Interview With Brian Hoff

by Matt on January 18, 2009 · 12 comments

in Interviews

Brian Hoff is a well known print, web, and logo designer. He is also a blogger who runs The Design Cubicle, a great design blog. Trained and certified by Apple, Brian has over 8 years of experience in the design field, and he certainly knows what he’s taking about. So, now it’s time for Brian to share his knowledge with you.

1. How did you first get into blogging?

Prior to starting the Design Cubicle, I was, and still very much am, an avid blog reader. Having learned so much through other designer’s blogs I only felt it was right to give back to the community that taught me so much. Also, having 8+ years experience in the graphic design field, I also felt that I had something I could offer the community. The Design Cubicle is a way for designers and those interested in design or design services to communicate, learn and grow.

2. What are the benefits of blogging and what have you learned from blogging?

Having compiled a post of this same question answered by other talented designers, I’m glad I am able to answer this question now. Having only started the Design Cubicle 3 months ago, I have learned more about networking than I have ever before. I’ve always felt design schools don’t pay enough focus to networking. Blogging has taught me more in 3 months than my 8+ years prior.

Blogging also opened up new doors for improved creativity for me. Writing my thoughts, ideas, and processes helps to be more productive and gets the creative juices flowing. I guess it because I am more involved in design than ever before so it has helped me grow and improve, which is important for every designer.

3. What software and hardware could you never live without?

Wrong question to ask a guy obsessed with his computer “stuff”… Here’s a break down of my computer equipment. 24″ iMac connected to a 23″ external monitor, new Macbook, 3 external hard drives, scanner, printer, and iPhone — I need all of them to survive!

On a serious note, having an dual-monitor setup is essential for getting things done and increasing my workflow. I don’t think I could ever work off of one monitor again. Also, I use the application ‘Things’ quite often and it syncs up nicely with my iPhone, as well as Evernote. Too many to pick just one, so I hope that answers your question.

4. What are your favorite websites?

Currently I subscribe to approximately 130 blogs, that range from design-related to blogging & marketing blogs. If I had to pick just a few I would say Just Creative Design & David Airey’s blog for personal and professional design insight, FreelanceSwitch for great freelancing advice, ProBlogger for fantastic blogging articles, and ILoveTypography for all things typographic since I am a HUGE type lover.

5. What skills (design related) do you find to be most important?

Listening skills. Being a designer you have to be a good listener, particularly when dealing with clients. As graphic designers we are problem solvers not freestyle artists. In order to solve a problem you must first listen and understand it.

6. What traits do you find most important for designers?

The ability to learn quickly and adapt. With the way design has been changing over the last few years, not so much aesthetically but technically speaking, it’s important to stay informed and up to date. Web design in particular is huge right now. A large portion of my clients are asking for websites so it’s important to stay on top of the latest technologies.

7. How do you manage your blog and design projects?

I don’t know to be honest with you… No seriously, for the most part, many of my blog article ideas stem from design projects I’ve worked on or currently working on, so writing them comes easy most of the time. I try to only spend about an hour to an hour and a half a day writing for TDC. If am a finished writing one post within that time, great, if not, then I continue it the following day.

Balancing a blog and freelance business requires excellent time management skills. Since starting TDC, I’ve considered it part of my freelance business, as it serves as a means to network and communicate with others.

Find Brian on the Web

Brian’s Portfolio:

Brian’s Blog:

Brian’s Twitter:

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Hoff January 18, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Matt, Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed. Really love the new look of your blog by the way and the posts you’ve been writing lately. Keep up the fantastic work!

kathryn Austin January 18, 2009 at 11:18 pm

I love getting insight from other designers. I’m glad to see that you interviewed Brian, as his blog is one of my favorite feeds and he is a great resource in the design community.

Codie January 18, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Nice article, almost inspires me to get into the blogging thing too, might look into this XD

on a design note, visited Hyperlinks are extremely hard to see and almost match the background, may i suggest possibly using that nice pale blue instead?

Khayyam Wakil January 18, 2009 at 11:57 pm

It’s nice to gain some insights into the lives of the people that you interact with on twitter. That’s just the tip of the iceberg and interviews like this give us the depth.

Thank you for interviewing Brian and showcasing his enormously helpful site The Design Cubicle.

And like Brian, I too enjoy the new look, especially the inspiration down below. Bang up job!!

Dainis Graveris January 19, 2009 at 1:26 am

Useful interview :) I especially liked the text that blogging taught You more in 3+ months, than 8 years working in this field. Cannot be true, but sounds impressive.

Matt January 19, 2009 at 10:39 am

@Brian Hoff:

Thanks for doing the interview and the excellent responses! Glad you like the new look.

@Dainis Graveris:

It certainly is true. I couldn’t agree with that statement more!

Max Stanworth January 19, 2009 at 10:47 am

Great interview, i couldnt agree more about having 2 monitors, makes life a whole lot easier espeshially working with web sites.

tevarra9 January 19, 2009 at 11:02 am

#5 & 6 are excellent points. Thanks for the insight.

boomshiddang January 19, 2009 at 6:31 pm

And not to mention, he’s totally adorable. Not that it has anything to do with the real content of the article… ;)

Sigurdur Armannsson January 22, 2009 at 6:33 am

Always interesting to read interviews like this. It seems that the nicest blogs are run by the nicest people.

David Airey March 2, 2009 at 6:19 am

Hi Brian,

I’m glad you started blogging, and I’m sure it’ll continue working in your favour. Like Sigurdur says, you seem like a great bloke, and hopefully we’ll have a chance to meet at some point.

Bye for now.

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