my clients  require, but also new ideas based on industry trends along with sage advice in a comforting environment. I provide responsive designs by creating products that both suit the industry and align seamlessly with the visions that my clients bring to the table. Good design is a two-way road and my clients are continually happy with the services, products and relationships I am able to offer them.”

A designer needs to be good at communication and listening, key skills and an enjoyable part of his work in being able to convey his clients ideas. 

“That part of the job is definitely enjoyable,” Lasurdo says, describing some of the key skills he brings to his projects.

It’s common for business owners or professional individuals to have their own vision of what their product or service looks like though they may not know how to execute the ideas creatively. This is where experience is key, he explained.

“It’s interesting to hear what peoples’ issues are and help them solve them,” he says. “Even if (clients) come to me for a website sometimes they don’t know what their brand looks like, what colors to use, and what typefaces they want.”

Lasurdo and his team of creatives can “design pretty much anything” from logos on shirts and truck wraps, to an entire race car he did for one of his clients.

Another important quality in a good marketing and advertising professional is being able to tell stories.  

“Creating something out of nothing  and anything creative is always difficult because there’s no perfect answer which is why key skills include being curious and able to tell stories,” he says. 

These are important qualities and Lasurdo takes pride in offering these among those that work for his company. Telling stories, he noted, is exciting and the challenge is in being able to bring out his client’s ideas visually. 

“It’s always rewarding to see the work being used” by the client because graphic arts is not a fine art, he says. “You can paint a pretty picture and you either like it or you don’t. What I do has to accomplish a mission.”

Lasurdo earned his B.A. degree in new media from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Among a host of services Dead On handles web design, booklet and brochure design and production, logistics management, house showings and client relations, offering luxury marketing expertise to every client including real estate companies.

Dead On Design is located at 205 Windmill Lane, Suite 3 in Southampton. For information, call 631-887-6000 or visit

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