designer profile – hoshimo

July 18, 2009

One of the things I most enjoy is connecting with the  people who use 99designs on a regular basis and hearing all about their experiences. A while back I was able to meet up with a prolific member of our design community who resides right here in the city I call home – San Francisco, California.

Designer Profile


Brian Tom – San Francisco, California
99designs handle: hoshimo
Projects entered: 500+
Projects won: 74

How did you get into design?

Well I failed chemistry so I went into design. I got an Associate in Arts degree at City College of San Francisco and since then I’ve really just been looking for work and things like that. 99designs started out just as a hobby for me and it became really enjoyable so that’s how I got into it.

I randomly found 99designs online. I entered a few contests and I honestly didn’t think I would win anything. After about my 20th contest…I won and it was actually a lot of fun so I started doing more.

Tell me about your experience with the design community at 99designs so far?

ChatarooSo far it’s been great. There have been a lot of supportive designers from all over the world. They give you tips and they help you…you know…you toss back and forth design tips and feedback. It’s the feedback really that is most important to me just because I work at home as a freelance designer so I don’t have too many people around me saying “oh you know Brian… this is not so good or Brian this looks great” It helps a lot.

What have you learned as a result of participating in the 99designs community?

I focus mainly on logo designs at 99designs, so I’m learning a lot of different things about how to minimize your design yet having it speak boldly, or learning how to use typography effectively in a logo. Things like that have really helped me a lot especially when it comes to working with some of the more experienced designers on the site. One of the biggest things I’m continuing to learn is how to effectively blend the mission of a company with the style that they are looking for and coming up with a simple graphic element that tells a story that is unique. I think designers who are successful in this really pull away from the rest of the crowd.

Do you have any tips for other designers in the community?
From my own personal experience on 99designs I tend to design stuff before I look at the other submissions. When I do look at the submissions it can hinder or box up my creativity. It is important for designers to respect and value their own personal creativity. Then before submitting, I check out the other designs to make sure I’m not too close to anyone else’s.

Read the brief and design according to it. I’ve seen contests where it’s titled “Logo for Dog Tag Shop” and you see submissions for a pet store when in reality it’s a store for custom military-style Dog Tags. Additionally, I see a lot of generic submission that has nothing special or unique to that particular company. Reading the brief allows a design that has more depth and meaning to it.

Has using 99designs lead to additional work to help you build your business?
Oh yeah…that’s half the fun! I think at least half the design contests I win results in the contest holder coming back to me and asking about getting business cards or website graphics and things like that. ChannelIf they love the work that you do and they love your style then it makes sense that they would go back to you for additional work and even refer you to their friends. All of my closest client relationships and the bulk of my freelance work has come from the results I’ve had in past 99designs contests.

What about a tip for contest holders?
If you utilize the star ratings and give lots and lots of feedback, you will receive 10x more submissions that are closer to what you’re looking for. Write a clear brief and provide links to examples that you love to help give us a better idea on where to start. Tell us a story that is unique to your business. Don’t be afraid to eliminate designs, and probably most importantly, when choosing a design, don’t do it yourself. Get as many friends, coworkers, business partners and even close clients as you can, to help you decide and give you suggestions. Having more eyes on the project can really help identify which design resonates the best.

Here’s a video of the interview I did with Brian


15 Responses to “designer profile – hoshimo”

  1. prasad Says:

    It’s Very good job

  2. Flatsigns Says:

    Amazing Brian. Well Done! ^____^

  3. Pooja Says:

    Hi,Well done Brian….gud job!!!Even I am a member of 99designs….its great pleasure to work here and getting appreciated from the contest holders…..cheers!!!

  4. Sundeep Kapoor Says:


    I am contacting you in regards to a web design competition I am running on 99designs. I came across some of your web designs and I liked the work you had done.

    I would like to invite you to participate in a contest I am running at:

    If you have any questions, please let me know. I would be glad to help.

    Best regards,


  5. cepo Says:

    You are on the Top

  6. Hey!

    Good job on all the projects! You have to be quite experienced now.

    I just submitted my first contest today, too. Thanks for the tips… My project is for a simple one page Web site used to generate leads. Thought maybe you or someone else might be interested in participating. It has a nice payout! :)

    Best regards,

  7. cgi.memphis Says:

    I ABSOLUTELY love how the video is 4:20 seconds long!!!!

  8. LukeSF Says:

    He-he.. What a suprise! Just had a funny argument with you on one contest recently and here we are! :) Well, then it will be even more exciting to compete :) Keep going on, man! You really make good works!

  9. loydy Says:

    Gud job Idol…

  10. rendy "eRDe" karno Says:

    Hi Brian, first time i saw Your designs I amaze like “who this man, it a great designs”. many contest that I join i always see Your designs with 4-5 stars. and i think this person will disturb me to get the prize. but i think deeply, “I must learn from this people”, just from idea and inspiration. but from the “tools” like drawing or imaging tools i can’t learn from You, because I’m just ordinary people that haven’t a basic arts.

    But i must learn more to beat someone in front of mine, and i believe some day i do

  11. kika Says:

    I have spoke with you in 99designs and I repeat you: I love your job! And I know you now! I have see your face! jejeje

  12. kika Says:

    excuse me, I have seen your face,…. my english is awful!

    What I have learned with 99designs!? speak better the English :)

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