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Armin Hofmann

Tony Brook

“Few of us have sacrificed so much time, money and comfort for the sake of their profession, as Armin Hofmann. He is one of the few exceptions to Shaw’s dictum “He who can does; he who cannot, teaches.”

For more than forty years, Armin Hofmann has devoted his life to teaching the unteachable – art/design. The works of his students are models of excellence, and the envy of others, both students and teachers.

Armin Hofmann – His Work, Quest and Philosophy

His goals, though pragmatic, are never pecuniary. His influence has been as strong beyond the classroom as within it. Even those who are his critics are as eager about his ideas as those who sit at his feet.

As a human being, he has few equals. As a practitioner, he ranks amongst the best.”

This eulogy was written by Paul Rand for the seminal book: Armin Hofmann - His Work, Quest and Philosophy, or more economically in German – Werk Erkundung Lehre. It is a beautifully elegant and heartfelt paean of praise from one great designer to another. As was often the case with Rand’s work, it says all that needs to be said.

So if you want to develop an inferiority complex, then this is the book for you. Armin Hoffman’s work comes across as a powerful force of nature and is, to my eyes, timeless. I probably look (and wonder) at this book more than any other I own. I understand very well that I’m scrutinizing his work (unavoidably) out of its original context and at a fairly superficial level – sadly, I haven’t spent time in his company, I didn’t study under him or hear him lecture – still the effect his work has on me is me is always one of awe.

Armin Hofmann cannot be dismissed as ‘one of those Swiss guys.’ He is a true visionary and possesses more than a touch of genius.

By the way, the great man is 90 this year, happy birthday Mr. Hofmann.


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