tom foerstel

Meet Tom Foerstel, founder and lead creative.
What is your educational background?
Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California
Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
Yes and no. I thought art was a hobby until I was a freshman in high school. I looked through a catalog from Art Center on my art teacher’s desk and decided that’s what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go to school. That was 1969, and I’ve never looked back.
What made you settle on opening up a creative collective in Boise?
I loved living and working in Los Angeles, but wanted to move to a smaller city to raise my family. Portland and Seattle were on the short list when I saw an ad for an art director at an agency in Boise….  Made a quick road trip up here in early 1981 to interview for a job and find a house to rent. Looking back, it seems very risky and impulsive, but I thought Boise was on the verge of finding itself and becoming a great little city. I moved here in July 1981, worked for a couple of ad agencies (that  no longer exist) and started Foerstel Design in January 1985.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
Everything is fun and exciting in the conceptual stage.
What is one of the most important skills to have as a designer?
Focused imagination. And you’re twice as valuable if you can draw.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Musician. Or hairdresser to the stars!
Where do you find inspiration?
Ongoing interest and discussions about everything creative – art, architecture, furniture, film, theater, music. If I get stuck I can just take a walk outside – being in nature always clears my head, kick-starts my creativity and helps me refocus.
What is one of the first creative lessons you learned?
Don’t take criticism about your work personally.
What is on your iPod?
Hall & Oates, Usher, Vivaldi, Mary J Blige, Van Morrison, Fun Loving Criminals, Citizen Cope, Live, a bunch of ’70s and ’80s stuff, John Lennon, Neil Young. I love live/acoustic versions of just about anything if it is well done.
Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
Playing with the cats, getting ready to go for a hike. Or trying to talk Mikayla into going out for breakfast.
What is your favorite quote?
I love quotes! My current favorite is “Life is the dancer and you are the dance” (Eckhart Tolle).
Name one random thing about yourself that we probably don’t know:
I can say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” backwards.
Do you have any adventures planned?
We go to Italy every spring for Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the Modern Furniture Fair in Milan, and then spend another week somewhere else in Europe. This year we are going to Rome. We are renting apartments in both cities – it will be part of the fun to have the experience of living in the neighborhoods, shopping  at the markets, etc.
What is your favorite thing about Boise?
It sounds like such a cliche but it’s the mix of small town and big city.
What was your last creative pursuit (outside of work)?
Does cooking count? I can have a lot of fun in the kitchen. I am trying to get a band started at work so I can play the drums again, on a regular basis. Also, I started editing all of my old videos into home movies.

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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.