Hugo Hoppmann

Frank Chimero: Common Answers for Common Questions

Once again, honesty and substance from the great Frank Chimero, “graphic designer, illustrator, teacher, writer, & creative person in Portland, Oregon”.

What inspires you? How do you find inspiration?
Everybody’s inspired by the same things: the stuff they come in contact with. No exceptions. If you’re not inspired, you either need a vacation and to leave the house and expose yourself to more/different stuff, or you need to be sucker-punched in the gut. Just something to snap you out of the routine that’s numbed you to all the interesting stuff out there.

Be open. Boring question, boring answer. No secrets.

What do you do if you can’t think of an idea?
I bash my head up against my desk like everyone else. We’re all the same.

How do you promote yourself?
Unsexiest answer ever: be better.

Do something interesting and do it really well. This is way harder than promoting yourself. Service your clients really well. Come up with damn good work that has thick value.

Do something compelling. There’s a trillion people writing blogs that need something to write about. There are magazines hungry for content. There are hundreds of thousands of people bored on the internet wanting something to look at or do. For the most part, people have exceedingly low standards on the internet. But, I think people are hungry for better. Make something better. People will notice.

The number of people that are consuming creative work keeps growing (because it’s fun and nourishing). The number of people doing solid, compelling creative work is staying the same (because it’s hard work). You do the math.

How do you find the time to do this stuff?
“This Stuff” is important to me.

September 1st, 2010

Das Sommerloch

This summer is a good one. Although the first one in my life without a real trip to the beach and the sea. I stayed mostly in the city, working and relaxing in Cologne, before my last year in Lausanne starts.

Spending the holidays in your hometown can be a complicated thing. The problem is that you can’t really do nothing. You are somehow always connected to the reality and the daily grind. But it was my own choice. And I had some work to do. But I found it somehow difficult to mediate and find a good balance of work and play in this situation. People were saying: Hugo, take a fucking break! … but taking breaks just seemed like procrastination to me, even though in my holidays.

Old story actually: I’m having too many open “construction site’s” in my life. No end in sight but at the same time I somehow embrace the stress — even in the summer. When not writing, designing, working for a longer period I begin feeling bizarre and not myself. I need my work to survive. It’s taking me closer to myself. It’s making me stronger.

Anyway, going to Berlin a couple of days was a good choice then. Staying in a less close-to-reality environment helped me in my practice of really doing nothing. Well, except dancing, sleeping, alcoholic drinks, rendez-vous’ with good people and taking long walks.
This city is always magic. It amost seems like a cliché these days, but you just feel an undescribable energy in Berlin that you can’t find nowhere else at the moment. I only stayed one week but it was intense. It started off with the 032c Bar Night which was super great. Met a bunch of nice people, also some who I knew quite well but never saw in person before — Cyprien Gaillard, Tamara Rothstein, Uli Schöberl — just to name a few!
Later on I headed with an old friend of mine to the Berghain to celebrate Ricardo Villalobos‘s birthday. Another mind-blowing night at the Panorama Bar. And it went on and on …

Since I’m back in Cologne I spend my days in Mike Meiré‘s Factory where I’m doing an internship at the moment. More info soon!

To end the Sommerloch dilemma or to enjoy it gracefully, here a little selection of good stuff I enjoyed a lot the last weeks …

Take a look at books like The Sun Also Rises (Fiesta) by Ernest Hemmingway, or Klingsors letzter Sommer by Hermann Hesse. I also explored some great summer flicks like La collectionneuse by Eric Rohmer or Pollock by Ed Harris … if you have some remorse-free free time, do it!
(And of course way too much new music to present here. But: check out The 50 Greatest Samples In Hip Hop History selected by Kon & Amir — good stuff to find there … but no techno this time! haha)

The summer is over — long live the summer!
I go back to work again!

À bientôt mes amis!

“Good designers (and writers and artists) make trouble.”
Tibor Kalman

August 30th, 2010

Aroma Pitch, Bitch!

Aroma Pitch Stickers everywhere — time for a little explanation.

I designed the new logo for my three ambitious and talented techno boys Aroma Pitch from the hometown Cologne some months ago. The A (along with Aroma in the lettering) is set in my teacher Ian Party‘s new typeface BP Suisse. The P is from my new font V.U.C.A. Grotesque.
The combination of serif and sans-serif typefaces is with reference to to the groups analog approach to electronic beats. (They are perfoming their Techno tracks live with real instruments …) —
So Analog vs. Digital   →   Serif vs. Sans-Serif  in this case.

When it comes to the lettering you have modified versions of the two fonts e.g. I diminished Suisse‘s serifs a little. Qu’est-ce que tu penses, Ian?

→ Our Sun Wanted Party was freaking nice. Big up to AP and my Piqto United boys for the great organisation.
Kölsch, Girls, Techno, Dancing in the Rhine (!) sand … but let the pictures of my fellows Conrad Risch and Ferdinand Prinz do the talking:

Oh yes, and please become happy with the new fabulous Summertime Mixtape by Jazzy Jeff and Mick Boogie. Good Times for Summer Madness.

July 20th, 2010

Accept the New.

I redesigned and updated my website including five new projects that were created in the last months.
I kept the system with the smoothly and automatically floating elements on the startpage with the more simple but effective presentation of each work on it’s own subpage.
In the header I included Lausanne, Köln, Berlin — though I’m not sure about it. Is this too pretentious in a way?
Anyway, you can now directly subscribe to my newsletter if you want future information on updates etc.
Oh yeah, and I changed the background to a flashy red with headlines and texts in white. That’s a personal thing and I think it looks great as a contrast — and I just had to remember myself that I can do whatever the fuck I want on my website.

But it’s always a difficult step to build and expose your portfolio. It’s so personal. And although you pretend that you don’t care about the opinion of others … you do. Or maybe I’m just not professional enough yet to really don’t care …

Anyway, take a look and build yourself your own opinion — I would be glad to get some constructive critique!

Some new projects in the spotlight: (check the portfolio for more images)

V.U.C.A. Magazine, V.U.C.A. Grotesque, Interview Installation (plus already posted: Better Mjstakes Magazine and 032c Website)

“Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous” was kind of my last semester’s mantra.

Almost all projects were based on my new Grotesque typeface in the end. Everything was connected throughout the philosophy of making and exposing the not-yet-so-perfect to reality quickly in order to get critique to fuel the progress.

The V.U.C.A. Magazine was a project in collaboration with talented photographer Namsa Leuba. We created and art directed a magazine on architecture/design/interior with the subject Ethno vs. Modern. The project was supervised by François Rappo and Pierre Fantys.

For Nicole Udry‘s course I built-up an installation in order to visualize the interview I made in december 2009 with François Rappo and Jörg Koch for the Better Mjstakes Magazine.

It was a really nice project, had a lot of fun. I designed three chairs that stood for each person in the interview. Therefore I collaborated with several friends from the industrial design department who helped me out with the basics e.g. how to use the machines. It was an important experience for me. Of course you always have some more or less superficial relationship to the colleagues from other areas, but you hardly make any projects together. And above all: I made not only new colleagues but also new friends.

See some photos of the chairs before getting sprayed in black:

Marie doing the crashtest …

Then I printed a large amount of big posters, displaying various statements or abstract catchphrases from the interview, hung-up in a bright room (thank you again Olivier Saudan!) around the chairs:

If you are interested find more information and pictures of the projects here.


PS: Currently in rotation is the new mixtape of my man Theophilus London. You should check him out.

I Want You (Official Video) — directed by va$htie

July 15th, 2010

Better Mjstakes Volume I — Vernissage & Everthing … !

Proud owner: Mr. Ludovic Balland

Dear Friends!

Beautiful hometown-holiday-madness at the moment! I’m hardly not drinking kölsch or swimming in lakes these days besides worldcup watching and hardcore power-napping … but enough of chilling — it’s time for some Blog action now!

So first thing: the Better Mjstakes magazine is spreaded around the world and we are very proud of our printed baby. If you are not yet an owner of the printed version you have the chance to read every text and all the interviews on the new website. (

Anyway, here are some photos + more of our first issue: (as always: click to enlarge them …)

Perverse Optimist

I’m making a lot of mistakes. And I’m proud of them. I don’t regret — I embrace them.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Maybe it is a mistake to publish this magazine. Maybe it can’t be even called a magazine. But it is here. You hold it in your hands. You read what I have written even though we might not know each other. If your are interested you can dig deeper and find out more about me, us — and our vision!

This baby is our very personal thing — but at the same time it is our goal to reach as many minds as possible. I believe in the message of our title, that contains the same paradox: Better Mjstakes. This charming name is based on a philosophy of mine. The philosophy of doing and producing and shipping and showing — no matter what the critic might be, no matter if other people like it or hate it. I want to cultivate the courage of making things, releasing ideas without any fear of making mistakes! So stop hiding your ideas, my friend — neither in your head nor in your closet!

I think one has to forget about embarrassment or what ‘could’ happen or not. Whatever you dream to do — do it. Then you know what will happen. And whatever the outcome, the reaction, the response. May they be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ — in any way you have learned. And that is the most important thing. Because that is the only way to make a progress, to become better, to become the one you really are.

I don’t want to sound too guru-like here, but just tell you about my base and my background. And without some good, big mistakes, and/or acting in spite of them, this magazine would be never alive now.

I left Cologne in summer 2008. Looking for new adventures I travelled to Lausanne for an entrance exam at the ‘École cantonale d’art et design Lausanne’. Only Some weeks before, I’d picked up a big black ECAL book at Buch­- handlung Walther König. It smelled, looked and felt like pure freshness — I loved the simplicity, the atmosphere and the force in it. I noticed that the teachers there were people who’s work I had been admiring for a long time. I made up my plan. I wanted to be there. And although I always loved my hometown, I was thrilled by the idea of leaving the ‘nest’ in order to explore and learn and develop. Another country, another language. This was ground zero. I was scared to death but felt more alive than ever. Would that become a big mistake? Am I having a chance anyway? But fuck it, I had to try.

(Nice interview with Sam de Groot — find the whole thing here.)

(In conversation with the ever charming Mr. James Goggin — read the whole interview here.)

“The typeface in which you are reading all these texts in this magazine in, is called
VUCA Grotesque and is built on the same principle as mentioned in Perfect
Optimist earlier. It is challenging to create a good sans-serif font. But should this
stop you from trying? Stop you from showing your results proudly when finished?

I think it can only get better. Presenting your not-perfect work will bring you
something of high value: critic.

I found out that it is important to search for reaction to the work you are
producing, even if it might be disastrous — because the most unuseful and sad thing
is not hate or critic — it’s indifference.

So keep producing, and stay excited — Never not working. Never not learning!
We will continue our to make Better Mjstakes too, and are already looking forward
to the next issue.”

(We actually designed the whole issue in my new font called VUCA Grotesque—I will provide more details and the finished version soon!)

Then it was time for a little Better Mjstakes vernissage together with everyone’s Lieblings DJ’s Das Hutwerk at Hydromel & La Ruche in Lausanne with support from Berlin’s Jona — it was so very nice — thank you again everyone!

M O R E soon — have to go back in the sun now …

July 9th, 2010

032c Website: finished, polished and ready for action.


“The most pathetic joke ends today: The announcement of a relaunch “coming soon” has been on our website for four years now, and we are pleased to drop this trademark for what you’re now experiencing.”

In February I wrote from Berlin about the first steps of the mission to create the website of my favourite magazine. And now, after some months in the making I can proudly tell you that we have finally released the new 032c website some days ago.
The fact that our baby became such a professional super-machine in the end is thanks to our man Uli Schöberl, interaction designer and programmer based in Berlin.

Some impressions of the new, but you better check the site yourself …

+ I warmly recommend the website’s archive covering ten years of 032c in over 400 articles.

Cheers brothers and sisters & thanks everyone from the team!

July 6th, 2010

Never not working.

Wahoou — the last weeks were crazy and beautiful. Now I’m back in Cologne enjoying some ‘free’ time.
The next aim now is to recapitulate the past events: New finished works (, Better Mjstakes, ECAL projects …) Das Hutwerk in Köln, future plans, new texts etc. …

Share what you love!

Stay tuned —


June 29th, 2010

Better Mjstakes Vernissage + Das Hutwerk


Next friday, June 11 we are going to celebrate the release of the first issue of Better Mjstakes Magazine created by me and my friend Johannes Breyer, featuring Jörg Koch, François Rappo (Head of the Art Direction Master ECAL), Sam de Groot, James Goggin (Practise, Werkplaats Typography) and Doyoureadme?!

The vernissage will take place at Hydromel (Lausanne) — 20:00 — with a following party of my partners in crime
DAS HUTWERK together with Berlin based JONA (Get Physical / Supplement Facts) at La Ruche. (→ Check their newest mix …very nice)

That’s going to be an über-bingo, baby!

Das Hutwerk: Thibault, Fab, Emilie

Jona — Take Five

VUCA Grotesque — my font of the moment…

Vincent likes it too!

June 5th, 2010

Genuine Enthusiasm

[...] Always optimistic, never cynical, Massimo had a hunger for new design challenges and approached every job as if he had never done such a thing before. Even creating something as simple as a business card (and a Vignelli-designed business card was nothing if not simple) would require sketch after sketch as Massimo tried to coax a few trusted elements and a trusted elements and a famously limited palette of typefaces into some surprising new form. And when the pieces finally came togehter, inevitably no one would be as genuinely delighted as Massimo.
And what form of salesmanship is as effective as genuine enthusiasm? Massimo’s presentation technique was as legendary as it was impossible to duplicate. With a client team in rapt attention, he would neatly straighten a stack of 19-inch square mounted drawings face down on the table before him. He would rest his fingertips on the top board, look around the room and pause as if to control an almost uncontainalbe excitement. Then, unable to wait a second longer, Massimo would burst out, “Wait until you see what we have for you today. It’s…fantastic!” A carefully wrought presentation would follow, but for much of the audience the sale was already rung up. My God, you could see them thinking, if this guy is so sure, who are we to argue?

From “Massimo Vignelli’s Pencil” by Michael Beirut, originally appeared in Domus, 2001

May 30th, 2010

Sophisticated Shake …

… made my workaholic-sunday-night seem a bit brighter.

May 30th, 2010

You have to be on fire yourself to light one.

“The Germans have a saying that you have to be on fire yourself to light one.
Many designers are driven by a special kind of dedication, both professionally and personally. In addition to craft and creativity, bringing passion to the job is the key to success.
Passion gives us the power to act. It is the foundation of change and of progress.”
May 28th, 2010

“It smells like summer.”

Fellow Manuel Eckl runs a nice little blog titled Another Journal By for which he crafted this charming portrait: (English version below)

Who is Hugo Hoppmann? That’s what we were asking ourselves. When you are exploring his Portfolio or the seven pages of his Blog one finds a conglomeration of his work — pieces from his daily grind, anecdotes from his life, or simply things that motivate, inspire, touch him.
Unfortunately everything you’re discovering, regard, taking there even adds more fuel to the curiousness.
So who is Hugo Hoppmann and/or what moves him? What goes through his head? His attempt to get a closer look…

1. It smells like summer. I’m looking forward to Cologne and my old friends. Making plans for the summer… internship?
2. Self-discipline, motivation, and concentration. How do I push all my projects constantly, and at the same time? How can I improve my focus?
3. Running, sprinting, boxing, jumping, inhale deeply, exhale slowly. Doing sport, my most importing compensation.
4. Simplicity — Purism — Balance.
5. Better Mjstakes, a personal, ambitious magazine project — together with Johannes Breyer — that is about to be released.
6. Work and Progress. Finishing projects with the sentiment of having learned and advanced.
7. Girls in my head… why do I make everything so complicated?
8. My Blog: So many plans. When can I continue to write? But will the efforts pay off?
9. Just sit down and work. Simply start and keep on digging. Ideas will come. Solutions will manifest.
“Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.”
10. Many doubts. But I’ll stay positive. And I always keep moving.

May 28th, 2010

VUCA Grotesque Preview II

“Geometry can produce legible letter but art alone makes them beautiful.
Art begins where geometry ends, and imparts to letters a character trascending mere measurement.”

Here’s a little preview of my new typeface — still in the making, more soon… (click image for bigger version…)

A spread of my ECAL magazine project — together with Namsa Leuba.
May 28th, 2010

“Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.”

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.
Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery — celebrate it if you feel like it.
In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.”

Jim Jarmusch

May 26th, 2010

Lack of Updates ≠ Lack of Ambition

I’m very occupied with life’s up’s and down’s at the moment that I hardly find any energy left for my blog.
But fuck it — I will push it to the limit, no matter what. Let’s embrace intensity.

So: I’m going to compile a collection of the current ‘state of the art’, thoughts and progress the next days.
Hope you find interest!



May 26th, 2010
Hugo Hoppmann Blog