Filed Under Culture
Meet Francois (aka Frankie D)

Francois is one of our Lead ID Designers here at the studio and has been a part of the Astro universe for 5 years now. He's been integral to many client projects, using his prototyping skills to bring products and experiences to life...as well as to create our annual Design Dodgeball uniforms. Read more about what inspires him here.

How did you get started in design?

I studied Industrial design in France at the International School of Design in Valenciennes. I wasn’t really interested about pursuing an engineering career as I was headed towards, so even if I didn’t really know what I was getting into, I ended up studying Industrial design. I was spending my time as a kid building models and RC planes, so something both creative and technical felt like the right path for me: that was it.

Then I moved to California and spent a year at Frog design, and Astro ever since.

Please describe your role with Astro – what do you do at the studio?

I have been at Astro for 5 years now, I am Lead designer in the Industrial Design team, aiming to deliver the most successful designs as possible within the constraints with the team. I am still fairly involved in the craft, and am happiest in the shop working on prototypes.

What would you consider important highlights or “turning points” in your career?

I always had Astro in my mind as my reference of design studio I would want to work at one day, so when I learned I was getting the opportunity to join, that was a pretty good day for me!

Any “claims to fame” or things you’re most proud of?

Seeing a product I made advertised on a giant screen in Times Square, then picking up the New York Times at a newspaper stand, with that product featured in was pretty cool.

What gets you really excited about design? OR What inspires your work?

To me the best part of the process it that moment where what you’ve been working hard on for weeks becomes a physical object you can hold in your hands. Even better when you see it out in the world, someone using it, that probably has no idea of the work you spend on each details.

Being in the SF bubble can get a bit dry in term of inspiration, so I always like to look around whenever I travel, and see what the design, art and fashion culture is in that specific place.

What tech innovations or design shifts have impacted your career?

I recently got more interested about sustainable design, and been involved with projects in this field, asking myself the question of how to bring a second life to materials, which has to become more considered especially in the fast-paced tech world hardware design. I believe that there are opportunities to create products using recycled material, with even more value than that material had in its first life, that is pretty challenging and exiting to me.

What are you most passionate about?

Outside of work, I’m happiest outside -- enjoying the California roads on my bicycle or motorcycle. I love snowboarding and try to go whenever possible , around the US, France or most recently in Japan.

Also I always have a side project in mind and find myself often making things on my free time: laser cutting, more sewing recently or building things using the tools in the shop.

Thanks Francois!