Toot! Toot!*: Jeff Fisher featured in HOW Magazine article about new corporate culture adaptation

Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based design firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, is featured in an article in the "Creative Talent" issue of HOW Magazine. The piece, "Office Anthropologist," written by Julie Sims, appears in the August 2009 issue of the publication.

Sims, the director of communications strategy for The Creative Group, interviewed Fisher, author of The Savvy Designer’s Guide to Success, and Lionel Carreon, a recruiter for San Francisco-based digital marketing firm AKQA. The experts provided tips and tactics for creatives adapting to corporate cultures following the acceptance of new employment opportunities.

HOW Magazine strives to serve the business, technological and creative needs of graphic-design professionals. The magazine provides a practical mix of essential business information, up-to-date technological tips, the creative whys and hows behind noteworthy projects, and profiles of professionals who are influencing design. Founded in 1985, the HOW brand now extends beyond the print magazine to annual events for design professionals, yearly design competitions, digital products and books. The magazine is published in Cincinnati by F&W Media.

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.

In January, Fisher was 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

A clown walks into a conference...

When prepping for my presentation at the 2009 HOW Design Conference in Austin, Texas, I had no intention of incorporating my recent clown school, and clowning around, experience as the Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corps member Toots Caboose. I did feel that the evolution of Toots might make a good future presentation in regards to establishing an identity or persona, creating a brand around such a entity, and the marketing and promoting of that character. However, my HOW Conference presentation - Why Pay For It When You Can Get It For Free - was about social networking as a marketing and promotion tool and I felt it needed to be focused much more on the serious business of design.

Photo by Karen Larson

I was just getting out of my taxi after arriving at the Austin Hilton when a young woman walked by and, with disappointment in her voice, said, "Oh, you're not wearing your clown costume." The comment caught me off guard.

After checking into my room and freshening up a bit, I headed to the registration desk in the Austin Convention Center. In the lobby of the hotel I ran into Stefan Mumaw, one of the authors of Caffeine for the Creative Mind and Caffeine for the Creative Team. The first thing he said to me was, "I've got to tell you, I love the clown thing. I really want to talk to you more about being a clown."

Later, I ran into Justin Ahrens of the firm Rule29 and he told me that my clowning experience was helping him overcome his fear of clowns. He relayed a story of his wife Sarah coming into a room while he was on his computer. When asked what he was doing, he explained the he was "looking at photos of his friend Jeff - the clown."

The topic of my clowning was brought up again when I saw my editor Amy Schell, of HOW Design Books. She asked if Toots was going to be making an appearance in Austin.

OK, this was all getting to be a little strange. I had intended to keep my clowning and conference speaker duties separate - at least for the HOW Conference. Everyone seemed to know about Toots Caboose and my clowning was all they wanted to discuss.

The TOO early in the morning Design Economic Summit panel - Steve Gordon, Daniel Schutzsmith, Andy Epstein, myself, Megan Slabinski of The Creative Group and moderator Jeni Herberger. Photo by Karen Larson

Later that evening it hit me. All the comments about my clowning and Toots were a result of my promoting my clowning experience by way of social networking. I'd written about the experience on bLog-oMotives. I had posted updates about Toots on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and elsewhere. Photo galleries of the Portland Rose Festival/Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corps had been established on both Flickr and Facebook. Following the Rose Festival events, several clowns - including Toots Caboose - continued on as members of the Stumptown Clowns. Again, I used all the same social networking tools to promote the activities of the troupe. Flickr and Facebook galleries were also used to archive photo images.

I realized that Toots needed to make a HOW Conference appearance in some form. I sent an email to my parter Ed, back in Portland, stating that I thought I was going to be necessary to have him overnight my official Toots Caboose nose to Austin. Of course, introducing Toots to the conference audience was going to require totally restructuring my presentation.

Ed called me and asked if I really wanted to spend $40-50 to ship my nose to Texas? I told him that I needed to do so and it would be more than worth it in the end.

At 3:30 AM I completed redoing my presentation for later that same day. With just a few hours sleep, I was at the convention center at 8:00 AM for the Design Economic Summit for which I was a panel member with Steve "RDQLUS" Gordon, Daniel Schutzsmith, Andy Epstein, Megan Slabinski and Jeni Herberger (above). Following the panel I ran back to my hotel room to go over my presentation a couple more times. At 10:30 AM the package with my clown nose arrived at the hotel. My lunch-hour was spent at the great in-house designer luncheon, organized by conference attendee Brad Dressler, at the Rio Grande restaurant. I showed up at 2:00 PM for my HOW Conference Bookstore signing to the realization that they still had me scheduled at the old time of 3:15 PM, with a session that was starting at 3:45. With the book signing rescheduled for 5:00 PM, it was back to my hotel for a quick shower and change of attire.

My session was very well attended - with some people having to sit on the floor. HOW Conference pal Karen Larson came into the room with a "big gulp" gin and tonic for me and it was time for the event to begin.

The initial portion of my presentation remained much the same as I had originally planned - and then I showed a slide with my mother's advice of "Don't be a clown." (above). With that image, my clown nose was put into position and I went through the process of how social networking had been used to promote the activities of Toots Caboose and his fellow clowns. I explained that the same tactics may be used to market an independent designer or a design firm.

With clown nose in place, I conducted a question and answer session, followed by the signing of books, the taking of some photos and introductions by several of my session attendees.

One of the people introducing themselves was Emily Gordon, the editor of Print. We had a great conversation - all the while there was a clown nose on my face. She later posted on her Facebook page that my session was "one of the high points of the conference!"

Already late to my book signing, I headed out into the convention center hallway to HOW Magazine editor Bryn Mooth, Steve Gordon and Justin Ahrens laughing and shaking their heads at my big red nose. Donovan Beery, of 36point, grabbed me and Toots made a quick cameo on the Reflex Blue Show, which was broadcasting live from the HOW Conference. All I had time for was a quick "hi" to the listening audience.

Toots and his friend Debbie Millman

Throughout my book signing, for Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands and the PDF on CD version of The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success, the nose remained in place. It was fun having conversations with students, design peers and those interested in future speaking engagements while all acted if a clown nose was not unusual. Jeni Herberger showed up to take me away to the next obligation - the annual conference Portfolio Review sponsored by The Creative Group. Along the way we ran into Toots' friend Debbie Millman and the meeting presented a lovely photo opportunity (above). Wearing my Toots Caboose nose, I offered constructive criticism to those who presented portfolios for review by design "experts." Again, I got a bit of the head-shaking and a smirk from my friend Julie Sims as she coordinated the reviewers. A friend reminded one participant that he was taking critical career advice "from a clown."

It was then time for dinner. Neil Tortorella, Steve Gordon, Karen Larson, Jeni Herberger and Toots went out into the 107 degree heat for a several block walk to the incredible Iron Works BBQ. The nose remained in place until we were seated. I then felt as if I was melting and removed the Toots proboscis.

Although I had not been in full Toots Caboose attire, the essence of Toots was present at the HOW Design Conference in Austin. It had been a great opportunity to show how social networking can be used as a marketing tool - and that clowning and design are serious business.

Note: A great little bonus of my clowning around at the HOW Conference was an attendee introducing herself as Austin hometown clown Lovey Dovey!

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Toot! Toot!*: "Killed Ideas, Vol. 1" gives second life to rejected C.A.T. design from Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

A logo concept by Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based design firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, is one of 50 projects selected from around the world to appear in the book "Killed Ideas, Vol 1." The volume, released by the creative online publishing entity Blurb®, showcases some of the best creative marketing ideas that never saw the light of day. Curated by AdRants founder Steve Hall, the book has been released as a special limited edition and is not for sale, but will be popping up in various places around the world in the coming weeks.

Fisher's selected design was the result of a request from the Cat Adoption Team organization to participate in a pro bono effort to create a new identity for the "no-kill" feline facility. In an "a-ha" design moment, while doodling one day, the designer came up with C, A and T letterforms creating a cat image. Confidently presented to the nonprofit's appreciative marketing, advertising and design-savvy Executive Director, the identity idea still required approval of the Board of Directors. With the governing body, the concept was DOA for not being "warm and friendly enough."

The ideas in "Killed Ideas, Vol. 1" represent the blood, sweat and tears of many creatives who poured the best of themselves into their work, which never ultimately saw production. Photographers, designers, artists and creative agencies representing more than 31 countries and 170 brands submitted their best killed ideas to be considered for inclusion in the book. Book curator Hall selected 50 finalists whose work has now been brought back to life in "Killed Ideas, Vol. 1." From print to radio to interactive, "Killed Ideas, Vol. 1" applauds creativity in all forms.

"I was blown away by the creativity we were exposed to over the course of this project - it's astonishing that some of these ideas remained on the cutting room floor until now," said Steve Hall, Curator of Killed Ideas, Vol. 1. "Inside this book, you will find fifty wonderful ideas. Great ideas. Insightful ideas. Ideas that should be appreciated. Ideas that should have an audience beyond their creator."

"For the Blurb team, it was truly inspiring to be involved in this project, and to bring these ideas to life in a book for them to be shared, kept, and experienced," said Eileen Gittins, founder and CEO, Blurb. "Congratulations to all whose work is represented in Killed Ideas, Vol. 1. We celebrate rampant creativity daily, and you're the reason we do what we do - awesome work, all!"

Others may now express their opinions of the 50 selected projects, through June 30th, by voting for the book's People's Choice Award at KilledIdeas.com. Through registering their emails, site visitors have the chance to win the one copy of "Killed Ideas, Vol. 1" made available each day during that time period. Fisher will also make several copies available during the 2009 HOW Conference in Austin, Texas. He will make use of social networking tools to give the books away.

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.

In January, Fisher was 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

Clowning Around: Toots in Portland Pride Parade

Stumptown Clown pals Lou, Pippa, Trip and Toots Caboose preparing for the 2009 Pride Parade though downtown Portland

Following attendance at Clown School, and a great experience as part of the Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corps for the Portland Rose Festival, my clown pal Pippa suggested that those interested in clowning around a bit more participate in the 2009 Portland Pride Parade. As the event was not an official Rose Festival event we would need to march under a new clown troupe moniker. Pippa came up with the name "Stumptown Clowns."

In my odd logo designer mind, as soon as I was made aware of the name, I literally saw the words visually as a potential clown face. The "U" letterform in the word "Stumptown" could become a winking eye, with the "O" in the term creating another eye that was wide open. It only made sense that the "O" in "Clown" would become a big red clown nose. With the suggestion that the Stumptown Clowns needed an identifying sign for the parade, the logo design became a reality. (Thanks to Kathy at Signs Northwest for creating our signage!)

Toots Caboose, Lou, Trip and Pippa had a great time marching through downtown Portland - cheered on by the large and enthusiastic crowds. I saw many friends along the way, including Just Out editor/publisher Marty Davis. Just Out had recently published a great article about Toots Caboose. I also ran into design buddy Christian Messer, of Whiplash Design. Messer is preparing to venture into the world of publishing himself, with an August official launch of his magazine id Magzine. I really appreciated all the cheers, yells of "Toots!" and hugs during the parade.

Many parade-watchers got photos of the the Stumptown Clowns in action during the Portland Pride Parade. Take a look at the images in the Stumptown Clowns Flickr gallery.

I saw many past identity design clients, in the Portland GLBT community, showcasing logos I had designed for them on parade banners, floats, T-shirts, trucks and elsewhere. I saw my designs for Love Makes A Family, Our House of Portland, Metropolitan Community Church of Portland and Esther's Pantry. I'm sure there were others along the parade route that I didn't see.

It was yet another great day of clowning around for Toots Caboose.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Toot! Toot!*: Jeff Fisher LogoMotives business card featured in new Japanese design book

The business card of Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, is featured in the new Japanese design volume MEISHI: Little Graphic Art Gallery of the World. Produced by the International Creators' Organization, the 272-page book displays business cards from designers in 28 countries.

This past year Fisher updated his business card, from a similar design, to reflect the growing aspects of his business. The previous card, a letter press effort, is featured in the book The Big Book of Business Cards. The latest version of the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives card also appears in the German volume Letterhead and Business Cards from publisher zeixs.

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.

In January, Fisher was 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

LogoMotives Design Tracks: Critters • Part 2

Animal life has been the subject of a large number of my logo design efforts - back to my college days in the late 1970s. Below are some examples, presented as "Critters • Part 2."

Virtual Office
Client: Virtual Office
Location: Yachats, OR USA

The logo for a virtual office assistant, with the lizard imagery being a personal request of the client. The design is featured in New Logo & Trademark Design (Japan), The New Big Book of Logos, and New Logo: One (Singapore).

Good Pig, Bad Pig
Client: Good Pig, Bad Pig
Location: Portland, OR USA

Owner Brett Bigham provided the illustration for his greeting card company identity. The logo appears in the books Really Good Logos, Explained, 100's Visual Logos and Letterheads and Logos from North to South America (Spain).

Chinese Student Association
Client: Chinese Student Association - University of Oregon
Location: Eugene, OR USA

One of my earliest logo designs, done while I was in college - and the first for which I won a design award.

Sisters Rodeo
Client: Sisters Rodeo Association
Location: Sisters, OR USA

This identity was included when the Sisters Rodeo was inducted into the Library of Congress “Local Legacies" archive. The rodeo logo received an Award of Merit in the Central Oregon Drake Awards and a Silver in the Summit Creative Awards. It also is featured in The Big Book of Logos 3, LogoLounge - Volume 1 and Design for Special Events.

The Kelly Wedding
Client: Tim & Kristin Kelly
Location: Portland, OR USA

Some friends asked me to create a personal icon to be used on their wedding invitation, napkins, thank you cards and a calling card. Her nickname is 'Fish;' his is 'Bird." The image appears in the books International Logos & Trademarks IV, New Logo & Trademark Design (Japan), New Business Card Graphics 2 (Japan) and The New Big Book of Logos.

Chameleon
Client: Micki King/Chameleon Salon
Location: Portland, OR USA

Personal logo for a hairstylist who desired images of swirls, and a yin/yang reference, in her identity featuring a chameleon. The font is Kells Round from P22. The logo appears in the books LogoLounge 4 and 100's Visual Logos and Letterheads.

Check out other Logo Design Tracks from Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

Note: Many of the books mentioned in this post may be found at the LogoMotives Design Depot Bookstore.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Seriously, all clowning aside, I'd consider
the purchase of a Ford Escape Hybrid

There was no test driving of the 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid on Saturday. Toots Caboose was a little consumed with the Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corps making their major appearance in the Grand Floral Parade for the Portland Rose Festival.

With my allergies kicking in big time there was little hope for my participation today as a judge for the "pirates and princesses" costume contest at the festival's Waterfront Village. Instead, my partner Ed and decided to run a couple Sunday errands in the Escape. It was a beautiful day to drive with the sunroof open as we went to the local home improvement store to pick up some storage bins, to a bookstore for a copy of the Sunday New York Times, and to the home of some friends to borrow their pressure washer. Ed, being a total technology geek was checking out the GPS system, toying with the digital display screen, and testing the vehicle's Bluetooth capabilities with his Blackberry. All seemed to meet with his approval.

By folding down the back seats there was plenty of room to haul what we picked up along the our morning drive. Ed commented that he was surprised there were not more strategically located hooks in the back to secure the pressure washer from moving around.

His comment made me realize I haven't mentioned that my only complaint about the Escape was that the emergency brake release latch seemed to a little more difficult to reach than most cars I've driven - and I have long arms. Being reminded of that issue made me consider that I had not yet checked out the roominess of the back seat. I was pleasantly surprised that, with the front seats positioned for the driver and passenger to be comfortable, my 6' 1" frame - with long legs - had plenty of room as a passenger in the back.

Ed found it very humorous that I was so pleased with the hook on the driver's side floor that kept the floor mat in place. One of my biggest pet peeves about my Ford Ranger is that the floor mat sometimes finds its way up under the clutch, gas and brake pedals and it can really be a safety and driving hazard.

We both agreed that, as outfitted, the MSRP (including vehicle, options, destination and delivery) of $33,725.00 was very reasonable for the Escape.

Sadly, late today the Ford Escape was going to be picked up and my test driving experience was coming to an end. Feeling less handicapped by my allergies, I decided to run a few more of the errands I hadn't completed yesterday.

At the gas station the fact I was test driving a new 2010 vehicle created a lot of conversation from the employees. They hadn't seen the latest Ford Escape Hybrid and they were quite impressed.

I then stopped by the Arbor Lodge New Seasons Market (above) to give the Escape a test of major concern in my neighborhood - maneuverability in a very crowded parking lot with small individual spaces. There was absolutely no problem getting around the lot, which was filled with morning delivery trucks (and the usual large number of Volvos, BMWS and Subarus), or parking in a space designed for a small car.

Following a stop at the Kenton Post Office, to pick up my business mail from my P.O. Box, I decided to swing by the Peninsula Park Rose Garden (above) - an annual pilgrimage during Portland Rose Festival time. The spectacular garden has over 10,000 rose plantings.

With gardening on my mind, and a birthday gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket, I headed over to one of my favorite retail therapy locations, Marbott's Greenhouse & Nursery (1808 NE Columbia Blvd; 503.285.2106), to pick up some more annuals for my own garden. On the heavily traveled industrial area roads the Escape held its own. Again, with the poor condition of the streets, I was pleased with the relatively smooth ride.

Arriving back home with my purchases, my five-day test of the 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid came to an end. I suppose the best review I can give is that, if I was in the market for a new vehicle, I would seriously consider buying an Escape. I'm not "clowning around" at all when I make that statement.

I would like to thank the Social Media Group and the Ford Motor Company for the opportunity to test drive the Ford Escape Hybrid.

Read the other bLog-oMotives entries about my Ford Escape Hybrid test drive here.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Clowning Around: Toots in Grand Floral Parade

Pippa and Toots Caboose by Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian

I think I need to check myself into some kind of recovery program following my experiences as Toots Caboose, a member of the Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corps for the annual Portland Rose Festival. It's been one of the best experiences of my life. However, I'm a bit melancholy today - perhaps it's clown withdrawal.

Yesterday the Character Clown Corps participated in the Key Bank Grand Floral Parade. It was incredible being a part of the major parade for the 102-year-old Portland tradition.

Dolly, Auguste, Toots Caboose and Donnie with two future clowns in the VIP Area at Memorial Coliseum. Photo from gallery at KGW.com

Toots and some of his clown pals began the day, early in the morning, entertaining individuals in the VIP area just outside the Memorial Coliseum. After having a photo taken with the just crown Rose Festival Queen Rachel Seeman, and cheering on the thousands of walkers in the Regence Grand Floral Walk, it was time get into position for the 4.5 mile parade. It was exhilarating to be introduced to cheering crowd as we walked through the Coliseum and out onto NE Broadway.

The parade took us south on Martin Luther King Blvd, across the Burnside Bridge and on a winding route through the streets of downtown Portland. The slight drizzle certainly didn't dampen the spirits of the huge crowd lining the streets - estimated by some to be as high as 500,000 people. It was great see so many friends, both adults and kids, cheering us on. Many people were yelling "Toots!" I assume some were familiar with my clown persona due to the recent Just Out article about my clowning experience. I didn't see the "We Love Toots!" sign, but I sure heard about it from my clown friends.

During one pause in the movement of the parade a woman in the audience got my attention. She said, "I want to thank you and all the clowns; you've done a wonderful job."

After completing our parade entertaining, it was great to sit on the curb near Lincoln High School and get to watch part of the beautiful parade. A bit later my partner Ed picked me up and, after I told him I was incredibly hungry, he took me to the Arbor Lodge New Seasons to get a sandwich from the deli. I loved the fact that so many people acted as if it was perfectly normal to see a clown in a grocery store. One woman walked past me, came back and grabbed my arm, and said. "I just walked past a clown. I'm also a clown and it makes me so happy to see you here."

A tired and hungry Toots Caboose waiting for his sandwich at the Arbor Lodge News Seasons Market

The Grand Floral Parade was televised locally by KGW Newschannel 8 and a video clip of the Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corp is on the station website (right after the commercial). Additional photos are available on my Flickr page.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

[Ford] Escape to Springfield - and more

Just a typical week here at Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

Right.

It's time for the major annual Portland Rose Festival events and I'm Toots Caboose, a member of the Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corps. I'm also heading down to Springfield to make a presentation about social networking at the Spring Conference of the Healthcare Communicators of Oregon. Work-wise, the new signage for DiPrima Dolci, my neighborhood Italian bakery is being finalized - as is the long-awaited branding for RiverWest Acupuncture.

Oh, and I'm test-driving the 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid for the Ford Motor Company.

I've been driving the Escape around Portland for a couple of days now. It's a great city car. The size makes it easy to park and I like the fact that, similar to my own Ford Ranger, a driver sits up high enough to clearly see what is going on in the frenetic combination of city walkers, bike riders, runners, out-of-town Rose Festival visitors, road construction crews and everyday business commuters. The vehicle handles really well and provides a smooth ride on the rather bumpy streets of Portland. I'm still adapting to the silence of the Hybrid switching over from traditional gas engine to battery at stops.

Yesterday, I zipped over to Extracto for my weekly "coffee therapy" with my friend Brooke. With parking right out in front (photo above), I noticed several people eying the kind of sexy Escape as they walked into the coffee house, or enjoyed their espresso from a window table.

After Brooke and I had solved the problems of the world, and she'd left for work, I was joined by collaborator Jennie Vinson, of Mission First Marketing, to go over some project elements for our client RiverWest Acupuncture. As she walked into Extracto, Jennie said "Great looking car."

The rest of my day was spent easily running errands around Portland in preparation for my one-day drive to Springfield and back, and my clown stint in the Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade.

Bright and early today I was on the road, headed south to Springfield for my Healthcare Communicators of Oregon speaking engagement. It was fun to program the Escape's GPS system to direct me to the conference venue - the fairly new Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend (photo above) - for the 100-mile drive on Interstate 5. The GPS voice wasn't too annoying - but might really get on my nerves if used in a big city, detailed driving situation.

Getting the Escape out on the highway provided evidence of the vehicle having some get-up-and-go. Again, the smooth ride was impressive on the weather-worn and rutted road surface. Outfitted as the "Limited" model, the Escape's six-disk changer, sound system provided excellent entertainment on the trip. The 1.5 hour trip flew by in the roomy comfort of the vehicle.

The Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend looks much more like a high-end mountain resort, rather than a hospital facility, when entering the campus. That impression is amplified when walking in the main entrance into the massive lobby (photo above) of the 1.2 million square feet, state-of-the-art regional medical center. Entering the expanse with a conference attendee, I commented, "I want to check in."

The Healthcare Communicators of Oregon invited me to speak to conference attendees about no-cost, or low-cost, marketing efforts through the use of social networking. The group membership is made up of medical facility managers, public relations specialists, marketing and communication professionals, designers who work with medical clients, and others. In 45-minutes that flew by, I attempted to explain how social networking could be of value to the conference goers. (photos above and below). As an example of social networking in action, I detailed how the Ford Escape Hybrid test drive came about - and shared that, as I drove the vehicle to the conference, they were now part of the marketing experiment.

Following lunch I was back on the road. With late Friday afternoon traffic, the drive home took about 3.5 hours (instead of the usual 1.5 hours). In the bumper-to-bumper traffic jam, as I neared the Portland metropolitan area, the Escape was often in the quiet battery mode. Even after the long drive, and amount of time spent in the vehicle throughout the day, I felt very comfortable and could have driven much more.

Read the other bLog-oMotives entries about my Ford Escape Hybrid test drive here.

Note: Hospital facility photos courtesy of Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Clowning Around: Toots in Junior Rose Parade

Toots Caboose continues to clown around as a member of the Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corps for the annual Portland Rose Festival. This time it was as a participant in the 2009 Fred Meyer Junior Rose Parade. The parade, which became an official Rose Festival event in 1936, travels through Portland's Hollywood District. The entries include bands, school groups, scout troops, children's organizations, youth clubs, dance teams and families.

Photo of Toots Caboose taken by Cha Cha the Clown

The Character Clown Corps had a great time entertaining the thousands of children (and adults) along the route. Hoping for beautiful parade day weather, the clowns - and all other parade participants - were not quite prepared for the 90 degree heat and high humidity. Still, a good time was had by all.

More photos are available in Toots Caboose's Flickr photo album.

@ 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Tooting around in a 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid

Just about a month ago I received an email with the subject line "test drive opportunity." With the amount of spam I'd been receiving, I must admit that I almost deleted the message immediately. However, for some unknown reason, I clicked to open it - and I'm glad I did.

The message, addressed to me personally, read (in part):

"I see that you like to write and tweet about branding, clowning, and taking trips, and so I am wondering if you would like an opportunity to document the experience of test driving a roomy and sturdy Escape Hybrid or a sporty yet stylish Lincoln MKS for a few days? It’s usually the car journalists who get to test drive the cars, but we’re looking for fresh perspectives and feedback, something a little more engaging and authentic. What do you think?

I contacted the sender, at the Social Media Group in Dundas, ON, and informed them that I would really appreciate the opportunity to test drive the Ford Escape Hybrid. I also mentioned that this week would provide a great opportunity for a possibly unique driving experience. Today, as my clown persona Toots Caboose I will be participating in the Portland Rose Festival's Junior Rose Parade. Friday I will be driving to Springfield, OR to be a speaker at the Spring Conference of the Healthcare Communicators of Oregon. The clown make-up goes on again for the Grand Floral Parade on Saturday and I'll be at the Festival's Waterfront Village on Sunday to judge the "Pirates and Princesses" costume contest.

This morning the adorable white Ford Escape was delivered to my home. The man delivering the car commented on the fact that my Ford Ranger was in the driveway. I explained that I come from a family that have been loyal Ford customers for decades. To confirm my memories, I contacted my mother to find out how many Fords they had owned over the years. I was informed that, over the years, my parents have driven 21 Ford automobiles. A total of 19 of those vehicles had been purchased from the same Ford salesperson. My parents' first new car was purchased in Portland many years ago. It was a 1960 Ford Falcon. At times, my siblings have also owned Fords. In fact, my sister, who lives in the Bay Area, currently drives a Ford Escape.

My first adventure in the Ford Escape Hybrid was a drive over to Portland's Hollywood District to prepare for the Junior Rose Parade. I haven't had time to inspect all the "bells and whistles" but I immediately felt very comfortable driving the vehicle and appreciate the fact that, like my Ford Ranger, the driver sits up a bit higher than most cars on the road. The large windows all the way around provide great visibility. The quietness of the Escape is somewhat amazing. For even a clown, with some extra padding, the Escape was very comfortable. The only negative so far is that the car doesn't seem to like some of the taller speed-bumps in my neighborhood. It must have a fairly low clearance.

I'm looking forward to sharing more of my test drive experience - especially the road trip down to Eugene on Friday.

Photos: Above top - Clown buddies Chloe and Sam–E join Toots Caboose in checking out the 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid following the Junior Rose Parade. Lower photo - On my way home from the parade I stopped by DiPrima Dolci Bakery & Cafe to introduce Toots Caboose to owner (and my friend) Pat Diprima.

Read the other bLog-oMotives entries about my Ford Escape Hybrid test drive here.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Calls for entries: Upcoming graphic design competition and book submission 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:

Made in Spain: Poster
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 15 June 2009
No entry fees

Graphic Recycling: Logos
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 June 2009
No entry fees charged

Cause/Effect
(AIGA San Francisco - USA)
Deadline: 19 June 2009
Entry fees charged

American Graphic Design Awards
(GDUSA - USA)
Deadline Extended: 30 June 2009
Entry fees charged

London International Creative Competition
(LICC - UK/USA)
Deadline Extended: 30 June 2009
Entry fees charged

Summit Marketing Effectiveness Award
(Summit Awards - USA)
Deadline Extended: 8 July 2009
Entry fees charged

UCDA Design Competition
(UCDA - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 July 2009
Entry fees charged

HOW Interactive Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 15 July 2009
Entry fees charged

Wolda '09
(Eulda Books - Italy)
Deadline Extended: 15 July 2009 (logos designed in 2008)
Deadline: 31 January 2010 (logos designed in 2009)
Entry fees charged

PRINT's Student Cover Competition
(PRINT Magazine - USA)
Deadline Extended: 17 July 2009
Entry fees charged

Ideas That Matter
(Sappi Fine Papers - USA)
Deadline: 17 July 2009
No entry fees charged

Where We Work: Inspirational Work Environments and Interior Design from the World’s Leading Creative Agencies
(This Ain't No Disco - USA)
Deadline: 24 July 2009
No entry fees charged

The Good Design Book
(HOW Design Books - USA)
Deadline: 1 August 2009
No entry fees charged

The New Big Book of Layouts
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline: 8 August 2009
No entry fees charged

The Vector Brush Sourcebook
(Rotovision - UK)
Deadline: 14 August 2009
No entry fees charged

Creativity 39
(Creativity Annual Awards - USA)
Deadline: 15 August 2009
Entry fees charged

Book of the Year, Volume 2
(Design & Design - France)
Deadline: September 2009
No entry fees charged

Best of Brochure Design 11
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline: 1 September 2009
No entry fees charged

HOW International Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 September 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

The Best of Sin Design (Naughty Products. Great Advertising.)
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline: 1 November 2009
No entry fees charged

Communication Arts Illustration Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 11 January 2010
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Photography Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 29 March 2010
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Design Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 14 May 2010
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Advertising Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 14 May 2010
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