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.
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: http://www.brianhoff.net/
Brian’s Blog: http://www.thedesigncubicle.com/
Brian’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/behoff