Toot! Toot!*: Designer/Author Jeff Fisher to judge first HOW Magazine Logo Design Awards

Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based design firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, will be the judge for the new HOW Logo Design Awards competition. Sponsored by HOW Magazine, the leading creativity, business and technology magazine for graphic designers, the competition has a new submissions deadline of December 15, 2009.

All entries must have been produced between July 1, 2008 and December 1, 2009. There are no specific categories for designs to be submitted and work entered may have been created for real world clients, as student class assignments or just for fun. The fee for each entry is $30. Submissions are to be made online through the HOW Logo Design Awards website.

The 10 winners will be featured on the HOW website, get $150 worth of HOW books and receive a 1 year subscription to HOW magazine. In addition, a graphic will be provided for posting on websites, blogs and/or online portfolios announcing a winners' status.

Fisher, a 30+ year design industry veteran, is the author of The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success: Ideas and tactics for a killer career and Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands. 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 recent years, Fisher has judged numerous competitions, including American Advertising & Design 25, the Logopond Awards, The Create Awards, and the Summit Creative Awards.

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

Jeff Fisher LogoMotives same-sex wedding graphic appears in new 'Celebration Graphics Sourcebook'

A same-sex wedding graphic, created by designer Jeff Fisher to celebrate his 2004 marriage to long-time partner Ed Cunningham, is featured in the recently released book Celebration Graphics Sourcebook: Festive Designs from All Cultures. The volume, by John Stones, is distributed in the U.S. by Rockport Publishers.

Celebration Graphics Sourcebook presents innovative case studies from across all media, budgets, and cultures. Celebrations are arranged month by month, interspersed with weddings, birthdays, Name Days, and other life-marking events.

In the spring of 2004, Multnomah County (OR) historically began issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Fisher and Cunningham were married before family and friends on the stage of a Portland community theater; an event featured in the local newspaper Willamette Week. Oregon's on-going political battle over same-sex marriage resulted in an amendment to the Oregon Constitution later that year, and the marriages being declared invalid by the courts.

The graphic representation of the couple, with designer Fisher in a Hawaiian shirt and law firm administrator Cunningham shown in a business suit, was used for the ceremony invitation, thank you cards, and an announcement of a summer wedding reception held in the gardens of Joy Creek Nursery. The design also appears in The Big Book of Logos 5 and is part of the Multnomah County Wedding Album Project (2004-2005), now in the Oregon Historical Society collection.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Self-Promotion the Social Way

Designer Daniel McNutt recently posted on Twitter, “Jeff, you were social networking before it had its catchy name.”

And I realized that he’s right: I’ve been using social interaction tools for self-promotion for quite a long time. I found my way online more than a decade ago with my first website, newsgroups and forums such as the HOW Forum (forum.howdesign.com). I used those outlets to promote my firm and to share my design and business expertise. About five years later, I was dragged kicking and screaming into the then-new blogosphere. To my surprise, bLog-oMotives (my first attempt at blogging) proved to be a great outlet for communicating ideas and promoting my work. I created a separate blog to promote my book Identity Crisis! From there, I made over my fairly stagnant business website with a blogfolio format (as you’d guess, part blog and part portfolio of my work), which was more flexible for me and more search engine-friendly.

Social networking is the latest tool for online marketing, one that I’ve embraced, like many other creative pros. LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Naymz, Plaxo, Twitter, Squidoo and Ning — it almost sounds like the name of a law firm. Instead, by adding “.com” to each term, you’ll find just a few of the growing number of social networking sources available to spread your name, work and brand out into cyberspace.

And that’s precisely the point of using social networks as self-promotion tools: They can grow your universe of business prospects, draw traffic back to your website or blog and help you develop a broad reputation as an expert. “These sites all help get your name out there,” says Paul Kline, a photographer who runs a studio bearing his name in Washington, DC. “Websites, search engines and direct mail are all important, but social networking sites are more personal, and in some cases more effective.”

Getting Started in Social Media
Social networking success depends on initiating interaction, engaging an audience, sharing information, making the impersonal personal and inviting feedback. It also demands that you offer easy access to an already established web presence (either your website or blog). Your online audience will want additional information about you and your expertise before deciding to be your friend, follower or contact. Without that link, you lose credibility, and the perceived value of your tweets, posts and comments may lessen.

Nashville, TN-based children’s illustrator Holli Conger built that foundation first. “I’ve always had an online portfolio and website,” she says. “When I first started out, I participated on a lot of forums. I would usually read more than I commented or posted. Then I moved on to blogging, which opened me up to other illustrators who were more on my level career-wise.” Justin Ahrens, principal of Geneva, IL-based design firm Rule29, had a similar introductory experience to internet marketing. “Early on, we primarily utilized our website; it basically just showcased our work, contact information and news highlights.”

MySpace and Facebook
When I joined MySpace several years ago, the network was primarily populated by teens, but I saw its promotional promise and I did land a couple of projects. But I’ve found myself returning to MySpace less and less frequently as my business goals have outgrown the site’s audience and abilities. Frankly, it’s OK to move on if a social network isn’t serving your needs.

When I joined Facebook, my strategy was to create a personal profile with a business slant. Increasingly, though, Facebook is attracting “grown-up” users and has added new tools that enable a more professional presence on the network. I’ve set my Facebook profile up so that it automatically feeds my latest blog posts, and I contribute targeted, business-specific updates and post galleries of appropriate photos and graphic images. And I’ve created a page for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives that exclusively spotlights my business.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn was built from the ground up as a business networking tool; unfortunately, the site’s early iteration was clunky, difficult to navigate and, let’s face it, boring. Now, however, LinkedIn has perhaps taken cues from Facebook: It’s a friendlier environment for making professional contacts, with easier navigation. The addition of industry-specific groups and discussions created a venue of true social interaction. The groups also make it easier to find and connect with people of similar interests and experience.

Looking at who your contacts are connected to expands your exposure to potential clients, as Conger discovered. “LinkedIn led to a pretty lucrative design/illustration contract that feeds me work monthly,” she says. “I found the company through another contact and noticed in their profile that they were hiring in-house positions. I e-mailed to see if they’d be interested in working with me on a freelance basis. They said yes and they’ve been one of the best clients I’ve ever had.”

Twitter
My fear of a Twitter addiction kept me from participating early on; after just a month of tweeting, traffic to my blogfolio and blogs doubled. I’ve found Twitter to be an invaluable business resource. While casual Twitter users post their whereabouts and what they ate for breakfast, I opt for more professional tweets. I add links to blog posts or articles I think others may find interesting. I share design competition and book submission deadlines. I retweet, or re-post, messages I feel may be of interest to those following my posts. Occasionally I toss in a personal note or response to someone.

Using Social Media Strategically
In my involvement with these sites, I see a lot of designers, writers, illustrators and photographers networking only with other creative types. Selectively interacting with just your peers isn’t the best tactic for finding potential clients. So I encourage creative professionals to also seek out networking opportunities on sites frequented by business folks, like StartupNation.com or Biznik.com.

The social networking sites of traditional print media also provide great opportunities to rub cyber elbows with business professionals. Magazine websites such as FastCompany.com, Entrepreneur.com and Good Magazine provide a connection to the business community—including the ability to create online profiles, participate in discussions and post articles or blogs. Being active in these online conversations demonstrates your expertise to a new niche.

I’ve discovered that there’s little difference between my individual personality and that of my business. Conger advocates using caution in establishing the online attitude for your business, as well. “I think it’s important to show your personality, but I’ve chosen to have a more professional appearance on the internet as a whole,” she says. “Everything is searchable, and what you say could come back to haunt you.”

This blending of personal and professional worlds may be one hurdle keeping you from tapping social media as a professional tool. Another may be time. Just as you can be strategic about representing your brand online, you can be thoughtful about how you manage all these networks. You can repurpose content across media; a blog post might also appear in your newsletter and, in short form, on Twitter. Applications like Ping.fm can synchronize your blog with your social media accounts, so a new post is automatically broadcast to other outlets—a huge time-saver. And tools like TweetDeck let you monitor and post to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously.

When it comes to social networking, it’s possible to successfully mix business with pleasure. “Make time for social networking,” Ahrens concludes. “It’s a ton of fun—and more important, you never know whether or not a valuable new business connection is just around the corner.”

Note: This article, by Jeff Fisher - the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based design firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, was originally published in its entirety in the October 2009 HOW Magazine Self-Promotion issue. "8 tips and tricks for professional and effective 'Self-Promotion the Social Way'" is the side-bar to that printed piece.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives and HOW Magazine

Resource links from HOW Magazine DesignCast 'How to Survive as a Freelance Designer'

Thanks to all who participated in my HOW Magazine live DesignCast "How to Survive as a Freelance Designer." During my hour-long presentation I mentioned a number of additional resources. As promised, I'm posting links to those sites, blog entries and books:

• Resource 1: Make use of online portfolios as promotion tool

• Resource 2: Network outside of design - Biznik; StartupNation

• Resource 3: HOW article on social networking for self-promo purposes

• Resource 4: Side-bar from HOW social networking article

• Resource 5: BoDo (Business of Design online)

• Resource 6: Design book submissions and competitions

• Resource 7: Example of a self-created marketing/media kit

• Resource 8: Examples of my "Toot! Toot!" press releases

• Resource 9: The Design Entrepreneur by Steven Heller

• Resource 10: Savvy Designer's Guide to Success by Jeff Fisher

• Resource 11: Designers Guide to Marketing & Pricing by Ilise Benun and Peleg Top

• Resource 12: Designer's Guide to Business & Careers by Peg Faimon

• Resource 13: Breaking Into Freelance Illustrations by Holly DeWolf

• Resource 14: Customizable contract/project agreement example

• Resource 15: Design entrepreneur - Von Glitschka

• Resource 16: Design entrepreneur - Patricia Zapata

• Resource 17: Design entrepreneur - Cameron Moll

• Resource 18: Associates programs such as Amazon - LogoMotives Design Depot Bookstore

• Resource 19: Using Twitter and Facebook Fan Page as a business tool.

• Resource 20: HOW Magazine Business Annual

• Resource 21: HOW Magazine Self-Promotion Issue

• Resource 22: Mentioned by HOW editor Bryn Mooth - FreelanceSwitch.com

My next HOW DesignCast, "Using Social Media as a (Free!) Marketing Tool," is scheduled for February 18, 2010. Watch for additional information at the HOW website.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher Logomotives

Recently released paperback design book editions highlight work by Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Four recent paperback edition releases, of previously successful design books, feature projects created by Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

Rockport Publishers is offering the paperback mini version of 1000 Retail Graphics: From Signage to Logos and Everything In-Store, from firm JGA. Fisher's logo for the Portland retail institution W.C. Winks Hardware is included in the book.

The paperback version of Big Book of Business Cards has been released by Collins Design. The volume, by David E. Carter, showcases business card designs by Jeff Fisher for the hair and nail salon Slick, Pearl Real Estate and Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

Luke Herriott's book 1000 Restaurant, Bar, and Cafe Graphics: From Signage to Logos and Everything In Between, another Rockport Publishers selection, displays Jeff Fisher LogoMotives identity designs for Glo's Broiler, Balboosta, La Patisserie and the North Bank Cafe. This paperback mini edition also takes a look at the menu package created by the designer for Indies Restaurant & Bar.

A full-page magazine ad for the Portland business VanderVeer Center is given exposure in the paperback version of The Big Book of Layouts; also by David E. Carter.

The design industry efforts of Jeff Fisher are highlighted in over 130 books from publishers around the world. A complete list may be found on the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives blogfolio.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

Jeff Fisher products on sale at MyDesignShop

Through Thursday, November 19, 2009, all products by designer and author Jeff Fisher - the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives - will be on sale for an additional 10% off the posted prices at MyDesignShop.com. Shop Jeff Fisher products below and use offer code HOWWB129 at the checkout to receive your savings!

The 10% discount applies to the following products:

"How to Survive as a Freelance Designer" Live DesignCast Registration The one-hour session is sponsored by HOW Magazine on November 19, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT. The already discounted fee of $39 will be $35.10 with the 10% off sale.

The book Identity Crisis! 100 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities into Successful Brands

The book The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success: Ideas and tactics for a killer career as a PDF on CD

Planning, Packaging and Promoting Yourself as a Product - On Demand Webcast

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Toot! Toot!*: Expert Jeff Fisher presents live HOW DesignCast - 'How to Survive as a Freelance Designer'

Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, will present the live DesignCast "How to Survive as a Freelance Designer" on November 19, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT. The one-hour session is sponsored by HOW Magazine and the current discounted fee is $39. Those interested in participating may register through the MyDesignShop.com website.

Living—and loving—life as a creative solopreneur is an act of balance: Not enough work and you're in panic mode; too much and you're working 24/7. Take advantage of your freedom and you're not accessible to clients; chain yourself to your desk and you're a slave to them.

With that in mind, logo-design guru Jeff Fisher will share a collection of tips gleaned from his 30-year career as an agency of one.

You will learn about:

• Positioning as a means of commanding respect among clients and potential clients

• Marketing as a way of life, not just a task on your to-do list

• Working effectively from wherever you happen to be—at the neighborhood coffee shop, the beach, a villa in Italy...

Subscribers will have access to the archived version of this DesignCast for one year. In addition, as a bonus, participants will receive a free digital download of the HOW Magazine October 2009 Self-Promotion Issue with the purchase of the DesignCast.

Jeff Fisher, author of Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands (HOW Books, 2007), is a 30-year design veteran. He has been honored with over 600 regional, national and international design awards and is featured in over 130 books about logos, the design business, and small business marketing. The industry publication Graphic Design USA named Fisher one of its "People to Watch in 2009." His first book, The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success was released in 2004 and has been reissued as a PDF on CD from MyDesignShop.com. Fisher is currently writing a new volume, with the working title of LogoType, on the topic of typography in identity design.

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

Note: Through 11.19.09, use the code HOWWB129 at the MyDesignShop.com checkout to receive an additional 10% savings on the "How to Survive as a Freelance Designer" DesignCast, the book Identity Crisis!, the The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success, and the on demand DesignCast "Planning, Packaging and Promoting Yourself as a Product."

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

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Swirling around the home and garden

When making presentations - or sending one of my marketing packets - to potential clients, I often end up having conversations about the swirl paper clips I've used to fasten a few pages together. Rather than discussing my design work, the immediate topic may be my Clipiola Italian paper clips from Cavallini Papers & Co.

Twitter and Facebook mentions of this phenomenon led to a renewed realization of how much swirl imagery plays a role in our lives. For some time I had been documenting the swirls around our home and garden. I've shared the images in a Flickr gallery.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Identity design by Jeff Fisher LogoMotives
included in new 'Retro Style Graphics' book

A logo design by Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher Logomotives, is featured in the recently released book Retro Style Graphics. Written by designer and blogger Grant Friedman, the volume was published by Angela Patchell Books.

Fisher's logo design for the North Portland business Coyner's Auto Body (above) is showcased as an inspiration example in Retro Style Graphics. Coyner’s had been in business for 30 years without an identity. A long history in the business of passenger and race car repair conjured up an image of the nameplates, with connecting letterforms, on automobiles from the 1950’s through 1970’s. The House Industries font Bullet was the solution to creating a "retro" look in the design. The Coyner's logo also appears in the Spanish book Logos from North to South America.

The term "retro" is often used to describe trends in fashion, design, or architecture. It typically describes any item that was inspired by something from the past. Retro Style Graphics looks to the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s for inspiration and contains all of the elements a modern designer would need to create graphics in the retro style. The book is a style guide that also includes a comprehensive collection of graphics, textures, patterns, fonts, colors, Illustrator/Photoshop brushes, and a design gallery for inspiration.

"This book has it all," said author Grant Friedman, "I wanted to write a book that gives designers all the tools that they would need to produce graphics in the retro style. As a designer, I understand how much time it can take to research ideas, produce, and then implement a design in a particular style. For this book, I wanted to produce resources that would save my readers time while also ensuring that my readers could maintain full creative control over their projects."

Many in the the international design community, especially online, know author Friedman as the founder of the Colorburned.com, a popular destination for design resources, inspiration and information.

Photos courtesy of author Grant Friedman.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher Logomotives

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

All of the following competition or book submission 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:

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

Identity Essentials
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline Extended: Better late than never - it appears entries are still being accepted
No entry fees charged

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

1000 More Greetings
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline Extended: 16 November 2009
No entry fees charged

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

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

Graphis Poster Annual 2011
(Graphis - USA)
Deadline Extended: 7 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

American Graphic Design & Advertising Awards 26
(AGDA Awards - US)
Deadline: 11 December 2009
Late Deadline: 22 December 2009
Entry fees charged

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

PRINT in Motion
(PRINT Magazine - USA)
Final Deadline: 15 December 2009 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

I.D. Annual Design Review
(I.D. Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 15 December 2009
Entry fees charged

HOW Logo Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 15 December 2009
Final Deadline: 1 January 2010 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

HOW Poster Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 15 December 2009
Final Deadline: 1 January 2010 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

The Faces of Design Awards 2010
(Faces of Design - Germany)
Portfolio Submission Deadline: 15 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

The Best of Sin Design (Naughty Products. Great Advertising.)
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 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

ABC Dimensional
(Laurence King - UK)
Deadline: 6 January 2010
No entry fees charged

PUB 45: Rare Specimens
(Society of Publication Designers - USA)
Deadline: 8 January 2010
Entry fees charged

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

The Big Book of Packaging
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline: 15 January 2010
No entry fees charged

Top 100 New Creatives
(CMYK Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 17 January 2010
Entry fees charged

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

D&AD Awards 2010
(D&AD - UK)
Deadline: 27 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

Green Graphics
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 15 February 2010
No entry fees charged

Common Interest
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 15 February 2010
No entry fees charged

PRINT Regional Design Annual
(PRINT Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 March 2010
Entry fees charged

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

Golden Bee 9: Moscow International Biennale of Graphic Design
(Golden Bee - Russia)
Deadline: 15 April 2010
No 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

(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 over 130 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