A designer/author's travels through the State of Washington making multiple presentations

Over the past few days I had two speaking engagements and one day-long workshop in three different cities. I covered many different design-related topics in my presentations - and even more highway miles in my travels.

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On Friday evening I was the speaker at a Yakima Ad Federation dinner. My presentation for the event was based on my book, Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands (HOW Books, 2007). An audience of advertising professionals, print house representatives, designers, design students and others made for a fun and interesting evening.

Paul Jones, of The Field Group, initiated discussions about a possible visit to the Yakima, WA group almost a year ago. I appreciate his persistence in working to schedule an event. In recent months, Brett Lamb, Programs Coordinator for the Ad Club and owner of BLAMB, has done a great job of putting together the special event in Yakima. I do want to thank the The Field Group for sponsoring my visit.

The next morning I was hosted by the Graphic Design Department at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. The well-attended presentation, with students from both CWU and Perry Technical Institute, focused on information about design graduates going out into the big, bad world. Much of the presentation content was from my first book, The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success: Ideas and tactics for a killer career. (Savvy Designer was recently released by HOW Books as a PDF on CD) Lola Gallagher, of the university's Campus Life Publicity Center, was incredibly helpful in coordinating and promoting my visit to the school.

My third event in four days was a day-long logo design workshop at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle. It had been 22 years since I had last visited the school - as a reviewer of student portfolios when I lived and worked in Seattle.

A year ago I had contacted Director Larry Asher to introduce an author friend as a possible speaker for SVC. He informed me that "SVC was founded in 1971 with the philosophy that students should learn from top working professionals versus professional educators." The friend I was recommending really didn't fall into the category of "working designer."

Asher added, "[There is a] working designer whose work we admire and he'd definitely be an excellent choice to lead a one-day workshop on identity design. I think you know who I'm talking about!."

That interaction began the process of putting together a logo design workshop for presentation at SVC.

Over the years I've had many speaking engagements at high schools, design eduction facilities, universities, conferences and business meetings. However, in the past I have not presented anything in a workshop format - especially for a 6-7 hour time period. It was challenging for me to create a program for actually teaching a day-long class, with handouts, class activities and hours of related information.

In the end, I opted to base my workshop on my book Identity Crisis!. The discussion, and examples and case studies shown throughout the day, focused on the considerations and process involved in redesigning identities - design aspect I often deal with in my own client work. I now have a well-packaged workshop on identity re-design for possible use as a series of classes, or presentation elsewhere as a similar workshop. (I am currently working on setting up a similar workshop in Portland during the fall of 2009)

Thanks to Asher, and co-director Linda Hunt, for being so welcoming and accommodating in coordinating and hosting my School of Visual Concepts workshop. It was a pleasure to revisit the school after over two decades. I appreciate Hunt's offer to return next year after the release of my upcoming book, Logo•Type.

I have a great deal of appreciation for all of the attendees who participated in my three presentations in the past few days. It was a pleasure to meet so many business professionals, design educators, working graphic designers and design students. I wish you all continued success in your efforts.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Jeff Fisher: The Graphic Design USA
"People to Watch in 2009" interview

In the January issue of Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) I was named one the "People to Watch in 2009." The news monthly has been a leading source of industry information and resources for creative professionals since 1963. The following is the interview published in the magazine and on the GDUSA website:

Jeff Fisher, author of Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands (HOW Books, 2007), is the Engineer of Creative Identity for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. He has received more than 600 regional, national and international design awards for his identity design efforts for small businesses, major corporations, restaurants, government agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and the performing arts. Jeff Fisher LogoMotives was recently named one of the 2008 StartupNation Home-Based 100 by the business website recognizing the top home-based companies in the nation. His work is featured in over 100 books about logos, the design business, and small business marketing. Fisher serves on the HOW Design Conference Advisory Council, and is past member of the HOW Magazine Editorial Advisory Board and UCDA Designer Magazine Editorial Advisory Board. He often writes for industry publications and online resources - including his own bLog-oMotives; judges design industry competitions; and speaks about the design profession to high school classes, design program participants, university students, design industry conferences and business events. His first book, The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success, was released in 2004 (Note: Savvy Designer has been re-released as a PDF on CD). He is currently writing a book, with the working title of Logo•Type, on the topic of typography in identity design. Fisher lives in Portland with his spouse of 19 years, Ed Cunningham.

In this economic downturn, name one thing you have done to weather the tough times. Historically, over the last 30 years, when the economy is at its worst my business is at its best. This is due to promoting myself ALL the time - not waiting until no work is coming in the door to initiate marketing efforts. With no client contact on Fridays, much of that one day each week is spent on self-promotion.

If you weren't a designer, what would you be? A gardener. Gardening has become a passion and my favorite form of therapy.

What's the one thing ALWAYS in your bag that you never leave home without? One of the three to four books I am usually reading at any given time.

If you could spend 15 minutes talking to any person, living or dead, who would it be and why? My great-grandmother, Osie Saltmarsh Cantrall Norris, was from a pioneer family that settled in Southern Oregon in the 1800's — and she was one of the most fascinating people in my life. As a child I spent a great deal of time with her, until she passed away in 1969. As an adult, I would be interested in hearing her perspective on the world of today and how she thinks her great-grandson has done for himself.

If you could work for anyone, a client or on a project, what would it be? It's been 16 years since I created the identity and branding for the Governor Hotel in Portland. It has always been one of my favorite and most enjoyable projects. Creating the graphic identity for a boutique hotel (or chain) would be an exciting challenge again at this point in my career.

ONE THING I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IS:
The loving support of my husband and best friend, Ed

STAR SIGN
I was born on the cusp of Taurus and Gemini - May 21. As my spouse always reminds me, both of my personalities are stubborn.

READING
The entire Jonathan Argyll Art Mystery series by English art historian, novelist and journalist Iain Pears.

FAVORITE TV SHOWS
The old Perry Mason series starring Raymond Burr - which has run at noon on Portland's KPTV since 1966 and I've been watching it since then.

FAVORITE MOVIES
Les Triplettes de Belleville

FAVORITE MUSIC, BAND, SONG
I've known pianist Thomas Lauderdale, of the group Pink Martini, for many years and their music is always in rotation on my iPod, home stereo system and in our vehicles. Jazz and pop vocalist Jacqui Naylor, the close friend of a designer pal of mine, is also someone I listen to all the time.

STRENGTH & WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER
Strength: Continued passion for design after three decades as a professional.
Weakness: Procrastination

NEW YEARS' RESOLUTIONS
I resolve to not make any resolutions. Oops, guess I blew that already.

Interview: Graphic Design USA • Photograph: Ed Cunningham

Toot! Toot!*: Jeff Fisher LogoMotives identities
appear in Japanese book 'Relaxing Graphics'

Two logo designs by Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based Jeff Fisher LogoMotives are featured in the new Japanese book Relaxing Graphics: Warm, Calm, Exhilarating. The volume, from publisher PIE Books, includes Fisher's creations for the Tilikum Center for Retreats & Outdoor Ministries (Newberg, OR) and Bella Terra Landscape Designs (Portland,OR).

Relaxing Graphics showcases design works from around the world which convey visual images for terms such as secure-feeling, heart-warming, kind, brisk, feeling good, comfortable and relaxing; representing harmonious coexistence between nature and humans in printed and digital forms.

The Tilikum identity is a re-design of a previous image representing the retreat center for George Fox University. The logo also appears in The Big Book of Logos 5 and 100's Visual Logos and Letterheads.

The owner of Bella Terra desired a rustic, earthy identity conveying an image of the Italian countryside. The design appears also appears in The Big Book of Logos 5.

Designer Jeff Fisher is the author of Identity Crisis: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities into Successful Brands (HOW Books, 2007). He has received over 600 regional, national and international graphic design awards for his logo and corporate identity efforts and his work is featured in more than over 100 books on the design of logos, the business of graphic design, and small business marketing. His first HOW Books offering, The Savvy Designer’s Guide to Success, appeared on bookstore shelves in late 2004, and has been re-released in PDF format on CD. Fisher is currently writing a book about typography in identity design.

Fisher was recently named one of design industry publication Graphic Design USA’sPeople to Watch in 2009.” In 2008, Jeff Fisher LogoMotives was recognized as one of the top 100 U.S. home-based businesses by the web presence StartupNation

More information about Jeff Fisher, and his design and writing efforts, may be found on the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives blogfolio.

(* If I don’t "toot!" my own horn, no one else will.)

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

My garden awakens from a rough winter

Over the 2008 holidays my garden got clobbered. The day I left for a two-week vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii the snow began. It literally started snowing while I was sitting in the plane on the runway at PDX. While in paradise, our next-door neighbor sent us a photo of some of the snow and ice in our yard (below). When we returned just before New Year's snow and ice still remained from the unusual weather. The damage to many plants was evident. With spring we will be able to inventory what did not survive the extended period of cold.

A landscape crew from Joy Creek Nursery recently spent two days cleaning up the winter storm damage and prepping the garden for spring - with a couple additional snow days thrown in for good measure. The survival of some plants is a bit "iffy." The New Zealand flax in front of the house probably took the biggest hit. The crew cut it back to about one foot from the ground. Our incredible daphne, which split under the weight of snow and ice, received a little repair work - with hopes for a full recovery. Many other crushed and broken plantings received a more drastic and earlier pruning than in previous years.

This past summer I was incredibly proud of my garden becoming a lush paradise (above). In fact, I was thrilled when I completed the front patio - and it appeared on the ApartmentTherapy website.

When the Joy Creek crew was done with their maintenance work I was a bit stunned. The clean-up was much more dramatic than in the past. My garden hasn't been so bare in years (above and below).

With milder temperatures, and several beautiful sunny days, the garden is starting to come alive. The snowdrops, croci and hellabores are blooming (below). Daffodils and other bulbs are pushing through the soil. New growth is appearing on many plants throughout the garden.

Soon I will be back outside "playing in the dirt," and getting a good dose of my garden therapy and inspiration.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Clickety-clacks along the LogoMotives tracks

Jeff Fisher LogoMotives was mentioned and spotted online and in print several times in January. Here's the latest:

People to Watch in 2009
The industry news magazine Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) named me one of their "People to Watch in 2009." It's a very flattering honor. You can read more about the recognition in my "Toot! Toot!" on the subject.

Five Great - and necessary - Marketing Makeovers
Being cited as an expert by Entrepreneur Magazine doesn't happen every day. Writer Gwen Moran asked me to be one of a three-member panel to review five marketing makeovers for the February issue. Of course, being published merited a Toot! as well.

30 Must-Have Logo Books
Design blog You The Designer was kind enough to list my second book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities into Successful Brands, among their must-have logo design books.

Jeff Fisher - Public Portrait | MonoExpression
Graham Smith, of I'm Just Creative, has initiated the site MonoExpression, showcasing black and white photo images of international creatives - along with a short bio or statement.

Over 50 Ways Designers Promote & Brand Themselves
I'm Just Creative brought some attention to the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives identity with their post about self-branding by designers and design firms

20 Weird Logos That Work (and Why They Do)
I don't remember my own logo ever previously being referred to as "weird." Well, VECTORTUTS has now done so in a piece written by designer Chris Spooner. I'm glad they think the design works.

© 2009 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:

European Design Awards
(EDAwards - Greece)
Deadline: 14 February 2009
Entry fees charged

Summit Creative Award
(Summit International Awards - USA)
Deadline Extended: 18 February 2009
Entry fees charged

Best of the Web
(CMYK Magazine - USA)
Deadline Extended: 23 February 2009
Entry fees charged

Advertising Annual 2010
(Graphis - USA)
Deadline Extended: 23 February 2009
Entry fees charged

Basics: Logos
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 28 February 2009
No entry fees charged

Wine Labels
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 28 February 2009
No entry fees charged

Best of Business Card Design 9
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline: 1 March 2009
No entry fees charged

Handmade Graphics
(Rotovision - UK)
Deadline: 2 March 2009
No entry fees charged

Designing for the Greater Good
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 6 March 2009
No entry fees charged

Communication Arts Illustration Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 6 March 2009
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Photography Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 6 March 2009
Entry fees charged

Photography Annual 2010
(Graphis - USA)
Deadline: 16 March 2009
Entry fees charged

APEX Awards for Publication Excellence
(APEX Awards - USA)
Deadline: 17 March 2009
Entry fees charged

HOW Promotion Design Awards 2009
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 20 March 2009
Entry fees charged

American Inhouse Design Awards
(Graphic Design USA - USA)
Deadline Extended: 31 March 2009
Entry fees charged

The Mini Book of Great Logos
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 31 March 2009
No entry fees charged

Best Bio Packaging, Volume 1
(Design & Design - France)
Deadline: 31 March 2009
No entry fees charged

Killed Ideas
(Killed Ideas - USA)
Deadline: 31 March 2009
No entry fees charged

American Web Design Awards
(Graphic Design USA - USA)
Deadline: 31 March 2009
Entry fees charged

PRINT's Regional Design Annual
(PRINT Magazine - USA)
Deadline Extended: 1 April 2009
Entry fees charged

Design Matters: Portfolios
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline: 3 April 2009
No entry fees charged

The Big Book of Green Design
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 4 April 2009
No entry fees charged

Retro Style Graphics
(Angela Patchell Books - UK)
Deadline Extended: 15 April 2009
No entry fees charged

Aspiring Creatives #45
(CMYK Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 20 April 2009
Entry fees charged

New Talent Annual 2010
(Graphis - USA)
Deadline: 11 May 2009
Entry fees charged

Annual Reports Annual 2010
(Graphis - USA)
Deadline: 11 May 2009
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Design Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 1 June 2009
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Advertising Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 9 June 2009
Entry fees charged

Wolda '09
(Eulda Books - Italy)
Deadline: 30 June 2009 (logos designed in 2008)
Deadline: 31 January 2010 (logos designed in 2009)
Entry fees charged

The Best of Sports Marketing & Design
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline: 1 October 2009
No entry fees charged

Communication Arts Interactive Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 5 October 2009
Entry fees charged

(To make sure you are reading the latest bLog-oMotives design competition update click here.)

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.

Design competition calendars are also available at Icograda and Workbook. L├╝rzer's ARCHIVE also has an impressive online list of competitions sponsored by international magazines and organizations. Dexinger posts 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.

My own work appears in nearly 100 graphic design books. Many of those inclusions are the result of design competitions, or requests for submissions, like those listed above.

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

Good luck!

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives