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This feature is continued from yesterday…

 
 
Yesterday, I shared some insight into one of Harrington’s Communication Design instructors, Alma Hoffman. Keep reading her interview below to find out her design advice to students and her inspiration…
 
Me: Any advice you would give to design students?
Alma:  I would say to learn to take things less personally and believe that we are here to help you. Believe it. Even those times when we need to be tough it is because we indeed care about you as a designer and as a person and perhaps you need to hear what we are saying even if you do not like it.
 
Also allow yourself to learn and to be pushed. It is amazing what you learn when you let yourself be pushed. The professors I remember the most are those who pushed me very hard and my frustration sometimes brought me to tears but I learned. Today we are great friends.

Finally, as a Communication Designer, learn about design history and learn about trademark and copyright. You have no idea what a difference it makes when you are an informed designer out there.

 
My personal design philosophy is simple: research, know the subject, topic, or client in and out, sketch (by hand as many as possible— I carry two sketchbooks with me: one in my purse and one in my school bag), doodle, incubate, and go to the computer to do the most promising ones.
 
M:  Any design inspirations?
A:  Whoa! I am inspired by so many things… music, Latin music, the sound of it just makes me get up and dance. But any music gets me going. I am inspired by clouds, I love to look at them, walks, long walks, movie credits, books —a good story that arrests me— , my children are a constant source of ideas and inspiration, and so many other things…
 
In terms of design: April Greiman is one of my heroes. Jennifer Sterling is another one. Rosemarie Tissi, and others. I say give me meaning, content, and substance, and your design will last a lifetime. Which is why work done by the giants never gets old or outdated: Armin Hoffman (My son’s middle name is Armin), Ruder, Brockman, Brodovitch, Matter, El Lissitzky, Bauhaus, Paul Rand, etc. They were designers with strong philosophical and political stances who made work based on the use of design principles and it never gets old.
 
Check out her photography and some cool design work here.
And finally, you can see her business site at http://www.studio2n.com/
  
 
About Alma Hoffman:
Alma Hoffman has been in the Communication Design field for over 10 years as both a freelancer and college instructor and currently teaches Communication Design at the Harrington College of Design.  She is a graduate from Iowa State University with an MFA in Graphic Design. Alma also has a bilingual background which helps her develop multicultural design strategies.  As a designer, she has received awards from American Graphic Design Awards GDUSA in 2008 & 2009. As a person, she likes to dance, play with her kids, take photos, exercise, eat ice cream and engage on on social media sites :-).
 
Photo and design courtesy Alma Hoffman

Thanks for sharing Alma! 🙂

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Again and again, I come across the great material that one of Harrington’s instructors in the Communication Design program produces on her various social media sites. So today, I wanted to share 🙂
 
Something I came across the other day is her great post on what makes typography good or bad. In a quick excerpt from the blog post, Alma says, “It is true that these aspects, context, content, purpose, and audience, will largely determine what typeface to use…”   Check out the full post here.

I followed up with Alma to find out a little more about here, and this is what I found out:

Me: What do you like about teaching?
Alma: I like design. I live design. I love design. To me design is a way of thinking, doing, an approach, an attitude, and a way of looking at the world. I find that design is more pure and experimental in education.
At Harrington, we are interested in students learning the premises, principles, and rules of design and then they are guided in experiments to break those rules for the sake of innovation. At the same time it needs to make sense and should be logical. Because we are visual communicators, every design decision—even the most insignificant— must be backed up by reasoning based on research about the subject matter. Even breaking the rules must be based on the premise that it is done to enhance the meaning we are trying to communicate. Otherwise we become fine artists using typography, space, color, and images to create something that might be aesthetically pleasing but void of meaning. And if it is void of meaning, it is not design.
 
So I teach because I love design and I love to talk. I talk a lot. 🙂 But seriously I teach because I believe as a designer one must be a perpetual student and teaching allows me to continue learning while giving to others. I teach at Harrington because I feel there is a very sincere commitment from our department to be the best at what we do and to really teach well.
 
Alma had so much good stuff to share, that I need to do a two-day feature… check back tomorrow!

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