Clowning Around: Toots Caboose begins second year with Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corps

Toots Caboose, the alter ego of designer and author Jeff Fisher - the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives has started his second season as a member of the Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corps for the Portland Rose Festival. Last year Toots emerged from clown school and made quite an impression at official Rose Festival events.

Toots Caboose in front of SP 4449 - “World's Most Famous Steam Locomotive.”

In some 2010 pre-festival duties Toots assisted in recruiting new members of the Clown Corps with appearances on KGW Newschannel 8 at Sunrise with Drewbo (KGW reporter Drew Carney) and a gaggle of Clown Corps pals; and KATU's AM Northwest program with Bango (KATU reporter Janice Bangs), Dolly, and Angel.

Al Baker, of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, with Toots and Portland's National Train Day event.

Once again, Toots Caboose and members of the Character Clown Corps livened things up at the recent National Train Day festivities at Portland's historic Union Station. At the request of Amtrak Cascades officials, Toots was an official tour guide on their custom-built Talgo train.

Toots, with with Judy Hall of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, hard at work giving Talgo train tours.

There are sure to be upcoming sightings of Toots Caboose and the Character Clown Corp troupe at the upcoming events:

Fred Meyer Junior Rose Parade: The oldest and largest children's parade in the United States will be held on Wednesday, June 9th.

Key Bank Grand Floral Parade: The Grand Floral Parade is Saturday, June 12th. In 2009, nearly 500,000 people lined the streets of downtown Portland to view the event.

For more photos of the 2010 Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corp activities, check out this gallery of images

© 2010 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

A look back at the 2010 HOW Logo Design Awards

This year HOW Magazine sponsored the first HOW Logo Design Awards competition. I was honored to be asked to judge the magazine's first event of this kind.

Over 800 student and professional identity designs were submitted to the competition. It would be my responsibility to choose ten logos to be honored. Thankfully, the Editors and staff of HOW Magazine initially reviewed and selected about 350 logos for me to judge personally. The winning designs have been announced and posted on the HOW website.

Here's a bit of a recap, with my brief comments:

• Hayneedle (Design by: Lippincott - USA) - "Simplicity at its best—in type treatment and graphic elements."

• Thomas & Gray (Design by: 22squared - USA) - "Hitting the mark in creating a logo meant to convey 'distinction, tradition and timeless elegance.'”

• Dirty Ice Cream (Design by: Dirty Ice Cream Design - Phillipines) - "A beautifully executed, retro type treatment that beckons the viewer deeper into the design."

• Thomas & Gray (Design by: Willoughby Design - USA) - "A major player in identity design shows how it's done—all while taking a chance on a non-traditional logo treatment to represent itself."

• New Sheridan Hotel (Design by: Urban Influence - USA) - "The history, culture and Western sophistication of Telluride, CO, are communicated in a crisp, modern presentation."

• Airplot (Design by: Airside - UK) - "This is a unique and intriguing, modular logo that allows for multiple uses and adaptations as needed."

• Lan Su Chinese Garden (Design by: Sockeye Creative - USA) - "This is an eye-catching, designerly twist on traditional Chinese imagery."

• Bronx Zoo Student Project (Design by: Carrie Madigan - USA) - "Inviting child-like imagery is in this logo, but there’s much more to be seen when taking a second look."

• Michael Bach Gastroenterologists (Design by: Josef Stapel Design - Germany) - "Never has the human digestive system been portrayed so elegantly—very clever letterform play."

• Renaud Merle (Blackbird) (Design by: Renaud Merle - France) - "A graphic smile delivered through two “r” letterforms creating a subliminal “m” with the extra treat of a fun blackbird image."

In addition, I wrote: "Over all, I was very pleased with the originality, execution and attention to detail exhibited in the hundreds of logos reviewed. Many designers submitted excellent showcase pieces that successfully conveyed their illustration talents, design skills and type treatment expertise.

"If I have any general criticisms, they are that a number identity designers need to break away from following current trends to create logos that may have greater longevity as an identifying symbol. And as entrants were given the opportunity, a short description or explanation of the logo submissions would have been very helpful as a judging tool for quite a few examples.

"Three of the final logos selected caught my eye on my very first review of all of the submissions. Narrowing the entries down to 100 logos was difficult; to 50 a real challenge; and to 20 was nearly impossible. I feel the 10 final logos selected represent the best of the best. After making my final selections, I was pleased to learn that five countries, large and small firms, and a student designer were represented.”

© 2010 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Jeff and Ed celebrate 20 years together

It was very appropriate that the date 05.05.10 signified the 20th anniversary of the relationship of Jeff Fisher and Ed Cunningham. To celebrate the occasion, as a surprise to Ed, I put together a Flickr album of photo images documenting the past two decades.

Friends are encouraged to send any additional archived photos to either of us. We appreciate those contributions that are already included in the gallery.

It had been our hope to spend some time this fall in France to celebrate the milestone. However, it's just not the right time - financially and otherwise - to spend several weeks in in Paris and the South of France. It was great to recognize the date while in Boston, with a wonderful outdoor dinner, at the incredible Petit Robert Bistro. Thanks to our friend mary for the restaurant recommendation - and to Lisa and Bev for having the bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne delivered to our table.

© 2010 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Spring 2010: Does your garden grow?

It has been a less than ideal spring in the Pacific Northwest - especially if you are a gardener. Playing in the dirt of my garden is a favorite source of therapy and inspiration. With the recent cold, rain and cloudy days, the garden is not flourishing as in past years.

Our garden did get off to a good start this spring. While we were on vacation in St. Croix in March, a crew from Joy Creek Nursery spent two days cleaning things up, removing plants damaged by the winter storms of the past two years and pruning the pink dogwood behind our home. I did have a blank slate for moving some plants around and the addition of many new items.

While things are a bit behind the usual season - and much wetter - there has still been a lot of color in the garden. As plants have poked through the soil, come into bloom or been added to the beds, I have contibuted photos to my 2010 Flickr gallery of garden images.

© 2010 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:

Communication Arts Design Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Late Deadline: 28 May 2010 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Advertising Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Late Deadline: 28 May 2010 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

The Best of Cover Design
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline Extended: 28 May 2010
No entry fees charged

My Own Business Card, Volume Two
(Design and Design - France)
Deadline Extended: 31 May 2010
No entry fees charged

Just Sit! Chairs and Stools Design
(Design and Design - France)
Deadline Extended: 31 May 2010
No entry fees charged

Best Organic Packaging, Volume One
(Design and Design - France)
Deadline Extended: 31 May 2010
No entry fees charged

Out of the Closet/Into the Street Poster Exhibit
(Center for the Study of Political Graphics - USA)
Deadline: 1 June 2010
No entry fees charged

Top 100 New Creatives
(CMYK - USA)
Deadline: 7 June 2010
Entry fees charged

"Non-Traditional" Advertising and Design
(CMYK - USA)
Deadline: 9 June 2010
Entry fees charged

American Graphic Design Awards
(GDUSA - USA)
Deadline: 10 June 2010
Entry fees charged

Graphis Annual Reports 2011
(Graphis - USA)
Deadline: 14 June 2010
Entry fees charged

Graphis New Talent Annual 2011
(Graphis - USA)
Deadline: 14 June 2010
Entry fees charged

Coupe International Design and Image Competition
(Coupe Magazine - Canada)
Deadline: 16 June 2010
Entry fees charged

Summit Marketing Effectiveness Awards
(Summit International Awards - USA)
Deadline: 23 June 2010
Entry fees charged

Print Student Cover Competition
(Print Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 30 June 2010
No entry fees charged

Basic Brochures
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 30 June 2010
No entry fees charged

HOW In-HOWse Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Late Deadline: 1 July 2010 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

UCDA Design Competitions
(University and College Designers Assn.
- USA)
Deadline: 9 July 2010
Entry fees charged

International Wine Label Design Competition
(IWLDC - USA)
Deadline: 15 July 2010
Entry fees charged

HOW Interactive Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 15 July 2010
Late Deadline: 2 August 2010 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

Trademarks USA
(American Pixel Academy - USA)
Deadline: 31 July 2010
Entry fees charged

Creativity Print Awards
(Creativity Awards - USA)
Submissions accepted 1 June 2010
Deadline: 13 August 2010
Late Deadline: 27 August 2010 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

Letterpool - London
(Letterpool - UK)
Deadline: 20 August 2010
No entry fees charged

iheartlogos
(iheartlogos.com - USA)
Season One Deadline: 31 August 2010
Entry fees charged

HOW International Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 September 2010
Late Deadline: 15 September 2010 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Typography Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 10 September 2010
Late Deadline: 24 September 2010 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

Summit Emerging Media Awards
(Summit International Awards - USA)
Deadline: 22 September 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
Late Deadline: 22 October 2010 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

Hiiiband International Logo Award 2010
(New Graphic - China)
Deadline: 31 October 2010
No entry fees charged

Logo Nest
(Logo Nest - International)
Deadline: 31 December 2010
No entry fees charged

Summit Creative Awards
(Summit International Awards - USA)
Deadline: 24 January 2011
Entry fees charged

PAPERWORKS Letterhead Contest
(Neenah Paper - USA)
Deadline: Ongoing - judged quarterly
No entry fees charged

PAPERWORKS Text And Cover Contest
(Neenah Paper - USA)
Deadline: Ongoing - judged quarterly
No 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 and calls for book submissions: A collection of design competition - and book submission request - tips, tricks and observations.

A design competition calendar is also available at Icograda. L├╝rzer's ARCHIVE 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.

© 2010 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives