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Q&A with Brian Hoff

Founder & Creative Director of interactive design agency Brian Hoff Design

I’m B.Hoff, but my friends call me Brian. I’m the President and Creative Director of a boutique interactive design agency, Brian Hoff Design, Inc. Collectively we work on digital products and platforms across the web and mobile devices. I’m personally responsible for all design and business management tasks. Curiosity and passion (and a bit of ADHD) has always fueled my career and business and love providing our services to clients with the vision.

How did you get started in design? 

Computers were the first to capture my interest before I even knew that design was a thing. While I remember doodling and day-dreaming of wanting to be a cartoonist on the Ren & Stimpy Show, I never really took the arts too seriously. It wasn’t until I “found” Photoshop through my interest in computers and began to tinker. At first it was fun. Then it became addictive. After that, I started looking at ads and billboards around me more closely. Bought magazines that I didn’t read. Still, I entered college going towards a degree in Computer Science, but my brain never worked in that way. Math killed me. I decided to take an Illustrator class. I loved it! But there’s an even crazier story that follows…

The instructor of that very first Illustrator class pulled me aside towards the end of the semester and told me to “stick with it.” That I had a knack for certain things that others struggled with. “Cool”, I thought, and that was that. Roughly ten years after that class – and well into my career and business – my wife and I closed on our first home. Our neighbors to the right introduced themselves along with their daughter and grandkid. I couldn’t quite peg where I knew their daughter from, but it bugged me every so often. During a neighborhood Halloween parade, their daughter was again visiting. After talking, I found out she worked for an Advertising company and previously was an instructor at the community college I first attended. Oh man, could it be?! Yes, it was that same teacher that told me to “stick with it.” She didn’t remember saying that to me (obviously), but told her I must have listened and that she was right. Maybe she saw that early stages of my passion or curiosity for figuring things out. Funny how the world goes ‘round sometimes.

Let’s talk about the creative process 

I try not to adhere to a rigid process. More like I follow past patterns and then stretch them to fit the project and clients needs. I’ve actually documented a bit about my process here.

What are you working on now?

At the moment, we’re working on a few campaign designs and interactive presentations, continued work on Allclasses, and a new blog for a YouTube star. We’re all over the place!

What tools and software do you use for your work?

Beyond the obvious, here’s a few tools that I work into every day operations:

  • Google Hangouts: half of us our remote
  • Ember: storing & organizing inspiration
  • iA Writer: blog posts and writing
  • Photoshop
  • Sunrise app: calendar
  • Harvest: invoicing, time tracking, client / project management
  • Calendal: Puts my calendar availability out there for client meetings
  • Dropbox
  • Droplr: trackable / short URLs, sharing mockups

What is your ideal work environment?

Some place sunny surrounded by inspiration and things I love.

Where are your favorite places for art?

My kitchen where my oldest son, Connor, draws me a new picture every day.

Who are the designers, artists you admire most?

There’s so many great, talented people doing amazing things. My lead developer, @carlosgavina, definitely deserves a nod. He has great work ethic and an attention to detail that leaves me inspired after each project. He always accepts a challenge (and usually does one better).

The folks over at Character SF always put out an inspiring balance of beautiful, cutting-edge work. I’ve always also admired the work that gets produced over at Gin Lane, Firstborn, Huge, and Viget – to name a few.