Earlier today I had the chance to be live interviewed on Twitter (aka Twitterview) by the people over at Neenah Paper. In the proclaimed ‘Twitterview’ I was asked 9 questions that pertained to my business, my work and advice to other designers on social media and how it can play a role into business.
In case you missed the Twitterview, I have recapped it below and have also expanded upon some of my responses, since I was limited to 140 characters at a time. There was also time devoted at the end for questions, which I included below as well. You can also read it on Twitter via the hashtag #brianhoff.
1. Tell us a little about yourself, what makes you tick?
I’m an independent graphic designer specializing in identity design [ www.brianhoff.net ] and writer of The Design Cubicle
EXTENDED: While my passion and most experience is in branding and logo development I am also capable in all forms of print and web design. My love of design lies in typography.
2. You have a pretty successful blog – written up by HOW Magazine’s (@HOWmag) Top 10 Blogs. You originally did not start out as a writer, correct?
Yes, but I found blogging to be more personal. I wanted to share my insights and experiences and felt that I had value to offer my readers.
EXTENDED: In school I often struggled with writing because you were typically forced to write for a certain amount of pages and on a topic that was not of interest (or very little interest) to you. The tone of blogging is more speaking out from a personal, more friendly approach. It showcases both my experience and my personality. The longer I’ve been blogging, I feel the better the writer I am becoming.
3. I’m sure many others out there share your feeling. So, how did you make the transition into writing?
I started off reading many, and I mean many, design blogs and felt through my experience and passion for design that I had something to offer.
EXTENDED: I started writing about topics that interested me, or experiences that I have come across through my own work and business. Although there are designers out there that read my posts and already know the information I am discussing, there are equally as many readers that do not. Everyone always has something of value to offer.
4. Other than your own work, whose creative work do you most admire?
Tough one to answer, but if I had to choose one I’d say Jason Santa Maria (@jasonsantamaria). Jason really nails the problem solving aspect of a designer.
He’s a web designer with a print design background, much like myself. His work displays heavy print influences and beautiful typography.
EXTENDED: Jason’s work is always relevant to his medium. It’s accessible, readable and intuitive. His work is aimed around the user.
5. In a word, describe your first response to a new project.
It’s more of a sound effect… “Woop!”
6. Out in the blogosphere, name two people you’d like to meet for a drink.
I enjoy the way they mix both personal and business into their blogs and since reading them have felt connected to them as writers.
EXTENDED: In a word where everything is becoming so static and on the internet, having a ‘face’ to your site really helps with building trust and establishing a connection, which is why both David and Jacob are successful. We want to know more about them and their work.
7. Any advice for those listening on how to best use social media to promote themselves/their businesses?
Interacting online is the same as interacting/networking in person. Build trust and relationships and the rest will follow.
My blog/site generates 99% of my work because those reading have insight into my work and practices. Trust equals business.
EXTENDED: It’s also important to note that building trust is not all about promoting yourself. Help others, give credit where credit is due and build friendships. Building a brand is not about what colors or font you use; it’s about building a culture, a feeling around your business.
8. How do you answer the age old design question “How do I get more work?”
Being a great designer is one thing, but at the end of the day you have to know how to talk about and sell your services and brand/business.
EXTENDED: Work is not going to find you. You have to hustle for what you want and work as hard as you can to get there. For more on work ethic see Gary Vaynerchuck!
9. What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
More blogging, designing, and local Philly conferences/meetups that I would like to host to bring more independent designers together.
Questions from the listeners
Did you feel like you were a good enough writer when you started blogging?
Writing was never my strong point, but blogging is more like speaking out and engaging in a first person conversation.
Like other things, you have to work at it to get better, so hopefully my writing has improved since launching TDC in November.
What does the breakfast of a champion look like, or rather, consist of?!
A bowl of peanut butter puffs, Special K bar, and a hot cup of tea… basically I eat the breakfast of a 2-year old, minus the tea :)
What’s been your best/favorite project so far?
I’m working on a HUGE branding project that I cannot currently discuss at this time but its going to be great… It’s been an 8 month project so far, but nearing launch.
Don’t worry I will keep everyone posted!
Did you start as a freelancer? Did you transition from a full-time position? How was that process?
I’ve worked only freelance due to the bad economy when I graduated schooling. The job market pay and work was less than I wanted so I was determined to get my own work and do it on my own and here I am! *My favorite question!
Approximately what percentage of your time do you feel you give to writing vs. your design work?
I work from about 8:30am until 5:30pm and then blog around 8 at night about 2–3 times a week.
Can we have some advice/hope for designers about to graduate?
You just have to be determined and love what you do and work as hard as you can for what you love… build relationships!
Have any more questions or would like answers expanded upon? Feel free to ask away in the comments below.