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This weeks interview is with Ben Hermance, product designer, artist, and hot rod architect of Hermance Design. In the world of high end custom automotive design Hermance Design is a well recognized name with a great portfolio of outstanding and recognizable creations.
Ben is a person that I’ve wanted to interview for quite a while, mainly to learn how he’s been able to put together his skill set and business (and in this interview we were able to get both covered)!
He’s a Massachusettes native and grew up with a natural artistic ability and a passion for cars. Like a lot of us he was encouraged to pursue other industries (because everyone knows you can’t make money with hot rods) and entered the career path of designing all sorts of commercial products in the medical and retail markets. A recognizable item that he designed is the “three legged” conference phone by Polycom (nearly every conference room has one)!
One of the things Ben said he learned when designing commercial products was to listen to how people actually use the products he is to design. This translates now into hearing and interpreting what a client wants to see in their project car. “There is a lot of listening to the customer to get it right,” Ben mentioned.
Being a car guy at heart Ben started branching out on his own and began doing some discount (i.e. free) work designing cars for people, building up “word of mouth” advertising, and gaining a reputation for excellence in design work. It was a lot of hard work, but it has paid off. Today’s he’s 5 years into his business, and you likely seen his work recently in the Popular Hot Rodding “Spirit of 76 article”, the Be Cool Bomber, and the Goolsby Pegasus 71 Mustang.
He drew inspiration for industry design superstars Murray Pfaff and Jason Rushforth (both of whom who’ve been guests on this show as well) and is well known around the Pro-touring.com and Lateral-G forum sites. Like Murray and Jason, Ben is a true automotive designer, creating 3-D renderings of finished vehicles that can be used as a build blueprint, complete with functional concept parts designs if the project requires it.
Most recently, Ben has designed his own line of custom wheels called Grip Equipped (Manufactured by Forgeline). Since he’d created many “one-off” wheel designs for customer project that were well received he decided to come up with a series meant to fit the gap between the old school designs and new custom design.
What he’s created is a series that looks great on old and new rides, a few of which even have the “wheel dish” that kids of the ’80′s (like me) will love. Wheels sizes are available in 18″ wheels and up, with stepped-lip options on the 19″ wheels and above.
You can contact Ben at http://www.hermancedesign.com or call him at 508-612-0120.
Thanks for the interview Ben!
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