introducing… jeff harder

The third interview in our series is all about
Jeff Harder. Jeff recently celebrated his seventh year at Foerstel, which is one more reason we all feel lucky to have him as part of the team.  Jeff’s other dream job (besides this one of course) is to get paid for driving a race car. So we are all thrilled that he is willing to be excited about being a designer at Foerstel until his NASCAR sponsorship comes through.

What is your educational background?
Bachelors in Graphic Design from Columbia College Chicago.
Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
Sort of. I knew how to draw and was always interested in all kinds of design—especially Architectural and Industrial Design. I thought designing cars or buildings would be cool but the prospect of complex math and engineering scared me off at the time and I fell into graphics. Little did I know that someone else could have done the engineering part for me…and I’m still stuck with the math.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
When THE IDEA hits you!
What is one of the most important skills to have as a designer?
Criticism is part of the process so make something constructive out of it. I’m still working on that one.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Piloting something fast in the air or on the ground. I love anything that is high performance.
Where do you find inspiration?
As it goes with art and design I find inspiration everywhere. Being a packaging designer, a trip to the grocery store can be a lot more interesting to me than for most I suppose.
What is one of the first creative lessons you learned?
It’s ok to color outside the lines. I’m still working on that one too.
What is on your iPod?
There is a little something from every genre…but the BeeGees were put on there by my wife, I swear.
Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
What is your favorite quote?
“A man who works with his hands is a laborer. A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman. But a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.” -Louis Nizer
Name one random thing about yourself that we probably don’t know
I don’t mind vacuuming.
Do you have any adventures planned?
I am one the unfortunate few that hasn’t made it to Europe yet, so it’s on the short list.
What is your favorite thing about Boise?
My family is here.
What was your last creative pursuit (outside of work)?
My dad has become quite the accomplished woodworker in his retirement so he and I spend time building furniture and such, which is a lot of fun and very rewarding. We have designed and built everything from a foot stool to an entire kitchen. I also spent several years restoring an old car—I’d like to do that again too.

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Tom Foerstel : Founder & President

Tom Foerstel

Founder & President

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s, Tom developed a strong desire to create positive change for people and planet.


He went on to pursue his passion for art and design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and worked for design firms in Southern California before moving to Boise, Idaho in the early 80’s. Foerstel Design opened its doors in 1985. Since its inception, the firm has cultivated a bold, happy, forward-looking team focussed on creating distinct and effective work on behalf of their clients.


An integral part of Tom’s philosophy is giving back to the community in which he lives — a company cornerstone that drives Foerstel’s long history of providing pro-bono services to local non-profit humanitarian and arts programs.


One of Tom’s proudest personal achievements is his ability to say Supercalifragilisticexpyalidocious backwards.