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Jeff Fisher comments featured in Fortune

"Logo-Licious or Lame?" piece

Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland design firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, shares his thoughts on some recent major corporate identity makeovers in the latest issue of Fortune magazine. Fisher, Howard Belk of Siegel & Gale, and Bill Gardner of Gardner Design were asked to comment on a variety of logo redesigns now representing major international corporations. Their feedback on the new Kodak, Intel, Sprint and AT&T identities are in the February 6, 2006 print issue of the publication, and online, in the short article Logo-Licious or Lame?

Fortune reporter Telis Demos contacted Fisher after reading his Logo Notions column on the graphic design industry site Creative Latitude.

Note: In addition to the quotes offered in the Fortune piece I provided the writer with the following comments (and much more in a phone interview) on a variety of recent corporate makeovers:

Kodak: I certainly understand Kodak's need to steer their identity away from the film-related imagery of the past in our digital image world. Initially I felt their new image was over-simplified. However, it's growing on me and I do immediately see "Kodak" when I see the new imagery due to the use of the same corporate colors and similar letterforms within the name. I guess the designer did not intend the yellow lines to be part of the new image - the lack of those lines does weaken the strength of the brand identity by eliminating the yellow associated with the corporation for so many years. I do think this will end up being one of the most successful recent corporate makeovers.

Intel: I think my initial reaction to Intel's new identity was "swoosh-o-licious!" While integrating multiple corporate image elements into a new identity the inclusion of the swooshes makes the new image seem somewhat dated at introduction. I do have a particular aversion to swooshes in logos. They are such a throw-back to the dot doom of the 90's and they are so "last century."

A couple of my favorite sites or articles about logo swooshes are Logo Hell and Swoosh! There It Is. In Fact, Swooshlike Logos Are Everywhere.

Sprint: My initial impression to this design was: "Why is the name so far away from the icon?" The placement still seems off to me. When I've seen the logo making use of the icon stacked above the name the identity seems stronger to me. I do think the identity works as a good combination of the past Sprint and Nextel identities. I look at the word "Sprint" and still seem their old red in my mind - and the yellow does convey "Nextel" to me. It's a corporate makeover that is growing on me as a designer.

at&t: Probably my least favorite recent corporate makeover. My immediate response was "it's fugly." I think a classic, easily recognized logo has been altered to look like a marble croquet ball and the lower-case type of "at&t" looks juvenile to me - rather than making the corporation seem more friendly to the world.

Quark: I still think the logo is lame - its look like an "a" rather than a lower-case "q". I also think Quark and the design firm hired did a less than stellar job of creating something unique - especially with the number of similar designs found by designers around the world. (you may want to read the article I wrote about this issue: Inspiration, imitation or innovation - how do designers create unique identities?.)

Visa: This rebranding works for me. The change was so subtle I doubt if many customers have even noticed.

UPS: I still have issues with accepting the new identity introduced by UPS in 2003. How dare they mess with Paul Rand's classic logo? It seems a bit "swooshy" to me with the arcing line in the upper portion of the design. In the "Keep It Simple, Stupid (K.I.S.S.)" world of identity design the 3D aspect of the image has probably created a number of reproduction issues since the logo was put into use.

Unilever: Introduced back in 2004, I think this is one of the best and most unique corporate redesigns in recent years. The logo is beautiful, fun to dissect and somehow does work well in small applications. The new symbol also eliminates the World Trade Center tower imagery of the old design.

USA Network: While the new design is simpler and stronger I do snicker a bit at what appears to me to be male genitalia coming off of the "U" and "A" letterforms in the logo. When I point it out to people they say that is then all they see each time the logo appears on the television screen.

* If I don't "toot!" my own horn, no one else will

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Toot! Toot!*:

Jeff Fisher LogoMotives work featured in

Graphic Designer's Print + Color Handbook

I am addicted to bookstores. In Portland, or while traveling in any other city, I can seldom pass by a book retailer without stopping in to browse. I usually head right for the graphic design section. Quite often, while flipping through the volumes on the shelves, I will come across books containing examples of my work that I didn't know were going to appear in another book. Last week, in Seattle, I found a new Rockport Publishers offering - Graphic Designer's Print + Color Handbook : All You Need to Know about Color and Print from Concept to Final Output by Constance Sidles, Rick Sutherland and Barb Karg - on the shelf at Borders. This book covers everything from choosing color combinations to choosing the best paper and printing methods for a design job. It looks like a great resource for any graphics professional.

In going through the book I found several examples of my own work. It was a surprise to see them in this particular volume, but each had been included in a previous Rockport book on digital printing.

My design for a ticket price seating chart for the the old Kingdome in Seattle is included in the book. Years ago I designed the stationery package and all marketing/advertising materials for the Seattle Seahawks. The seating chart is used by book's authors to show a somewhat complicated piece that was produced using PDF files for proofing/editing by the client in Seattle and then sent in the same format to a print house in Portland.

I also designed all marketing materials for Action Sports Media, another company formed by Seahawks owner Paul Allen. One of the projects was a sales kit that could be customized for potential clients who were interested in ASM's professional and college sports arena digital signage. The piece represented in the new book is a map of all universities sports programs on the ASM client list at the time. It is included in the Print and Color Handbook to illustrate the possible use of short-run digital printing when more expensive traditional printing is not necessary.

The examples of projects I designed for the Oregon company Eid Access (now Eid Passport) are used in the book to show the flexibility of digital printing. The company - a specialist in security programs for military, government, and commercial facilities - used the items I designed as digitally produced brochure panels, handouts and tradeshow exhibit pieces that were 15" high.

It's always great to see my work represented in graphic design books that literally extend my marketing and promotion efforts worldwide. At this point nearly 80 books feature examples of my design efforts - especially my logo design work.

* If I don't "toot!" my own horn, no one else will

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Tagged! - I'm "it" and you may be the next to

come up with four thingie-dingies

My copywriter friend Happy Little Atom "tagged" me so here goes:

Four jobs I've had:
1. Graphic designer for the advertising department of the University of Oregon's daily college newspaper: Lots of fun, not really a lot of work - but a great way for a college kid to get some "real world" job experience before going out into the big bad world. The best part of the job was the Friday afternoon beer gardens downstairs in the same building. The gang from this office, and some other friends, are responsible for me getting up on a bar in Eugene and dancing in my underwear to win the "Best Butt Contest." Many years after leaving the UO I was hired to design the 100th anniversary flag for the paper (below) - based on its original identity.

2. Art Director for a group of publications produced by the Multnomah County Medical Society: The MCMS had been a client for a couple years when i was asked to come "in-house" and create the publications and design department. It was great experience in publication design and production. My boss was the best I've ever had and she is responsible for inspiring the Designer User's Manual and the "Creative Freedom Pass."

3. Art Director of an ad agency: I was the "art department." Working in the agency was an incredible opportunity to be involved in the concepting, copywriting, design and production of all forms of advertising for clients selling everything from kitty litter to Subarus.

4. Creative Director of a clothing manufacturing firm: Too much fun. Coordinated national print advertising, planned and directed fashion shows, designed graphics for clothing, traveled to industry trade shows and shopped for models on the streets of Seattle. When others on the staff had enough of me they'd just close the cyclone fence gate on my office and lock me in. During "Fashion Week" (yes, Seattle had one back then) I put the company's clothing on the bike messengers in town and it got written up in Business Week magazine.

Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. LA Story
2. Princess Bride
3. Rear Window
4. Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid

Four places I have lived:
1. Salem, OR
2. Eugene, OR
3. Seattle, WA
4. Portland, OR

Four TV shows I love(d):
1. The West Wing
2. Six Feet Under
3. Queer as Folk
4. This Old House

Four places I've vacationed:
1. The Big Island of Hawaii
2. A villa in the Umbria region of Italy
3. Palapa on the beach in the Yucatan
4. Friend's beachfront house in St. Croix

Four of my favorite dishes
1. Grilled Salmon
2. Fish Tacos with mango salsa and guacamole
3. A big ol' steak with grilled mushrooms and horseradish - plus a baked potato with all the goods.
4. German Chocolate Cake

Four sites I visit daily:
1. HOW Design Forum
2. Creative Latitude
3. Designers Who Blog
4. ORblogs

Four places I would rather be right now
1. Caribbean
2. Italy - especially the small hill towns
3. Manzanita (on the Oregon Coast)
4. On any sunny beach reading books and having a drink

Four people I am tagging:
1. Cat
2. Jason
3. Karen
4. Cal

Tag! You're it!

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives