Dave Whitley

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I'm a senior product designer with 10+ years of experience. As a generalist, I love figuring out how code works while also making products usable and beautiful.

Currently working at Automattic on Tumblr.


I've worked at Automattic since 2012, home to many products and services. I've spent most of my time working on WordPress.com, Tumblr, Simplenote, and internal tools. Over the years I've utilized a wide range of skills at Automattic, including product design, design systems, user research, print design, branding, and illustration. See all of my work experience on LinkedIn.

Skills & Interests

Selected work

Lo-fi Wireframe Kit for Figma


I've used several standalone wire­framing tools before, I but wanted something more integrated into Figma. Underwhelmed by the few wire­framing kits on Figma, I decided to make my own. I meticulously created over 100 components that I could use for lo-fi prototyping in my day-to-day work. It was selected as a staff pick and has over 140,000 downloads.


Product Designer / Design Director

Most notably I was the lead designer of Tumblr's "Ad-Free" subscription service. However, being part of a small team, I had my hands on many parts of Tumblr including comments, sponsored posts, the explore page, and the profile view. On each of these projects, I was responsible for ideation, wireframing, prototyping, and final designs. I worked closely with the developers on imple­mentation for all platforms.

I was also an interim Design Director for the design team. For several months I was responsible for 1:1 chats with designers, coordinating with other team leads, and planning. I learned a lot of new skills, but I realized that I enjoy leading as an individual contributor more.

Gridicons open source icon set

Core Contributor

At Automattic, we had several icon sets used across our products. The vision of Gridicons was to consolidate and create a new comprehensive icon set for WordPress.com. We successfully created a set of guidelines and a process by which any designer could contribute icons. The total count is currently over 200 icons.

As a core contributor, I designed a large portion of the icons, fielded icon requests, and general maintenance.

Jetpack rebrand

Lead Designer

Jetpack is a powerful WordPress plugin that brings cloud function­ality to WordPress. Its visual identity needed a big update to make it a reputable brand for years to come. Working with an art director and the CEO Matt Mullenweg, I created the logo, branding guidelines, and illustrations.

A few years later, the logo was masterfully refined by Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv. I was honored to see that the logo stayed mostly the same.

Simplenote Electron app

Lead Designer

Simplenote is a popular multi-platform note-taking app. Simplenote already had a desktop app for Mac, but we needed to expand to other platforms like Linux, Windows, and the web. Electron was chosen as the cross-platform way to do that. For over a year, I worked closely with developers to rethink features and UI in a cross-platform way. We launched Simplenote apps for Windows, Linux, Mac, and web with feature parity.

WordPress Design System

Lead Designer

I was a founding member of a WordPress.com design systems team, which had not existed before at Automattic. Our goal was very ambitious; create a comprehensive design system for WordPress. Component structure, design fundamentals, accessibility, development workflow, adoption, and guidelines were all top of mind for our team. As the lead designer, I was responsible for research, guidelines, Figma libraries, color, typography, and more. Even though we were a small team, I learned a tremendous amount and made impactful guidelines and improvements. We also consulted with design system experts and participated in a 1:1 workshop with Google’s Material team. Although we fell short of our original goal, the time I spent working on design systems was some of the most gratifying in my career.

WordPress.com notifications

Lead Designer

One of my first big projects at WordPress.com. At that time, the Android app, iOS app, and the web were being designed and developed separately. And as a result, very dissimilar. Our Notifications team was the first team at Automattic that was cross-functional and cross-platform. We designed, developed, and shipped an entirely new notification system on all platforms concurrently (iOS, Android, web). As the lead designer, I was responsible for ideation, wireframing, prototyping, and final designs. I worked closely with the developers on imple­mentation for all platforms.

Outage typeface


Outage is a typeface I created in 2011 and fortunately got a chance to sell it on Lost Type Co-op. It's been very successful, and I love seeing it unexpectedly on a billboard or tv show. It's been used by all sorts of organizations, including the Obama administration, LEGO, ESPN, and a Dave & Buster's beer pong game. I later expanded and refined the typeface for LEGO and added over 180 new characters.