An Interview with Graphic Designer, Brian Hoff
Brian Hoff is a one of those folks in the design community that make logo design look effortless. His logos are sleek and elegant. A fantastic acid test for a logo is how well it displays in black and white. Given that Brian’s logo gallery is entirely in black and white, yet looks stunning, I’d say he gets an ‘A’ on that test. Oh yeah, he is also a very good web designer and blogger. Brian was kind enough to answer some questions here on MyInkBlog, check out the insight he shares in the answers that follow.
Hi Brian, thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for MyInkBlog readers. Please start by telling us a little about yourself, and how you got started in design? Are you self-taught or did you go to college for design?
I’m an independent graphic designer living in Philadelphia, PA specializing in branding, logo and website design. I’m a graduate of Tyler School of Art with a BFA in Graphic & Interactive Design “although I am mostly self-taught in software and through continued learning.
I love the style of the logos you create. Can you talk a little about your design process?
My design process always starts out with a pencil and paper. I typically start mind-mapping to get keywords and imagery ideas flowing and then start rough sketches concepts and logotypes. Once I feel like I have a solid direction I want to pursue I then bring my ideas to the computer” then continues on to client feedback, changes, more feedback, changes etc.
You can read more about my creative process here
There is a big gap between amateur and professional looking logo design. What would you say are the biggest factors that can take a logo design from good to great?
Typography without a doubt. Having a relevant typeface to compliment a mark is key and also having well set type is essential.
Sometimes it’s difficult to get started on a project, and brainstorm design ideas. How do you get inspired and stay motivated?
I stay inspired through many methods but being active in the design community is my biggest source of inspiration. I have thousands of well organized bookmarks and I use Rapideweaver for scrap booking inspiration.
I’ve been very interested lately in gaining some insight from other designers about how they manage their time. With all the projects that you do, how do you manage to find time for everything? Do you utilize any apps/software to help organize and prioritize your to-do list?
I for one do not manage my time well at all… mainly because I work a lot, but at the end of the day I love what I do and love to work hard at it. For management and organizing I use Things for tasks and Subernova for project management.
What are some of your favorite design blogs that you read?
Coming for a guy that subscribes to over 300+ I would have to say I Love Typography, Carsonified, and A List Apart. Also, Jacob Cass’ Just Creative Design and David Airey’s blog two blogs which inspired me to start my own. I have always enjoy the perfect balance of personal and professional in both of their blogs.
What tools are in your designer’s toolbox that would be tough to live without? Software, apps, hardware, books or otherwise?
Funny you have asked this question since I had just finished added a ‘How I Get It Done’ section to my ‘About’ page on my personal site, www.brianhoffdesign.com.
For hardware and software I use daily:
- Apple iMac and Macbook with a 32″ Samsung external display
- Adobe Creative Suite 3
- Coda by Panic
- iWork suite
- and of course my iPhone
Also I am absolutely obsessed with design books, of which I try to buy a new one every other week. A few most-own books are:
- The Elements of Typographic Style
- Logo Design (series one and two )
- Handbook of Pricing and Ethnical Guidelines
- Logo, Type and Lettering Bible
- The Branding Gap
Mac or PC, why?
As an ex-Apple software trainer for 4 years, definitely a Mac. The OS is by far the most intuitive and they are just downright sexy “sorry I nerded out for a minute!
When you are not blogging, designing or otherwise behind the computer, what do you enjoy doing to step away for a while?
Wait there are things to do besides the above? Man, I must be missing out! I guess if I had a life besides the following I love to travel, take out my waverunner, eat new and strange food (I will literally try anything) and listen to music.
Thanks again, for doing this interview. In closing, what sort of advice would you give someone who is just getting started in design?
A quote that has helped me through my career to improve is
“the most successful designers master the art of staying in school.”
Resources are a designers best friend and passion for what you do will get you to where you need to be. Also, build trust and relationships and the rest will soon follow.
Brian Around the Web
You’ve reached the end of this interview, but if you have a question, comment, or just want to say hi to Brian, please drop a comment below.