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Whit Gurley's Desk

My name is Whit Gurley, I’m a professional designer and art director. My studio is called Angled End Identities, in Portland OR.

What’s the story behind that desk?

I had been wanting to build a proper desk for years, after using a cheap Ikea thing for fifteen years. I’m pretty handy with carpentry, but it took more effort than expected to build it the way I wanted it, and I learned several new building and finishing techniques.

One other facet of the space is that I can control the desk and wall lights from my chair - they all come to a single power strip that drives everything but the computer itself. I’ve never been a fan of bright lighting in the studio, I prefer just enough ambient lighting to avoid the monitors blowing out my vision, and being able to easily switch those backlights on makes that really easy.

Other odds and ends:

  • The big board behind me is my inspiration wall, where I pin up various examples of design that I love (including a few of my own).
  • There’s a second desk that I use for multiple purposes: cutting, photography, and visiting contractors.
  • I built the triangle clock during my freshman year of high school.
  • The fan on the second desk is a family heirloom from the 30’s.

Can you tell us something about the items on/around your desk?

Most of that is in the equipment list, but I realized I forgot the newest addition: a pair of killer JBL LSR305 studio monitors.

Is there anything you would like to improve on this setup?

Nope. I love it. :)

Is there something on your desk which helps you stay focused? What is it?

Empty space. Like most people, I’m prone to accumulating clutter if I’m not careful, so I try really hard to get things off of the desk as much as I can.

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