Nothing like a slap in the face
to wake up a design community in the morning

Yesterday the discussion on the Graphic Design forum was primarily about the poor ad placement on the Graphic Design home page. Mutiny was being discussed - and, to be honest, I don't know if I want to be supporting a site that obviously has little concern or respect for their professional graphic design community. It's unfortunate, especially as I have been an active member of the valuable discussion forum for nearly a decade. The rotating ads were popping up again on the site this morning:

Even odder, and on the same general topic, was the email I received a few weeks ago from a marketing representative of HP. She explained that following a visit to my website she was wondering if I would be interested in a link exchange with the recently acquired "logo design" division of the HP company.


© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Identity Crisis! travels country with
QuickBooks "Just Start" campaign

This past week, while I was on vacation in Italy, Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks Simple Start 2008, held their initial "Just Start" event in Seattle's Westlake Center (above) to announce the free distribution of the product. My business, Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, and my newly released book Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands, are featured in the "Just Start" Gallery of proven entrepreneurial businesses for the event (below). The product rollout, and the traveling exhibit, will also be seen in Chicago's Union Center - Great Hall (November 1-2), Grand Central Terminal - Vanderbilt Hall in New York City (November 8-9) and Boston's South Station (November 13-14).

As a QuickBooks user, I joined Intuit's JumpUp online networking community this past year. This past June did a spotlight on my business efforts. I was recently asked to occasionally write a blog entry for the JumpUp site and Designs on Business was the result. This relationship with resulted in being asked to participate in the "Just Start" event series.

Already trusted by more than 300,000 small business owners nationwide, QuickBooks Simple Start is full-featured accounting software. Known for its drop-dead ease of use, Simple Start focuses on the essentials of tracking "money in" and "money out," as well as keeping key business data organized for tax time. With this free accounting software, entrepreneurs can now easily establish the financial habits that will help them get their business successfully off the ground. The small business financial software, with previous versions valued at $99.95, is available for free download at

Further supporting entrepreneurs, Intuit also announced its nationwide "Just Start" campaign with a chance to win a $50,000 business startup grant. The campaign is designed to empower the many Americans who aspire to run their own business to take the next step and "Just Start." Along with a contest for $50,000, "Just Start" offers the encouragement and guidance aspiring entrepreneurs need to get started via the events in Seattle, Chicago, New York City and Boston. Go to for more information.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Still time to enter Holli Conger's
First Annual Pumpkin Junkin' Contest

Holli Conger has been one of my favorite illustrators for quite a few years now. I always enjoy getting her emails, as I never know what they may bring. Today I got a reminder message from her about the First Annual Pumpkin Junkin' Exhibit & Contest. The deadline of October 31st is fast approaching. Artists around the world are encouraged to use and abuse a pumpkin with found objects, creating a masterpiece to share in the 2007 Pumpkin Junkin' Gallery. All the rules are on the official site.

Worldwide exposure of your pumpkin creation is not the only benefit of participation. There's a grand prize of one of Holli's great original Junk A Doodles illustration pieces. She's even lined up illustrators Paige Pooler, Robyn Fabsits and Andi Butler as judges.

By the way, be sure to check out Holli's fun illustration work.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Buona sera from Segromigno in Monte

There hasn't been much on the bLog-oMotives front lately because we've been in Italy for the past week. Home base is a beautiful house in Segromigno in Monte outside of Lucca in Tuscany. Last night we got back from three days in Venice - and I'm the third member of our four-person travel group that has come down with some kind of flu-ish bug. I'm glad we're going to be hanging out at Casa Mennone the next few days and seeing just how much of nothing we can accomplish. Hopefully we will get out to explore a bit more in the coming week. Now we're enjoying reading, home-cooked meals, great wine and napping in the sun.

I've posted some of our photos from the past week on my Flickr page.


© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Dizzy no more

Thanks to all the people who have asked about my recovery from three plus years of dealing with vertigo issues. I've been getting asked about my improved health on forums, via email and even on the street. I hope that the information I have shared has been helpful to those seeking relief from their own vertigo issues, or of assistance to those seeking additional information for love ones, friends, neighbors and co-workers experiencing chronic vertigo or dizziness.

Tomorrow it will be five weeks since my last treatment at Dr. John Epley's clinic, and since then I've had no vertigo issues at all. I still have one weird thing happening ever since the treatment. Almost every day, I get a really bad headache between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. The suspicion is that it is due to eye strain as my vision has to re-adjust to being in balance once again.

I can now get out of bed without feeling like I am immediately going to fall over. I am able to shampoo my hair without holding on to the wall and keeping my eyes open. I no longer get disoriented in shopping malls or stores. I can drive on the freeway without having a panic attack, and go over high bridges without being nauseous - however, I do get this weird feeling of anxiety in my chest waiting for what no longer happens to happen. When I stop the car at a stop sign/light, or to park, the vehicle doesn't feel as if it continuing to move forward. I can parallel park again. There is no longer any dizziness associated with my allergies, heat or movement. Elevators and escalators done bother me much at all now. I don't lose my balance in the dark - or feel as if I am spinning while laying in bed. In fact, my night blindness issues seem to have gone away. I recently drove at night - for the first time in about five years - and could see very clearly. I no longer feel as if I am trapped in my own house - because, in the past, I never knew what might happen in regards to the vertigo (or panic attacks) if I went out into the world.

I have more energy than I've had in years. I've also lost just over five pounds this past month - probably because I can get up and move around much more without fear of falling over.

In the past, traveling has been a bit of a challenge due to the vertigo - but I never let it stop me completely from one of my greatest pleasures. I suppose I am feeling a bit of anxiety today as we leave for Italy for two weeks. Hopefully the trip will be one great dizzy-free adventure.

I have my life back. I actually sat down one day and wrote a thank you note to my doctor for giving me life back through his treatments. I was so lucky to be a patient of one of the leading experts on vertigo - and to have him be here in Portland.

How my partner Ed put up with me the past three years, I do not know. I suppose it would be best if I didn't question it, and was just grateful that he did.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Calls for entries:

Upcoming design competition deadlines

All of the following competitions deadlines present great opportunities to showcase your design efforts, market your work on an international scale through the published books, and "toot!" your own horn to clients, peers and the media:

Symbols: Silhouettes - Icons - Pictograms
(Index Book - Spain)
No specific deadline posted
No entry fees charged

STEP design 100
(STEP inside design - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 October 2007
Entry fees charged

Helvetica NOW Poster Contest
Deadline: 24 October 2007
No entry fees charged

Print & Production Finishes for Sustainable Design
(Rotovision - UK)
Deadline: 31 October 2007
No entry fees charged

Best of Brochure Design 10
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline: 1 November 2007
No entry fees charged

1000 Package Designs
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline Extended: 1 November 2007
No entry fees charged

PRINT’s International Art and Commerce Design Review
(PRINT Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 November 2007

(AIGA San Francisco - USA)
Deadline: 9 November 2007
Entry fees charged

American Corporate Identity 24
(David E. Carter - USA)
"Early Bird" Deadline: 19 November 2007
"Last Call" Deadline: 21 December 2007
Entry fees charged

Graphex 2008
(GDC - Canada)
Deadline: 23 November 2007
Entry fees charged

American Package Design Awards
(Graphic design:usa - USA)
Deadline: 30 November 2007
Entry fees charged

ADI Design Award: Graphic Design Annual
(Art Design Institute of China Academy of Art)
Deadline: 30 November 2007
No entry fees to foreign entrants

The Design Green Project
(Area of Design - USA)
Deadline: 30 November 2007
Entry fees charged

A Tribute to Typography
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 1 December 2007
No entry fees charged

I.D. Annual Design Review
(I.D. Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 December 2007
Entry fees charged

I.D. Student Design Review
(I.D. Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 February 2008
Entry fees charged

2008 Gold Quill Awards
(International Association of Business Communicators - IABC)
Early-bird deadline: 5 February 2008
Final deadline: 12 February 2008

Entry fees charged

You may want to read my article about participating in design industry competitions: A Winning Strategy. It has appeared on the Creative Latitude and NO!SPEC web sites. A list of design competition links appears at the end of the article.

Design competition calendars are also available at Icograda and Workbook. DesignTaxi and Dexinger post competitions of great value to industry professionals - however designers need to be aware that some of the listings are for "spec" work as a requirement for submission. Requests for new, or speculative, work as a condition of entering a "contest" are much different than legitimate design competition "calls for entries," in which previously created works are judged for possible awards, exhibition, or publication in an annual or other book.

For the perspecctive from the other side of design competitions, I wrote a recent bLog-oMotives entry about judging the 2007 Summit Creative Awards.

Good luck!

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Design studio housecleaning - excavated artifact #15

The bit of my design career past I found this past week is different than most of my previously posted excavated artifacts. In addition to filing away examples of past logo design projects, I've been going through a stack of old articles written about my work and archiving them. I came across a clipping, from the U.K. newspaper The Sunday Times, in which a logo I designed is critiqued by Lisa Godson. In my entire career it is the only piece of my work reviewed by a major publication

The logo was created for a web development firm in Dublin, Ireland by the name of DesignEire. The project was one of the first international projects I had done entirely by way of the Internet. The review appeared as part of Godson's regular column "Designer Ireland" on June 6, 2004.

No. 237: DesignEire

The most impressive item in DesignEire’s portfolio is themselves — or rather their logo. It has won international awards, been featured in graphic design manuals as an example of excellence and is utterly distinctive.

The logo is a representation of the D and E of the company name, and plays on visual perception. The letters are placed back to back, this snugness an allusion to their part in a composite word. The E is a curved Celtic uncial, and so at first glance the design appears to depict two back-to-back semi-circles.

It seems almost abstract, with the negative space formed by the two curves emphasised visually by being rendered in white. As the brightest element in the composition, the eye is drawn first to this non-signifying abstract shape — the leftover part of the design forming the central focus, in a subversion of the norm.

Another unusual aspect of the design is the use of dark colours. The shape enclosed by the D is in indigo, and that of the E in a dark leaf green. The allusion here seems to be to cosmopolitanism on the one hand and the local on the other. With a name like DesignEire, it is clear the company wants to be associated with Ireland, but it also works for international clients. The logo is certainly more subtle than the cheeky name — the use of the terms design and Eire make it sound like an official state design organisation rather than a small commercial firm.

The appeal of the logo is not just a cerebral one of optical illusions and allusions but an emotional one. The letters and shapes of it are all marked out in thick black line, and coupled with the strong colours gives it a hand-drawn, child-like air. It is designed as much as an illustration as a corporate trademark — in fact, it is more suggestive of the work of Roger Hargreaves, creator of the Mr Men books than that of a contemporary graphic designer.

Lisa Godson is tutor in Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art. She was previously a lecturer in the Department of the History of Art, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology and elsewhere, wrote a weekly column on Irish design for the Sunday Times for six years, and worked as a curator and consultant to the National Museum of Ireland. Godson also wrote the limited edition book Stealing Hearts from a Travelling Show: The Graphic Design of U2.

As mentioned in the review, the DesignEire logo did receive its fair share of additional recognition. The design won a Summit Creative Award (Silver) and appears in the books The Big Book of Logos 3, New Logo World (Japan), Graphically Speaking, Global Corporate Identity, and Logo Design for Small Business 2.

It's interesting to look back on the critique of the design. The simplicity of the finished design has always made it one of my personal favorites. Once again, I'm glad I never throw anything away.

Content of review © Copyright 2007 Times Newspapers Ltd. • bLog-oMotives and logo image © 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.