David Smith

Resides: Southern California
Occupation: Designer/Letterer/Entrepreneu
Hobbies: Woodworking, Antiquing, Watching Movies, Coffee


How did you first get into design and the process of creating?
I didn’t realize it at the time, but design has always been a part of my life. Even before kindergarten, I was committed to becoming a cartoonist. Always creating my own heroes, stories, and businesses. It was around high school that I started merging art with commercial possibilities that I would later call “design”. I’ve toyed with the idea of other careers, but in the end, I never wavered from the creative world. My soul belongs it.

Walk us through the steps for your design process, start to finish.
There are always exceptions to this process depending on if it’s a personal project or for a client, but I break it down to around 5-6 steps.

I always start with research. This can be anything from listening to music, reading books, lurking the web, or just stepping out into the real world. Then I move into sketching, which is just a shogun of visual venting. A lot of the time I enjoy ideation more than the final product. I try to stay in heavy contact with the client this thing, whatever it is, grows in the right direction. Next comes a mixture of revisions, refinement, and coffee until it’s ready to be delivered. I have a very hands-on process, but I don’t think it’s much different then most creatives.

What made you do this piece for The Hero Collective, and what does it mean to you?
I’m a huge supporter of the D.I.Y renaissance we are currently in. Any chance I get to be a part of collective projects that support that mindset, I’m game.

This piece was made for the hard workers out there that ask for nothing in return. We keep our heads down and build shit we love. I just wanted to take a crack at making a visual anthem for all us losers out there doing it the hard way.

What are your favorite methods or tools you use to design?
My favorite tool will always be my hands. More specifically, I got a new Staedtler lead holder that is killer, and my favorite substrate these days is tracing paper. I also couldn’t survive without my scanner.

Do you have a specific market or type of project your enjoy working on more than others?
I’m always juggling self-initiated projects; these, for the most part, are my favorite to work on. Because I only need to answer to myself and can just grind out 10-12 hour days without any communication gaps. They are also the most challenging.

I am so in love with the world of design that I’ve been excited on just about every project I’ve worked on, even the ones that set your skull on fire.

What inspires you?
Beside the obvious design world and family/friends, it would have to be atmosphere. By that I mean anything that creates a sense of mood or story. Things like books, film, coffee shops, night time, weather, and people get me going. I try to question everything, which keeps me pretty busy.

You create your own textures and have even dabbled in font work and so forth…is this different from your "normal" design work?
It’s becoming more apparent to myself that I’m an entrepreneurial based designer, rather then just a designer. It is a very different feeling to build something of your own and release it into the world compared to the normal client work. Building products of my own has given me a new creative high that definitely has a lot of my attention for the future.

Anything else you want to add or currently working on?
I’m really excited about this year. I love my clients and the opportunities that are popping up, and you’re going to continue to see me building goods of my own. Expect more digital items like texture packs and fonts, as well as several new physical items. I also have a couple secret projects in the works that I can’t wait to share with everyone. Be on the lookout.

I also wanted to thank Hillman and the Hero Collective. This is a great project and was awesome to be apart of it.