“In my work I strive for clarity, elegance and modernity without losing soul,” explains Hugo Hoppmann, a designer and art director working between Berlin and New York City. With this heartfelt approach in mind, Hugo has, since we last featured him way back in 2011, worked at Meiré und Meiré in Cologne, 2×4 in New York City and even launched his own studio in 2016. His client list is awash with big names in the industry, including Nike, Prada, 032c, Apple, Sies Marjan, District Vision – “a diverse range of clients from around the world,” he tells It’s Nice That. “Next to my studio work I’m forever and always trying to push my own favourite (un)realised projects, such as Present magazine.”
Clearly flourishing in his medium, Hugo notes his most notable highlights as those that include developing the concept and art directing a shoe for Nike, creating the visual identity for his “favourite” music channel Colors and, of course, launching his own publication. It’s been a busy year for the designer, evident throughout his multifarious portfolio that comes littered with projects ranging from poster work to designing a shoe.
While his projects come and go, so does his style. “I feel that my style is constantly evolving and adapting analogous to my life experience,” he says. “In our often very hectic world, I try to keep a clear mind to be able to listen to my gut.” He continues to admit how instinctive trust has done him a few favours over the years – “I’m trying to live and work for the now, to be anchored in the present.” As for his style : “I don’t bother being trendy,” he says, instead opting to “deliver quality and integrity” to any project that comes his way.
On the topic of his upbringing, Hugo grew up in a creative household – his father is an instrument builder and musician, his mother a furniture conservator. “My parents had a strong influence on me in the way they build their lives,” he says. “They were both self-employed entrepreneurs, juggling family and business. I have much respect for how they did it, how they balanced it all. It was not always an easy life, but they made it possible for me and my sister to follow our dreams and ideas, no matter how crazy – always full support. I’m very thankful for that.”
Hugo directs this creative spirit towards his design practice. Kicking off with a pen and paper, his process begins with getting all his thoughts and ideas out first. “I’m trying out many things and I value close collaboration with my clients,” he says, “be it with money, ideas, opinions – I’m trying to stay as transparent as possible.”
A recent endeavour, as mentioned prior, sees the designer take on a project of his own – titled Present. “It’s the essence of different passion projects from over the past years, with the first issue titled People on Process,” explains Hugo. “[Present is] a magazine about creating and self-reflection, where we speak with makers about their path and philosophies in order to demystify the creative process. It’s a space for honest conversations about discipline, fear, career paths and confidence.” In form of a printed publication, it’s a place where his design philosophy, method of practice and means of creating come together in unison.