Design industry experts offer career advice

in navigating sticky situations at work

In every in-house designer's career, unique, uncomfortable and difficult workplace dilemmas will at some time rear their ugly heads. How one handles such situations may play a major role in the future at a given job. The Creative Group eZine called on four design industry professionals to offer possible suggestions in taking on common career predicaments in the latest issue article Business Etiquette Survival Guide: Navigating sticky situations at work

National speaker, author and marketing mentor Ilise Benun; Wyeth Corporate Graphic's assistant director Glenn John Arnowitz; design principal and Langton Cherubino Group partner David Langton; and myself were all asked for input on a variety of possible career-impacting situations. Hopefully our feedback will help others in the design profession be better prepared for the sticky situation surprises that may pop up in the workplace.

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

Design studio housecleaning - excavated artifact #6

In his recent Right Brain Reader piece, Away from the sketch pad; away from the struggle, Philip Bailey mentioned the logo I had designed for the theatrical production Fat Men in Skirts. Having done the logo about a decade ago, I had not thought about the image in some time - and then the other day I came across my original sketch for the identity on a scrap of laser paper that I had filed away.

I've been designing logos for triangle productions! theatre presentations for over 16 years. Producer/director Don Horn has been a dream client. He'll throw some odd play or musical name my way and leave me alone to create the identity for the show. He seldom even requests any changes in the designs. In this case, the production was to be playwright Nicky Silver's show Fat Men in Skirts.

I almost immediately had an image for the logo in my mind - kind of a cross between a middle-aged thick manly man and someone's pleasantly plump grandmother - with curly black chest hair. I quickly sketched out a rough design and then proceeded to take the image to the computer. In my digital design I wanted to maintain some of the qualities of the rough drawing - without giving the "fat man" too much detail.

The show was yet another successful local theatre production. My logo design had some success as well. It was recognized by the PRINT's Regional Design Annual at the time and was published in the Japanese design book New Logo & Trademark Design - which was recently republished in paperback as Logo and Trademark Collection.

My latest assignment: Create the logo for Tonya & Nancy: The Opera (Yes, that Tonya and Nancy!).

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Jeff Fisher LogoMotives represented in

two new graphic design books

Yesterday my mail delivery brought me copies of two new graphic design books in which comments by me, or examples of my work, are featured. Today I am getting high off the fumes of printing ink as I flip through the fresh-off-the-press volumes

The first is Caffeine for the Creative Mind: 250 exercises to wake up your brain by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee Oldfield. The book, from HOW Design Books, is a collection of over 250 brain- stretching creative exercises; feedback on exercises tried by designers, illustrators, photographers, professors and others; and interviews with industry professionals. Wendy Lee Oldfield interviewed me for the book about 17 months ago when I was speaking at the HOW Design Conference in San Diego. The result of that meeting is highlighted in the book, along with interviews of Terry Marks, Kevin Carroll, Denise Weyhrich, Brian Sack, Steve Morris, Mike Dietz, Peleg Top, John Sayles and Sheree Clark of Sayles Graphic Design, John Foster, and Von Glitschka.

The book is sure to be an instant hit with "creative types" around the world - and will most likely soon be found on the book lists of many design schools. Now, I just need to find the time to sit down and read it from cover to cover.

The second book in my mailbox yesterday was American Corporate Identity from David E. Carter. The design annual features the winning graphic design entries from the American Corporate Identity 22 competition. Four of my logo designs - for the Benicia Historical Museum, NoBox Design, Twisted Elegance Interactive and Just Out newsmagazine - are included in the volume. The designs were presented in a previous bLog-oMotives entry when the winning entries were announced by competition organizers.

Since 1998, when I first started entering the American Corporate Identity competitions, 24 logo designs and one marketing collateral package designed by Jeff Fisher LogoMotives have won the Awards of Excellence and been featured in the annual publications. The deadline for the next competiton will be in December of this year.

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

"Call for entries" confusion?

(Note: Over the weekend a thread developed on the Graphic Design Forum, initiated by the posting of a Rotovision "call for entries" for book submissions, making it clear that some design professionals are a bit confused about the difference between "spec" work and a legitimate book submission "call for entries" - and were not familiar with the graphic design book publisher. The following is my posted response to the thread issues.)

I do think it's great that design professionals are so quick to question "calls for entries" when so many posted online these days are for speculative work - or, in other words, requests for designers to create NEW work - without compensation - in competition with others for possible payment on a job or the use of the final art without any compensation at all. It shows that the NO!SPEC movement is making great strides. However, "calls for entries" for EXISTING work - for which a designer has already been paid - to be included in a design book or annual have been part of the industry as long as there has been a graphic design profession - and are a totally different beast.

Rotovision books are incredible design resources, and much better known on the other side of the "pond." Rotovision is a "sister company" of the much more familiar Rockport Publishers in the U.S. Still, the Rotovision logo on the spine of a book should be getting more and more recognizable to any designer spending time at any bookstore in the U.S. with a great graphic design section. I see more of them all the time.

My own work has now represented in over 80 design books and annuals in the last ten years. My work has been published in design books from Japan, Korea, Sinagapore, China, Brazil, Spain and the U.S., literally giving my work worldwide exposure. (The last time I was in Italy I came out of the Accademia, after seeing the statue of David, to see a design book in the store window across the street open to a page full of my logo designs) It is one of the best marketing tools I have ever used in the marketing and promotion of my work. The vast majority of people contacting me in regards to design work now say "I saw your work in a design book at my local bookstore..." It all about making your design efforts work for you, rather than working your ass off all the time to market and promote yourself - creating a high visible extension of your portfolio of great work.

As a result of being published in design books a lot of other things have happened in addition to new clients. I'm often asked for work to illustrate other books on design or small business marketing - and to be included in magazine articles. I've been asked to speak at conferences, write books and magazine articles, and even to submit works for inclusion in the archives of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.

Such "call for entries" requests offer great opportunities to present what you consider your best work to an audience much wider than that originally seeing the work. The "damn I'm good" aspect of being included in such a book is great for yourself, your career AND the client for which you did the original work. (i.e. If you don't "toot! your own horn, no one else will) My client firms, and the direct contact with whom I've worked, love having their work showcased in design volumes as an unbiased verification that they did something right in producing the highlighted project.

In most cases the books required no entry fee, or publication fee, for the acceptance or publication of my work - and "free" is a very good price for world-wide advertising. Those requiring entry fees - to offset administration, production and publication costs - simply became part of my business advertising costs (and a much better use of those dollars). The inclusion of my work in such volumes doubles the promotion opportunities when it comes to sending out press releases about the work being published.Many designers do understand the business value of being included in such books, and the personal pride in having work presented in such a graphic arena. Those whose work was included in my first book, The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success, keep me posted about the results of their work being featured. Over 50 design firms are represented in my upcoming book, Identity Crisis!, and most jumped at the invitation to showcase their work in a book that is being sold on Amazon nearly 10 months before it is published. With my office being "closed" on Fridays, I find myself spending most of those days on such marketing efforts and opportunities to have my favorite project receive greater exposure.

One of the oddest things about this world of graphic design books is the number of times I have picked up a new book at a local bookstore - for which I have not submitted designs - only to find my work used in the book without my permission or any attribution of credits at all. It usually turns out that the designs have been "borrowed" from an existing book. Most often these books are published in countries where there is already little regard for copyright of any kind.

I noticed that (a regular forum poster) already posted one of my articles on this topic. I'll post it again - along with a couple other resources.

Article: A Winning Strategy

Article: When a "contest" is not a contest

I also do a bLog-oMotives entry every 60 to 90 days updating "calls for entries" from book publishers and writers from around the world. Here's the latest entry:

Calls for entries: Upcoming design competition deadlines

Good luck!

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

An introduction to Amazon Shorts

Recently, design educator and writer Robin Landa introduced me to Amazon Shorts. No, Amazon is not marketing their own brand of boxer underwear. Amazon Shorts are never-before- seen short works from a wide variety of well-known authors, available only on - for 49 cents each!

Landa, a brand and creative strategist - and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Design at Kean University of New Jersey - was gracious enough to provide some input for my upcoming book, Identity Crisis!. In one of her emails, she suggested I take a look at her just published "short," 10 Truths Behind Successful Brands. It's a great little resource and you can't beat the price.

If Landa's name seems a bit familiar; it should. She is the author of the design volumes Designing Brand Experiences, Graphic Design Solutions, Advertising By Design and Thinking Creatively. Landa is also co-author of 2D: Visual Basics for Designers and Visual Workout: Creativity Workbook.

So, in addition to checking out the writing of Robin Landa, take a look at the other offerings of Amazon Shorts. You will find a great selection of valuable (and inexpensive) writing on an incredibly wide variety of topics.

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Right Brain Reader features Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

The Right Brain Reader, the online newsletter for the web presence Right Brain Resource, features Jeff Fisher Logomotives in their latest offering Portland - Independently Creative. In the October issue, writer Philip Bailey focuses on identity designer Fisher in the article Away from the sketch pad; away from the struggle, Jeff Pollard Design in the piece Boiling Down the Talent of Logo Design, and custom silk screen and design shop Modified Design

Fisher, the author of the book The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success and the upcoming 2007 release Identity Crisis!, has previously written for The Right Brain Reader. His article How Much Should I Charge? appeared on the site in January 2005.

Based in Portland, Oregon, Right Brain Resource is a creative staffing agency dedicated to supporting the creative community. The firm helps companies find creative individuals with all levels of talent within the six disciplines of graphic design, website development, copywriting, illustration, apparel design and photography.

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Could you draw major logos from memory?

I came across an interesting web site the other day called Brandmarker. The art group monochrom attempted to evaluate the actual power of commercial brands by making people draw famous logos from memory. Austrian individuals were asked to draw a total of twelve logos (nine international, three typically European) from the memory of past interactions and sightings of the images - 25 people per brand. The identities selected included adidas, BP, Coca-Cola, Lacoste, Apple and others.

Brands, and logos, do seem to stick in people's minds. I thought it was interesting how many people drew the old BP shield rather than the newer flower-like image. Still, the shield is my one of my first memories of a major international logo. It was on a tanker truck in my Matchbox car collection when I was a kid. (In fact, I probably still have that particular toy vehicle as I have most of my collection stored away - many in their original boxes.) In several cases older versions of the featured logos were drawn.

Hmmm...I wonder why about half of the people got the Lacoste "critter" facing the wrong way?

monochrom is an international art-technology-philosophy group founded in 1993. Its offices are located at Museumsquartier/Vienna (at 'QDK'). The group works with different media and art formats and publishes the German book and magazine series monochrom. monochrom is known for its left-wing political work/civil society work. The group's website functions as a collaborative digital art community.

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Wandering wine wings around the west

I really never thought we'd see our bottles of wine again after being told by Southwest Airline that the bag containing the wine was missing. Sunday afternoon Ed tried calling the airline to get more information and discovered that the central baggage office is only open 8:00 to 5:00, Monday through Friday (I'm sure that's always really convenient for a weekend traveler who has lost luggage issues).

He decided to review the Southwest website and found there is no information, or restrictions, regarding transporting wine in checked baggage. In again calling the airline's reservations number, he had to specifically ask the agent about the (new) policy before she would even research the restriction. The policy even specifies how thick the plastic bag must be in which the Styrofoam clad bottles of wine and box are placed. I doubt if any customers are even aware such "rules" exist until they experience a situation such as ours.

On Monday morning Ed got a call saying the bag had been found - in Ontario, CA. Which means the wine we could not have in our checked luggage had in fact been put on a plane to another city for some reason. No one could tell him why a bag with no destination label, ended up in Ontario. He was told the bag would be put on yet another plane and flown to Portland for an afternoon pick-up at the airport. Hey, weren't we originally trying to accomplish getting the wine to Portland when the bottles started this odd adventure?

Of course, we still didn't know the condition of the wine - or if all/any of the bottles were even in the bag.

Ed drove out to the airport Monday evening and picked up the bag, which contained four well-traveled bottles of wine in excellent condition - and I'm happy to have my etched bottle safe at home...

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

W(h)ining about Southwest Airlines

and the lost bottles of wine

I don't usually use my blog to bitch and moan about things - but sometimes dealing with the airlines can be so incredibly frustrating - especially when they lose something due to complete stupidity. So, I will w(h)ine a bit.

Last weekend we spent a few days visiting my sister (and client) in Benicia, CA. It's usually easier to fly into Sacramento, and drive the hour to Benicia, than it is to deal with San Francisco International and the drive to my sister's town or take the BART trip to a nearby station. When we do so, we usually book our trip on Southwest Airlines - and most of our experiences have been quite pleasant.

Part of the reason we were visting my sister was to finally take possession of four bottles of wine purchased on a trip to Napa when last visiting her in April of 2005. She'd been holding the wine "hostage" until we returned to get it in person. Two of the bottles were incredible whites (for me) from an wonderful private tasting party (arranged by our friend Greg from Atlanta) at the Clos Du Val winery, another was a red from Clos Du Val, and the final bottle was from the small boutique HaGafen Cellars.

Due to the new TSA restrictions on liquids in carry-on luggage, we came prepared to check the bottles of wine in our luggage - which we have done in the past with no issues - for the return trip. We packed an extra piece of luggage within another bag - a sturdy new bag bearing the logo of Holland+Knight law firm where my partner Ed is employed - and also packed to strong corrugated wine shipping containers we had used to bring bottles of wine back from a past trip to Italy.

We had a great visit with my sister and her new fiancé. Actually, last Saturday night the two bottles of red wine were consumed during an amazing dinner prepared by Ed. My sister supplemented our wine shipment with another bottle of red wine for Ed and a special gift for me - a limited edition commemorative bottle of wine with the logo I had designed for the Benicia Historical Museum etched in the glass. The thing was beautiful.

On Sunday afternoon, with all our luggage packed, we drove off to the Sacramento Airport for our flight back to Portland. When reaching the Southwest ticket counter the very nice agent asked if we had any wine in our luggage. We told her that we did and she asked to see how it was packaged. She took one look at the packaging and told us that Southwest did not allow for any wine to be shipped in checked luggage unless it was packaged in Styrofoam shipping containers and we needed to remove the wine from our bags. Of course, there was no facility at the airport (about an hour and a half away from Napa) to purchase such shipping materials or prepare a package for shipping in another manner. The ticket agent suggested that we put all the wine in the Holland+Knight bag, label it appropriately and have it left in the Southwest supervisor's office to be picked up by someone later. We phoned my sister and she agreed to drive the one hour to the airport on the following Saturday, or before, to pick up the wine and again hold it "hostage." Ed put one of his business cards into the piece of luggage and attached a label to the bag with my sister's name, her fiancé's name and my sister's cell phone number. We told the helpful ticket agent what was going on and she wrote on the label "will pickup on 10/07/06 or before." With the travel "speed bump" handled we headed for the security and our evening flight home to Portland.

Yesterday we had an email that my sister was heading to Sacramento to pick up the bag and our wine. Later we got a voice mail message to call her because when she got to the airport no one could find the bag in question at all. Ed called her and was told that the people at the Southwest counter "thought" that, due to the fact the bag had been unclaimed for five days, it had probably been sent to the airline's unclaimed baggage facility in Texas - even though a pickup date of 10/07 was marked on the bag's label. Excuse me, wouldn't that involve putting a bag of items that we were told could not be checked into the luggage hold of a plane? The airline made no attempt to call my sister - whose number was also clearly on the luggage tag. There was certainly no attempt to check inside the bag and find Ed's business card to call him at his office.

Instead, we now have a phone number for a facility in Texas and the search will begin for our bag o' wine. I've got to admit, with the recently released figures on lost luggage, I'm not too hopeful.

I'm probably pissed off about the loss of the bottle with my etched logo design more than anything else. To avoid such situations I have two scenarios of advice for fellow travelers:

1.) Just blatantly lie to the ticket agent if you are asked about wine in your luggage; or

2.) Use your car keys to poke the cork into the bottle (you certainly should not be carrying a corkscrew with you!), sit down on the floor of the airport lobby and drink the wine from the bottle. Perhaps you will be a bit more prepared to deal with the airlines, security, the crowded airports and your upcoming flight.

I'll keep you posted about the saga of the lost wine...

(Note: Here's the update on the wandering wine.)

©2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

An evening at Jimmy Mak's with Jacqui Naylor

It was great to escape from the house last night - after a week of dealing with a flu bug while finalizing the manuscript of my new book - to spend an evening with friends at the "new and improved" Jimmy Mak's club listening to San Francisco based jazz vocalist Jacqui Naylor. My partner, Ed, and I first met Jacqui at the Sayulita, Mexico wedding of our mutual friends Shawn and Greg. When Jacqui was a child, Shawn was one of her babysitters. Jacqui sang at the wedding, with partner-in-crime Art Khu on guitar, and I fell in love with her music. I mentioned to Ed that I had to get a copy of her CD Shelter as soon as we got back to Portland. Later, at the wedding reception, I felt someone trying to put something in my pocket and turned around to find Jacqui attempting to put a copy of the CD in my pants. She smiled and said "A little bird told me you might like this." I was hooked on Jacqui. I often work on design projects with her incredible voice in the background.

When Jacqui comes to Portland, Shawn and Greg always get a group together to attend the show. Last night - the first time in the new "big city" venue - we joined them, along with Greg's mother Marcia, Shawn's sister Karen, and our friends Scott and Erika, for a wonderful evening of friends, food, music and a drink or two. Jacqui performed some old favorites and selections from her new CD, The Color Five. She was better than ever. It was also great to get the chance to visit with her for a bit, and say "hi" to Art. Unfortunately, the night ended way too early for us.

Jacqui has upcoming tour dates at several Blue Note jazz clubs in Japan, and at locations around the U.S. If you can't catch Jacqui in person, get yourself one of her CDs - or touch base with her on MySpace (where she and I bumped into each other a few months ago).

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Jeffism #6

"I'm constantly amazed by the incredible number of design professionals who are willing to invest so much time, talent and energy in the CHANCE at so little - or nothing - in compensation. It's even more flabbergasting that they continue to accept such crap as an industry norm again and again."

- Jeff Fisher (in regards to speculative design efforts)

Calls for entries:

Upcoming design competition 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 2007
(Tokyo Type Directors Club - Japan)
Deadline: Interactive design category - October 10, 2006
Deadline: All other categories - October 20, 2006

No entry fees charged for international submissions

STEP inside design 100
(STEP inside design - USA)
Extended Deadline: October 16, 2006
Entry fees charged

Graphis Posters 2007
(Graphis, Inc. - USA)
Deadline: October 30, 2006
Entry fees charged

The Instore Graphic Design Awards
(Graphic Design: usa - USA)
Deadline: October 30, 2006
Entry fees charged

LOGO 2007
(David E. Carter - USA)
Deadline: October 31, 2006
Entry fees charged

A+C=D, PRINT’s International Art and Commerce Design Review
Deadline: November 1, 2006
Entry fees charged

designwire annual '06
(designwire - Australia)
Deadline: Initial submissions - November 3, 2006
No entry fees charged - but designwire forum membership required

D&AD Global Awards 2007
(D&AD - UK)
Earlybird Deadline: November 6, 2006
Entry fees charged

(Debut Publications - UK)
Extended Deadline: November 30, 2006
No entry fees

(Note: I should mention that while the request for submissions for the book "Branded" is a great opportunity for designers, I disagree with Debut Publications' concurrent "contest" for speculative cover design art. The situation is similar to the recent cover design "contest" which was canceled by the Creativity Awards - although, much to the credit of Debut Publications, the publisher does not seem to be assuming exclusive usage rights to all works submitted. Still, any request for a designer to execute "free" work for a for-profit entity just bugs the hell out of me. Designers should make their feelings about this issue known to the publisher.)

Restaurants Graphic Design
(Index Books - Spain)
Deadline: November 31, 2006
No entry fees

EXHIBITOR Exhibit Design Awards
(Exhibitor Magazine - USA)
Earlybird Deadline: December 1, 2006
Entry fees charged

I.D. Annual Design Review
(I.D. Magazine - USA)
December 1, 2006
Entry fees charged

Image Management and Reproduction
(Rotovision - UK)
Extended Deadline: November 30 2006
No entry fees

Instant Graphics
(Rotovision - UK)
Deadline: December 8, 2006
No entry fees

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.

Good luck!

(Note: Thanks to NO!SPEC for mentioning this bLog-oMotives entry)

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives