Here I am at five. I still don't have much hair and, I still don't wear hats well.

ALAN HOPFENSPERGER

The Knack | It revealed itself early. My older brothers and sisters sent in a drawing for the Draw Me! talent test. I don't remember that. But I do know that since before I can remember, I've been drawn to art. Any craft I could get my hands on was my early schooling. I would spend hours of concentrated effort on some self-invented project. Later in college, I learned to put my talents to use as a part of critical analysis and visual problem solving. I was in love. So for me, the mystery of creating keeps me coming back for more. I was just born with the knack and am lucky to have found a profession where I can put it to work.

LESS IS MORE

New York | My career began at legendary Vignelli Associates in New York, working for Massimo Vignelli and Michael Bierut, where Modernism was practiced to the core. Ideas were creative and design adhered to a strict discipline of gridded structures with minimal decoration and font choices. Michael mastered working creatively within these constraints, and excelled at breaking the rules in the right way. While the structure and discipline appealed to my sense of order, I also had a strong artistic nature that yearned to expressively populate designs with art. Additionally, I did not feel I could claim the prestige of being associated with the Vignelli name. So I set out on my own after nearly six years to explore my artist’s heart, having achieved the position of Senior Designer. This eventually brought me back to Cincinnati. View The Vignelli Canon, pictured here.

MORE IS MORE

Cincinnati | After a number of successful years freelancing and garnering numerous awards from the Art Directors Club of Cincinnati (now defunct) for clients such as Northlich Stolley LaWarre and Siebert Design Associates, I landed fulltime at Siebert Design Associates. At the time this was the top boutique studio, headed by Lori Siebert, an art making force of nature. All design was infused with artfully crafted components—the complete opposite of minimal Modernism. For example, take a closer look at some pages from this Art Acadamy of Cincinnati recruitment brochure. Design was an explosion of expressive and emotive visuals, and I am sure Massimo would have massively disapproved. Over the years, the work changed from B2B clients to retail clients, and with the introduction of art licensing, a name change occurred. Olika is Swedish for different, unique. So the newly renamed Olika Studio, to further pursue art licensing, reduced staff and decided to part ways with me. From there I worked independently from a home office, until deciding my solo gig was hurting more than helping.

BALANCE

The Best of Both Worlds | My approach has been to walk the line between less and more, trying to offset the limits of each by pursuing their advantages. This versatility enables me to be responsive to client’s needs and to find a solution appropriate for the situation. My experience at these studios gave me first-hand experience with the idea that a designer does not need to be held to a specialty. While at Vignelli, I witnessed design thinking applied to graphics, interiors, product, packaging, signage and fashion. To some extent, the same was true with Siebert Design Associates. So I don't put limits on creative opportunity, and love putting my right and left brain to the balancing task of any creative challenge. For the last couple years, I have been repurposing that thinking for advertising. And now I am looking for the next creative opportunity.

WHY WHATNOT?

What’s in a Name | A whatnot is an English term for a light, open set of shelves for bric-a-brac. I’ve always tried my hand at anything creative, so over time have acquired a varied collection of creative experiences. Thank you for visiting my portfolio— and whatnot.