Does it make sense to just hook off of the basic design?

Is this the best way? When we upgrade will it delete our hooks or no? If we are doing hooks for a new skin should we just hook the basic skin?



Using hooks will not be overwritten unless you are adding actual {hook} tags to the tpl files.

Hooks is the preferred method for local customizations. And yes, it is usually best to pick a skin that is closest to the layout and color scheme you ultimately want and then start adjusting (top to bottom usually) from there.