'Letterhead & Logo Design 11' features C.A.T. design

An identity design by Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based design firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, has been given yet another life in the recently released book Letterhead & Logo Design 11. The volume, produced by Design Army, is a Rockport Publishers release. The resource contains hundreds of inspirational logos and letterheads from designers around the world.

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 design won a Silver Award in the Summit Creative Awards. It is also in the book Killed Ideas, Vol. 1 and will be in the volume Designing for the Greater Good. The work of Jeff Fisher LogoMotives has appeared in over three dozen books from Rockport Publishers.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Design Observer peeks at gardens & designers

Earlier this week the Observatory, a channel on the design industry web presence Design Observer, took a look at gardening by creative professionals. In the article, "Gardens and Their Designers," design editor and writer Timothy Jack Ward ponders what makes so many designers turn to gardening as an added creative outlet.

The Design Observer piece has an accompanying slide show of designer gardens from around the country. Yours truly, sitting in my "summer office," is among the collection (above).

Throughout the year I have been photo-documenting the results of my "playing in the dirt." The images are posted in my garden Flickr gallery. I've also posted a variety of bLog-oMotives entries about the garden.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Holly Dewolf's 'Breaking Into Freelance Illustration' gives Jeff Fisher LogoMotives mentions

Illustrator Holly DeWolf's book Breaking Into Freelance Illustration: The Guide for Artists, Designers and was recently released by HOW Books (also the publisher of my books). It was a great surprise to learn that I was a contributor to the volume.

In the book, DeWolf mentions that independent artists, designers and illustrators are free to give themselves personalized job titles. The "Engineer of Creative Identity" moniker I use was presented as an example. The author also writes that a tagline, or mission statement, can be helpful in giving such business people some direction. My current tagline, "Jeff Fisher LogoMotives engineers innovative graphic identity solutions in helping businesses and organizations to get, and stay, on the right track," is included in the book.

In describing the book, Amazon.com notes: "Breaking into Freelance Illustration provides a step-by-step road-map for illustrators looking to promote themselves and running a creative business. Written from the perspective of an experienced freelancer with plenty of industry insiders insight added, this helpful guide gives readers everything they need to start a full-time business, see their work published, or moonlight as an illustrator. This book is a down to earth guide that fills in the creative business blanks."

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Sharebrain focuses on 'Braintalk with Jeff Fisher'

Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, is featured in the interview "Braintalk with Jeff Fisher" on the international web presence Sharebrain.

The creation of German web designer Thomas Ulbricht, Sharebrain is a design-focused online magazine with articles, resources, interviews, tutorial and much more of interest to web designers and web developers.

In the piece, Fisher - the author of the books Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands and The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success: Ideas and tactics for a killer career - discusses his 30-year career, the average day of a home-based independent designer, and sources of inspiration. Ulbricht also asks the designer about favorite projects, how to overcome roadblocks to creativity, his likes and dislikes about the design profession, and other topics.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Re-Design: PavelComm

The company PavelComm evolved out of the nationwide deregulation of the US telephone system in the 1980's. Initially, owner Jim Pavel focused his business efforts on the phone-specific needs of his clients. Pavel also created the first identity for the firm (below left), and I was told it was produced on his original Commodore 64 personal computer.

I've known the Pavel family for a number of years now. I always felt that the company logo had hint of the very familiar Pirelli tire company identity (above right), but never said anything because I was never asked to critique the image. There's probably some truth in my sense about the inspiration as Jim Pavel and his son, Jimmy, both race cars as a form of recreation.

In 2008, I was asked to update, or redesign, the identity of the business. PavelComm was now a customer service focused organization specializing in complete technology solutions. In addition to dealing with all aspects of corporate phone systems, the company provided fiber, voice and data cabling for organizations around the country. The services offered, the Portland headquarters, and client expectations were all more sophisticated. However, the business branding had remained the same for over 20 years.

I appreciated co-founder and owner Bonnie Pavel giving me complete creative freedom in taking on the identity project. Still, in creating a image to assist PavelComm in moving forward, I hoped to include some historical perspective in the new image.

I've never been much of a sketcher when brainstorming concepts. Instead, as noted from some excavated artifacts of past projects, I tend to doodle on Post-It notes, envelopes, memo pads and other scraps of paper. In this case, I did find myself scribbling all over a somewhat wrinkled piece of laser printer paper (above).

Not being one to often just slap an icon next to a type treatment of a business name, I took the circle containing a "P" letterform from my initial doodles and incorporated it with the remaining text to spell out PavelComm. The "C" in the company identity had not previously been capitalized. In making the "C" an uppercase element, I felt it put a put a bit more emphasis on the actual activities of the firm. We seemed well on our way to a finalized logo for PavelComm.

Still, I sensed a bit of hesitation from the decision makers. The upper and lower case treatment of the type spelling out the business name was liked by all; as was the movement implied by the text being italicized. There was positive feedback on the incorporation of an icon, making the identity unique and eye-catching. Those providing feedback did express concerns about the typeface being a bit more "high-techy" looking than desired and that, while the logo as designed appeared a bit more high-end and professional, it said little about the products and services offered by PavelComm.

As we were finalizing the logo design and selecting colors, Beverly Wells, a major player at PavelComm and Bonnie Pavel's sister, was able to articulate her concern about the design. She conveyed her feeling that the logo was not successful in projecting what made PavelComm different from other firms in the same industry. She told me that PavelComm was much more than a company simply providing office communication equipment and services. The "comm" portion of the business moniker also referred to the ability of PavalComm staff to truly listen to the needs of the customer base - and communicate technical information in terms the client was able to understand.

With a little "a ha," I literally went back to the drawing board. A "voice bubble" element was pulled from my original doodles and was incorporated into a skewed Palatino type treatment as a replacement for the "o" letterform (above). "Comm" now contained a visual element conveying the term communication.

The upscale graphic redesign of the PavelComm name still did not contain my desired historical reference to the longevity of Jim Pavel's original logo design. That was easily accomplished by making red the predominant color in the new identity.

The new logo was adopted by PavelComm as the worldwide economy took a dive in late 2008. Due to internal budget concerns, the corporate rebranding of the company is currently an ongoing process.

(Note: My book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands, contains case studies from 35 designers and firms located around the world. Learn more about the book on the Identity Crisis! blog.)

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

Toot! Toot!*: New Freelance Show site initiates Interview Series with designer/author Jeff Fisher

Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, shares knowledge and experiences from his independent design career in an interview on the new Freelance Show blog. Fisher discusses the design career differences between now and three decades ago, the challenges of starting an independent design business, social networking as a marketing tool, and more.

The Freelance Show is a blog and podcast for graphic designers and web designers who want to start and grow a freelance business. From how to land your first client to how to determine pricing and collect payments, The Freelance Show will bring practical, real-world advice from 12-year veteran Creative Director and graphic design instructor, Neil Brown.

Fisher, a professional designer for over 30 years, is the author of Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands and The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success: Ideas and tactics for a killer career. He is currently writing the book LogoType, about typography in identity design, with a scheduled release of late 2010.

The designer has received over 600 design awards and his work has been published in more than 130 books on identity design, self-promotion and the marketing of small businesses. 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

Clickety-clacks along the LogoMotives tracks

The month of September brought numerous mentions and sightings of Jeff Fisher LogoMotives out there online and in the blog-o-sphere:

How Do Creative People Use Twitter? By way of a LinkedIn discussion group, author Aliyah Marr asked how creative people made use of Twitter. Responses were presented on her Fresh Asylum blog. [09.29.09]

Interview with Jeff Fisher LogoMotives' Jeff Fisher The online print resource PsPrint interviewed me about me design career for their designer resource blog. [09.28.09]

Self-Promotion the Social Way My article, written for the October issue of HOW Magazine, is posted on the publication's web presence. More information is available on the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives blog-folio. [09.25.09]

Episode 5 – Social Networking with Jeff Fisher Thomas James, the force behind Escape from Illustration Island, interviewed me about using social networking as a marketing tool for the site's podcast. The interview was syndicated on the website Illustration Mundo. Read more about it on bLog-oMotives. [09.21.09]

Put on Your Best Face: Designers Discuss Quality Typefaces Brian Hoff, of The Design Cubicle, used Twitter to ask the question "If you could purchase one quality typeface what would it be and why?" My response was included in his blog entry. [09.15.09]

Designing A Church Logo? Some Things to Remember In his eGrace Creative blog entry, designer Brandon Cox was kind enough to include a link to some very nontraditional church logos I have created. [09.09.09]

Book Contributors: Breaking Into Freelance Illustration It's always great to be included in someone's book. I learned of being included in online pal Holly DeWolf's new volume, Breaking Into Freelance Illustration, through her blog post. In the book, my title of "Engineer of Creative Identity" and my tagline/mission statement are used as examples. [09.03.09]

Jeff Fisher of Logomotives: Toot! Toot! (Part Two) The second installment of my interview with Neenah Paper, for their "Against the Grain" blog, presented additional thoughts on social networking, the design work of those I admire, and more. The first part of the interview was posted on the blog in late August. [09.02.09]

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:

Tokyo TDC Annual Awards 2010
(Tokyo Type Directors Club - Japan)
Deadline: 10 October 2009
No entry fees charged for overseas entries

Emerging Media Award
(Summit International Awards - USA)
Deadline Extended: 12 October 2009
Entry fees charged

Graphic Design for Less: Cost-Cutting Solutions for Tight Budgets
(Rotovision - UK)
Deadline: 15 October 2009
No entry fees charged

Do Good Fight Bad
(Do Good Fight Bad - USA)
Deadline: 15 October 2009
Entry fees charged

Design DNA: Logos
(Rotovision - UK)
Deadline Extended: 15 October 2009
No entry fees charged

GDC 09 Awards (Graphic Design in China)
(SGDA - China)
Deadline for registration: 16 October 2009
Deadline for entries: 22 October 2009
Entry fees charged

Top 100 New Creatives
(CMYK Magazine - USA)
Deadline Extended: 18 October 2009
Entry fees charged

REBRAND 100 Global Awards
(REBRAND - USA)
Late Deadline Extended: 21 October 2009
Entry fees charged

1000 Product Designs
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline Extended: 22 October 2009
No entry fees charged

The Faces of Design Awards 2010
(Faces of Design - Germany)
Early-Bird Registration Deadline: 31 October 2009
Portfolio Submission Deadline: 15 December 2009
Entry fees charged

1000 More Greetings
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline: 1 November 2009
No entry fees charged

PRINT Creativity + Commerce
(PRINT Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 November 2009
Entry fees charged

Identity Essentials
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline Extended: 1 November 2009
No entry fees charged

Fingerprint 2 (PDF of CFE)
(HOW Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 5 November 2009
No entry fees charged

PRINT in Motion
(PRINT Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 15 November 2009
Entry fees charged

Basic Pack
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 15 November 2009
No entry fees charged

D&AD Awards 2010
(D&AD - UK)
Early Deadline: 18 November 2009 (10% entry fee discount)
Final Deadline: 27 January 2010
Entry fees charged

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

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

HOW Logo Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 December 2009
Final Deadline: 15 December 2009 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

HOW Poster Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 December 2009
Final Deadline: 15 December 2009 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

I.D. Annual Design Review
(I.D. Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 December 2009
Entry fees charged

2009 American Package Design Awards
(Graphic Design USA - USA)
Deadline: 10 December 2009
Entry fees charged

Selected A: Graphic Design From Europe
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 11 December 2009
Entry fees charged

Select I: Graphic Design Annual
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 11 December 2009
Entry fees charged

The Dieline Awards - Best in Package Design
(The Dieline - USA)
Deadline: 21 December 2009
Entry fees charged

My Own Business Card, Volume Two
(Design and Design - France)
Deadline: 31 December 2009
No entry fees charged

Just Sit! Chairs and Stools Design
(Design and Design - France)
Deadline: 31 December 2009
No entry fees charged

Communication Arts Illustration Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 11 January 2010
Entry fees chargedThe Big Book of Packaging
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline: 15 January 2010
No entry fees charged

Summit Creative Award
(Summit International Awards - USA)
Deadline: 25 January 2010
Entry fees charged

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

LogoLounge 6
(LogoLounge - USA)
Deadline: 15 February 2010
LogoLounge membership required

HOW Promotion Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 5 March 2010
Late Deadline: 22 March 2010 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

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

Mail Me Art 2
(Mail Me Art - UK)
Deadline: 31 March 2010
No entry fees charged

HOW In-HOWse Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 15 April 2010
Late Deadline: 10 May 2010 (with late fees)
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

Book of the Year, Volume 3
(Design & Design - France)
Deadline: 30 September 2010
No entry fees charged

Communication Arts Interactive Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 8 October 2010
Entry fees charged

Graphis Poster Annual 2011
(Graphis - USA)
Deadline: 30 November 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.

A design competition calendar is also available at Icograda. 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

Jeff Fisher interview featured on PsPrint blog

In another example of HARO (Help A Reporter Out) leading to a great promotion opportunity, my response to writer Brian Morris' request "Identity Graphic Designer wanted for Interview" evolved into a great interview on the PsPrint blog. The interview covered various aspects of my 30+ year design career, including marketing strategies, surviving career mistakes, dealing with the challenges of an economic downturn, and more.

PsPrint is a cutting-edge Internet printing company with a focus on delivering quality, affordability, and speed, by way of a simplified online ordering system. The PsPrint blog is a frequently updated resource for designers, freelancers and art directors. You'll find valuable tips on setting up print jobs, effective, low-cost printing solutions, and creative ways to improve your design and layout skills.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives