The Battle Within | David Whetstone

David has been a product designer I’ve always admired. His process (that he shares on the regular on his IG account) is very simple yet emotional with an expert level of precision. What I find most unique about David is that he works for a Product Design Firm. I’ve always felt that working for a firm was an incredibly brave move because it was an area that was so unknown to me.

It may have been where I chose to attend college (CCS) but it seems like you always heard of these amazing Product Design Firms but never met anyone that worked for them. It was like this mythical journey to get to this land of product creation that only a few could find. David’s journey led him to Astro Studios in San Francisco where he is able to work on a variety of products. From tooth brushes to record players to Footwear, he is able to spread his creativity and thought process across many products.

Davids discussion on courage below is beyond accurate and really shows a true challenge of all designers: self esteem. Check out his story below.


“Courage is getting started and continuing forward. It’s inevitable that each project carries specific challenges that can lead to moments of self doubt and present opportunities to give up.

When briefed a project, I almost immediately have a vision of what the final “thing” should look like, but all that’s in front of me is a blank page. The empty space is terrifying, and most often, the first visualizations do not align with the image I’ve rendered in my imagination. It’s frustrating as it’s right there in my mind, but I’m unable to communicate it to myself. There is no formula to get me there, or guarantee I’ll find a path I’m passionate about. I can only rely on the foundation I’ve built over years and invest hours, days, or even weeks in following the process and “doing the work.”

At a micro level, this same fear can be applied to each phase of a project or exercise within a phase. Applying details, choosing color and material, or creating communication assets are all unknowns that have to be faced head on. Leaving works undefined and ultimately unfinished has been my crutch to keep them to myself, safe from criticism.

Sharing work can be even more terrifying than beginning a project. What if people don’t like it? Even worse, what if the people that matter to me most don’t like it? A product or idea that lives in the world can be critiqued. It’s either “good” or “bad.” Only you know the compromises made with manufacturing, or the compromises made with clients. You can’t say, “but the intent was better.” All you have is what’s there, sitting on the table. It’s a vulnerable feeling to leave an object on its own unable to stand up for its value.

For me, these fears are the driving force. I obsess over details so the “thing” that lives is a “thing” I believe in. I want to people to love what I’ve contributed to the culture, and I believe it’s my responsibility to make it happen.” – David

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END. Clothing

Brett Golliff

Designer | Blogger | Footwear Extraordinaire | @golliff

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  • Ray Zavesky - 3 years ago

    Really inspiring read! Thanks for sharing.