Identity Crisis! teaser No. 9

My upcoming book Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands features 50 case studies of identity re-designs and rebranding with the application of the new business images. Projects showcased include "mom and pop" businesses, major corporations, educational facilities, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and more.

Design entities from around the world, from one-person operations to major industry firms, submitted work for possible inclusion in the book. With a series of Identity Crisis! blog entries I have been announcing the firms and projects that are included in the book. Each re-design is an Identity Crisis! chapter.

Here is the fifth, and final, installment of ten re-design case studies included in the book, listed by project featured and firm responsible for the effort:

Canton Crossing
Round2 Communications (now R2i) • Baltimore,, MD USA

Mayhem Studios
Mayhem Studios • Los Angeles, CA USA

Vancouver Aquarium
Subplot Design Inc. • Vancouver, BC Canada

Frivole Couture
Breathewords • Caldas da Rainha, Portugal

The Boyd Center for Integrative Health
b-design • San Diego, CA USA

Murray's Jewelers
nHarmony, Inc. • Muncie, IN USA

Weyerhaeuser Company - iLevel
Hornall Anderson Design Works • Seattle, WA USA

Slipstream Design
Modern Dog Design Co. • Seattle, WA USA

Sigma Chi
Brainforest, Inc. • Chicago, IL USA

American Technion Society
Shapiro Design Associates Inc. • Irvington, NY USA

I will continue to use the Identity Crisis! blog to post additional related news items and notes. The book is scheduled for an early October release.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Design studio housecleaning - excavated artifact #14

Yet additional proof that I never throw anything away. In a box of unfiled clutter I just found a business window envelope with a phone message note and a doodle made after returning a previous client's phone call.

The client, Lisa Fritsch of the Diva Salon, was considering opening a new hair and nail establishment in the renovated Pearl District building housing the headquarters of the ad firm Wieden & Kennedy. Negotiations were underway for the lease of the space and she wanted to proceed on the identity for the new business with the name "Page Six." It was a reference to the New York Post column by the same name, and the tagline for the salon was to be something like "Hair & nails that are talked about."

As my client described the business, and how she imagined the logo, I doodled a bit on the envelope (above left). She mentioned she had sketched something out herself, with her daughter's crayons on a sheet of notebook paper (above right), and asked if I wanted to see it. I told her I thought I had a good idea of what she wanted and I would go ahead with creating the initial concept. A few days later, I presented my concept (above center) and we were both stunned at how close my design was to her own doodle.

Then the unexpected happened. The lease negotiations came to an end. My client needed to rethink her business plan and look at new locations. A short time later she leased a renovated auto repair shop. Her "Page Six." name really didn't fit the new facility and it was scraped - but not before the logo design was accepted for publication in The Big Book of Logos 3.

This bLog-oMotives entry brings up several topics for future postings: 1.) Finalized logos that were never used or had very limited lifespans; 2.) How client logo rough concepts contribute to finalized images; and 3.) The logo designs of Lisa Fritsch's other salons. More on those topics later.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

A symphonic celebration in Arbor Lodge

When we announced 11 years ago that we were moving to North Portland, quite a few friends and associates thought we were crazy. At the time, our Arbor Lodge neighborhood was just starting to experience the revival being shared by many Portland inner-city areas.

A lot has happened since we moved from Portland's Pearl District. The adidas U.S. headquarters being built about eight blocks from our house was a major change. Coffee houses and restaurants, such as Di Prima Dolci, Roux, Sagittarius, Sal's Famous Italian Kitchen, Mio Sushi and others began to appear. The light-rail system MAX built the Yellow Line nearby. After a vigorous community email and postcard campaign, New Seasons Market opened the nearby Arbor Lodge store. A wide variety of new and relocating businesses have new homes in the area. The University of Portland, another eight blocks from where we live, continues to build a national reputation as an academic and athletic power. (My partner Ed will begin his MBA program there this winter.)

One past issue of Portland Monthly magazine named Arbor Lodge as one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city - illustrating the point with a photo of a house three away from our own home. Mike Darcy even filmed an episode of his In The Garden television show from our garden. Residences and yards throughout the area are being renovated and improved on a daily basis, and homes are still selling for seemingly unrealistic prices within a matter of days. North Portland is constantly becoming an even more desirable community for businesses and residents. From my home-based studio, the area has been a vital part of my own design business.

Saturday evening seemed like a celebration of our North Portland neighborhood. Under a beautiful sunset, the Oregon Symphony held an incredible outdoor concert, to a very appreciative audience of hundreds, one block from our house in Arbor Lodge Park. It was part of the organization's annual Oregon Symphony in the Neighborhoods program. I don't think many were even bothered by the cold and wind as the symphony played a selection of pieces from opera, television, ballet, movies, Broadway shows and the catalog of Irving Berlin. I appreciated the cheers and applause when the theme from the show The West Wing was played. Bats flying over the crowd seemed to be soaring in time to the music of Swan Lake.

Being an advertising geek, I was also excited that the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was at the park, as part of the earlier Fun Afternoon Festival.

Ed and I attracted a bit of attention in our reclining Lafuma lounge chairs. People were commenting and asking questions about them. If you are enjoying the symphony, in a beautiful park one block from your home, you may as well be very comfortable.

On the short walk home, following the concert, we shared pride in what a strong and vibrant community North Portland has become in recent years. We made a great decision to buy a home here, and enjoy being part of a neighborhood were everyone knows, and watches out for, their neighbors.

A big "thank you" to the Oregon Symphony and all who made this great event possible.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher Logomotives.

Identity Crisis! teaser No. 8

Here's another sneak peek at my upcoming book, Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands

The above is a second spread of the Sheridan's Lattes and Frozen Custard identity re-design submission from the folks at Willoughby Design Group. The opening spread was posted earlier in Identity Crisis! teaser No. 1.

This entry originally appeared on the Identity Crisis! blog. Look for the book on your bookstore shelves in October.

Image: Copyright © 2007 Jeff Fisher • Used with permission of author and HOW Books, an imprint of F+W Publications, Inc.

I'm not so dizzy...after being sent to "the chair"

After last week's medical testing I was experiencing some swelling, numbness and tingling on the left side of my face. My doctor, Dr. John Epley, prescribed methylprednisolone to relieve the inflammation, swelling and related symptoms. The six day course of the drug began to improve the numbness about day three. The side effects of irritability and sleeplessness (six nights of sleep issues in a row) made me such a pleasant person to be around.

Yesterday I was once again at Dr. Epley's clinic - this time to get the results of my past vertigo test visits. I have been diagnosed with one of the most common forms of chronic vertigo, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). As described in literature from Dr. Epley's office, BPPV is caused by particles breaking off from the lining of the walls of a semicircular canal in the inner ear in the fluid that fills the canals. There are three semicircular canals located in the inner, for a total of six canals. They are part of the body's balance system responsible for a sense of spatial orientation (up, down, sideways, etc.) Moving the head in certain positions may cause the loose particles to move, causing an individual to feel a spinning sensation and make one's eyes move involuntarily. Unusual eye movement and patterns are important clues to problems in the inner ear.

With the diagnosis, Dr. Epley opted to send me to "the chair" - the Epley Onmiax chair. (He also asked that I be part of one of the research studies now being conducted with patients using the chair.) The Omniax has been developed by Dr. Epley. It is a large, motorized device that includes a chair that can be positioned at all angles and in three planes by computer controls. The device allows the study doctor, or consulting doctors, to move a patient in any position, including a 360-degree circle, to try to move the particles out of the semicircular canal. I've explained to people that it's like sitting a large gyroscope. The website has a great video demonstation of the Omniax in use.

I was strapped somewhat uncomfortably into the chair. Infrared goggles, which track and record eye movements, were place on my face. The camera within the goggles records all eye movement and sends the information to a computer that creates 3D imagery of the inner ear configurations; allowing the doctor to better diagnose and treat vertigo conditions. After a series of eye movement calibrations, the actual tests began.

Complete, or partial, darkness has been one of the triggers of my vertigo the past three years. The minute the goggles were placed over my eyes I experienced some disorientation. To get accurate eye movement recordings, I needed to be looking straight ahead into the goggles. I thought I was, but the doctor and clinicians kept requesting that I look directly forward. Dr. Epley then commented that my left eye must be looking to the far left to readjust for the imbalance it perceives. When they requested I look to the far right, which actually caused my left eye to feel really strained, the computer software was then able to record my eye looking straight ahead. Dr. Epley actually said, "we're going to need to retrain Jeff's eye to see things as they are."

I was moved in a variety of positions, including almost completely upside down, in the Omniax. I felt a bit nauseous, and very dizzy when brought back to a still, upright position. In the darkness, it felt as if I was spinning counter-clockwise at a fairly fast speed - although the chair was no longer moving at all. With my eye not cooperating, I sensed that Dr. Epley was a little frustrated at not getting the accurate readings he was seeking.

He then suggested putting a vibrating pad behind my left ear, in hopes of "breaking something loose" and being able to record it with the camera and computer equipment. The vibration felt kind of soothing. With me straining my eye to look to the extreme right, which was still actually directly forward, the series of Omniax movements were executed again. I suddenly felt something different and my eye was no longer straining as much to look straight ahead. At the same time one of the clinicians said, "Wow, did you see that?"

Dr. Epley commented, "Something happened; we got something to move."

I was once again brought up to a still, stable position in the chair - and, while still seeming to rotate counter-clockwise a bit, I felt as if I was spinning much slower than the previous test. That brought my first treatment for vertigo to an end.

I was told that I should sleep on my side, with my left ear up, on two pillows in upcoming nights. The doctors and clinicians seemed a bit surprised when I told them I always sleep in that position. I was also told that I was to limit my head movement for the next 48 hours - and that some patients opt to wear a neck brace to assist them in not moving their head. I'm sure the look on my face told them that I would not be wearing that fashion accessory. The clinician said, "Well, some people are better at restricting head movement than others."

When I got out of the chair, I felt a bit wobbly and disoriented. I was able to walk out to the office lobby unassisted. Another treatment was scheduled for two weeks from today. Once I was in my truck and driving home, I realized I should not have been driving at all. It's a little difficult to drive when unable to move your head - and feeling a bit of disorientation. At home I suddenly felt incredibly exhausted and the numbness in my face had returned. It was time for a long nap.

After my nap, I did notice that my left eye felt extremely tired and "heavy." As a passenger in a car on I-5 last night, I noticed that my vision was much clearer. There were no "halos" on the headlights of oncoming traffic - and the glare seemed less disorienting. I also felt no anxiety being in the moving car at night.

After an incredible night of sleep last night, this morning my eye still feels odd, strained, and dense or heavy. My face is still numb and tingling. I have a major headache - centered where the vibrating pad had been strapped to my head. Still, something is different. For the first time in three years, something is really different.

More to come as the adventure continues...

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

'Identity Crisis!' advance copy arrives

Amy Schell, my HOW Books editor for Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands (and Savvy Designer's Guide to Success), surprised me yesterday with the delivery of an advance copy of my book. It's an amazing feeling getting that first look at the actual product.

The book is exactly what I set out to write and the presentation of the content is incredible. Amy, book designer Grace Ring, and the entire HOW Books gang did a great job on this effort. I'm still repeatedly flipping through the book and checking it all out and I'm really pleased with the end result. I hope all contributors will be just as happy when the book is actually released.

Teaser spreads from the volume, lists of contributors and more information about the book may be found on the Identity Crisis! blog.

The book is to arrive at the F+W/HOW warehouse in late September and then it will be shipped out to booksellers around the world.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Re-Design: Valley Catholic High School

With my ongoing home studio housecleaning I have found quite a few examples of past "before and after" design projects. As further evidence that I have never thrown anything away, I found the "before" logo examples of three schools for which I created new identities many years ago. Two were on business cards, and one was a complete stationery package, that I have held onto for 10 to 20 years.

The first example, presented in this blog entry, was an identity design project the firm Whitman Advertising & Public Relations contracted me to execute back in the late 1980's. The client was St. Mary of the Valley High School, an education institution established in 1902, located in Beaverton, Oregon. The institution's name was a bit for people to stumble through - and the logo being used (above) seemed to present similar difficulties.

Within the original identity there had been an attempt to maintain a much-used monogram made up of the letterforms "St," "M" and "V," resulting in a somewhat awkward configuration of the school name when spelled out in its entirety. The lowercase "t" cut into the dome element sitting on top of the "S" and "M." The odd, horizontal configuration of the logo created layout and design difficulties each time it was used. With the original logo art long since misplaced, both the dome illustration and the dated University Roman type treatment were starting to lose fine line integrity from being repeatedly reproduced.

I was asked to create the identity for the updated school name of Valley Catholic High School. There had been a previous attempt (above left) to produce a logo with the new name, but it simply wasn't working well for the client - for many of the same reasons mentioned in regards to the original identity.

I just recently came across the original sketches and drawings (above) of my initial rough concepts for the logo. With the dome of the main building being a familiar community landmark there was no question it would the primary element in the design. In the pre-computer time, the ideas were sketched out in fine point felt tip pen, made use of rub-down type, incorporated some individual letters cut from photocopies, and had a good amount of Liquid Paper correction fluid on the pages.

Following acceptance of the "dome within a dome" rough design, I produced a stronger, bolder graphic - using a rapidiograph pen, circle templates and a ruler - eliminating many of the earlier reproduction issues. The font ITC Caslon 224 Medium was what I specified as the predominant type within the design; with Franklin Gothic Condensed used for secondary text elements. Of course, this was back in the day when typesetting was ordered through a type house.

The Valley Catholic High School identity I created was used for several years. I'm not sure when the current image, with a much more literal treatment of the dome graphic, was adopted - but the school name was changed again in 1991, to Valley Catholic School, when the high school and middle school programs were merged.

I'll present the other school logo makeovers, uncovered in a box of old files, in future bLog-oMotives entries.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

I'm so dizzy... (another update)

Last week I posted an entry about my first series of medical tests in regards to my ongoing vertigo issues. I just wanted to update people after the second round of tests at Dr. Epley's clinic on Wednesday. The following is the email I sent to friends and family yeasterday:

I feel a bit wobbly, and in a fog, today after the second round of vertigo testing yesterday. I had a videonystagmography (VNG) test yesterday - and it was an interesting "ride." The test determines if there are problems with the balance system in the inner ear by measuring eye movements, which are recorded by an infrared camera mounted in a pair of goggles. Disturbances in the balance system may cause involuntary eye movements called nystagmus.

The first stage of the exam involved remaining stationery while following vertical and horizontal light movements on a screen with my eyes. Just keeping my eyes open long enough for the proper recording of information (30+ seconds) was difficult and the faster the speed of the light on the screen caused me to be dizzy.

The second part of the test involved shaking my head back and forth at a variety of speeds while keeping my eyes open and focused on a stationery light. There were four levels of speed at which I needed to shake my head - and I really couldn't do it quick enough at the fastest light speed. In fact, I started feeling nauseous.

In the third part of the exam I had to move around in various positions, with the examination chair position changed a couple times, in the complete darkness of the goggles, while my eye movements were recorded. When I was still on the chair it felt as if it was spinning counter-clockwise.

In the fourth test, the "calorics," small balloons were inserted into my ear canal, and cool and warm water inflated the balloon (ouch!) and was circulated through the balloon. In the darkness of the goggles I had to keep my eyes open as long as possible while my reactions to a bright green light was recorded. Again, when done it felt as if the chair was spinning.

At the completion of the tests I felt really disoriented and dizzy. The times I experienced complete darkness with the goggles seemed to cause the most issues with my balance. (No night driving for me) I also kind of felt as if I was on the verge of a panic attack. I couldn't get out of the doctor's clinic fast enough to wait on a park bench outside for my partner Ed to pick me up.

When I got home I was exhausted and went directly to bed. After sleeping for about 1.5 hours I got up to dizziness and the left side of my face being swollen, tingling and numb. Today I woke up to feeling dizzy and in a fog - and I knew better than to even attempt driving a car anywhere. Over the course of the morning my face has gotten increasingly numb and tingling.

I called the clinic about the numbness and Dr. Epley said that with some patients the testing causes inflammation and swelling in the ear and head. I'm now being put on a five-day course of methylprednisolone to relieve the inflammation, swelling and related symptoms. Luckily, I can just walk over to the drugstore to pick up the prescription. Of course, the drug has a wide variety of side effects - including vertigo!

This stuff is all kind of a P.I.T.A., but I told Ed that I really am feeling the best I've felt in years - simply because I feel like I'm doing something positive about the problems and finding a possible solution.

Next Thursday I go back to the clinic for another consultation with Dr. Epley, where the testing results will be reviewed and possible treatments will be discussed. At that time I will also most likely get to go for a ride in Dr. Epley's Omniax chair.

It's been three years since my vertigo issues began. Yesterday I was told that the average patient has experienced vertigo for eight years before getting to where I am today with diagnosis and possible treatment. I think I'd go crazy if I had to deal with this for that long.

Thanks for all your support. Thanks also to Lisa Horne and Ed for being my personal chauffeurs.

I will keep you posted as things progress....

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Identity Crisis! teaser No. 7

The upcoming book Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands features 50 case studies of identity re-designs and rebranding with the application of the new business images. Projects showcased include "mom and pop" businesses, major corporations, educational facilities, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and more.

Design entities from around the world, from one-person operations to major industry firms, submitted work for possible inclusion in the book. With a series of blog entries I am announcing the firms and projects that are included in the book. Each re-design is an Identity Crisis! chapter.

Here is the fourth installment of ten re-design case studies included in the book, listed by project featured and firm responsible for the effort:

Outward Bound
Identityworks • Rye, NY USA
Connacher Design • Stamford, CT USA

Vita Cafe
Fullblast, Inc • Portland, OR USA

Washington Conservation Guild
CC Graphic Design • Salt Lake City, UT USA

Joffrey Ballet
Avenue Marketing & Communications • Chicago, IL USA

Intelligent Creatures
3 Dogz Creative Inc. • Toronto, ONT Canada

The Des Moines Playhouse
Sayles Graphic Design • Des Moines, IA USA

Central Florida West
Advertising By Design • Minneola, FL USA

Union Square Partnership
Shapiro Design Associates Inc. • Irvington, NY USA

Schellin Grounds Maintenance
angryporcupine*design • Park City, UT USA

Energias de Portugal
MyBrand • Lisbon, Portugal

On the Identity Crisis! blog I will continue relaying other related news items and notes. The book is scheduled for a late September release.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Design studio housecleaning - excavated artifact #13

I am a doodler. In the never-ending process of sorting through, and archiving, design projects from throughout my career, I am finding that I doodle a lot. I'm also learning that I must have never thrown anything away. Well, that last point has changed a bit. I've already taken 1.5 pickup truck loads of paper, cardboard and magazines to the neighbor- hood recycling center.

The other day I came across a folded catalog envelope. In unfolding the paper, I found the notes from a telephone conversation with Karen Fisher (no relation), made while she was living in Ogden, Utah. Karen is actually the mother of one of my partner's best friends from high school. She had come up with a business concept for building cupboards that would be placed in antique malls, and other suitable locations, to sell antiques, collectibles, gifts and other items ranging in price from $1 to $100.

The business name of "WhatNots" had been established; as had the tagline of "A Cupboard Collection of Spunky Stuff."

As the conversation continued, I doodled - including a small sketch of an antique cupboard; based on one I use as a china cabinet in my own dining room. My client said she would send me a photo of the one in her home (at right), which was the inspiration for her business model.

While we were talking, I was designing in my head. I immediately "saw" the business name "WhatNots" broken in two, with each half conveniently containing four letterforms. At the center of the logo would be the graphic image of the cupboard. With the description of the business, an "Arts & Crafty" type treatment was my only consideration. My cupboard illustration had a rough look to it and I felt the font Willow was a great solution. (The font was also used on a previous "excavated artifact.") I even used the period character from the font to create the knobs of the drawers and doors in the cupboard illustration.

The final WhatNots identity has always been a personal favorite. In addition, it won a LOGO 2000 award and appears in the book The Big Book of Logos 3.

For a look at some identity design rough concepts I've dug up while cleaning out my home studio, take a look at some other "excavated artifacts."

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

I'm so dizzy... (an update) head is spinning...

Many people know that I have been experiencing serious vertigo for over three years now. Over that time my issues with vertigo, dizziness, panic attacks and more have increased a great deal. I first wrote about it on bLog-oMotives this past January after reading about one of the leading specialists on vertigo, Dr. John Epley, in our local newspaper. Dr. Epley's clinic is here in Portland. I promised my partner Ed that when I was done writing my latest book I would contact the clinic and begin the process of diagnosis - and hopefully treatment for the condition.

When I initially contacted the clinic, I was told that it would be several months before I could have a consultation and be tested. It actually turned out that I could be seen as a patient over a month sooner that expected. This past week I had my first appointment. The following is the text of a forum posting, and email sent to family and friends, from this past Friday about that experience:

"Still feel kind of out of it after my vertigo testing experience yesterday. This morning it feels like my head has been shaken repeatedly by someone.

The major first portion of my appointment was an interview about my medical history and the past three years of vertigo experiences. The doctor wanted information about head injuries I've had in my lifetime (a fall when I was 11, a car accident in college and our car accident about 11 years ago). I guess that sometimes old accidents can manifest themselves years later as inner ear problems. I had to detail any surgeries I'd had over the years and medications I had taken. My experience with Cipro destroying ALL the bacteria in my body about six years ago, after picking up a "bug" on our travels, was detailed as it may have impacted good bacteria in my ears. I was asked a lot about my heart attack/stroke scare two years ago - which may have been somehow related to my vertigo issues. I also had to explain in detail how at times it feels that I am moving while everything around me is standing still - while the opposite is actually reality. My fairly recent panic attacks - two while in stores and two while driving - where also topics of many questions. We went into a great deal of detail how my allergies, heat, movement, high pitched noises, colors (yellow and orange) and altitude impact my dizziness and vertigo.

Then I went through some extensive hearing tests. These are the hearing tests, in the soundproof booth, that we had as a kid - except that I could hear a constant high-pitched sound from something in the electrical system. Some of the tones emitted actually caused sharp pains in my ears. The test results ended up showing that I had absolutely no hearing loss - a great thing for "someone of my age."

The next series of tests was to test the ability of my eardrums to withstand pressure. Again, some of the tests were incredibly painful. Twice the equipment shut down automatically and the audiologist said I must have some weird electrical energy in my body, as that never happens.

The next series of test almost made me ill - and I'm glad there are no photos of the process. I had to put on a vest and harness, which was then hooked up to a system that would keep me from falling, and stand on a pressure-sensitive platform in a three-sided booth. I imagine I kind of looked like a human marionette. Staring at the back wall, the platform was moved in a variety of directions. The same was then done with my eyes closed. In next procedure the walls were moved repeatedly and the platform remained steady - eye open and eyes closed. This was done again with the platform AND walls moving (almost making me sick). The eyes open and eyes closed thing was then done tipping the platform backwards violently and forwards in the same manner. Numerous times during the testing I had to grab the straps of the harness to keep myself from falling - although I wouldn't really have fallen. When all was done I still felt like I was moving for a couple hours afterwards. It's a good thing they have handrails in the hallways of the office. On these tests I scored a 60, when a 70 is "normal" for "someone of my age." The tester explained that this indicates that there really is something going on - and it's not all in my head (although it is all in my head). When I asked a woman about the test score later, with a smile she said "it means you're not normal."

Dr. Epley, one of the leading vertigo specialists in the U.S., then interviewed me himself, clarifying and asking questions about a lot of the earlier answers I had given. I immediately liked this man. He was very conversational, engaging and asked a lot about my work as a designer and a writer, in addition to the requests for medical information. He was also curious about how acupuncture and chiropractic treatments has alleviated some of my vertigo symptoms over the past three years. He also did a series of examinations and additional basic balance tests - like having me walk down the hall with my eyes closed. It was then back to the harness apparatus for tests on how sound and air pressure impacted the movement in my eyes. I had to wear what they called "field glasses" (actually a camera that looked like binoculars) that filmed my eye movements as high-pitched sounds were piped into some headphones. Another headset was then used to force air into my ear canals as the camera recorded my eye reactions.

When done the doctor said he suspects I have a condition called "hyperactive labyrinthine dysfunction" - a condition in which an ear labyrinth is in an abnormally sensitive state with respect to certain stimuli and/or inputs. (More appropriately called "irritable labyrinth", in that the labyrinth becomes easily "irritated" by non-vestibular stimuli such as sound or pressure change). However, he said much more testing is necessary before a possible treatment can be recommended. So, next Wednesday afternoon I will go through a more testing - including a video stimuli test and possible tests in the Omniax "chair" that Dr. Epley has developed.

I was so exhausted when I got home that I slept 2+ hours yesterday afternoon. Today I feel as if I'm in a fog or almost moving in slow-motion. At least the process has begun and, after all this time, I know I'm not completely crazy in regards to my health issues."

Over the past weekend I continued to feel the effects of some of the testing. I do go back to the clinic on Wednesday afternoon for additional tests. Then next week I have a review of all the test results with Dr. Epley. Hopefully those findings will lead to some treatment for my vertigo issues.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

HOW offers business Webinar series

HOW Magazine is introducing a new Webinar series, presented by Marketing Mentor, offering design professionals proven marketing and pricing secrets that will bring ideal clients directly to your door, boost your bottom line and let you sleep peacefully. The first presentation of HOW's Marketing & Pricing Webinar Series is on September 27. Designers will learn how to develop lucrative business relationships, value and price work so a design business is not losing money, and create an ongoing stream of new prospects and clients willing to pay top dollar for your services.

"Get Rich in a Niche" will first be broadcast on Thursday, September 27 at 4:00 ET/1:00 PT for a fee of $69. It is presented by my friends Ilise Benun and Peleg Top, of Marketing Mentor.

The September 27 "Get Rich in a Niche" session will be archived for 12 months. Learn about the upcoming sessions in the Webinar Series on the series site. For additional information check out the Webinar FAQs.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Identity Crisis! teaser No. 6

Here's yet another sneak peek at my upcoming book, Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands

The above is just one spread of the Toppers Pizza identity re-design and rebranding effort, submitted for the book project by Shine Advertising Co.

More information about the book is posted on the Identity Crisis! blog. The book is currently at the printer. Look for it on your bookstore shelves this fall.

Image: Copyright © 2007 Jeff Fisher • Used with permission of author and HOW Books, an imprint of F+W Publications, Inc.

A look back at a successful self-promotion effort

I've come across some interesting items while sorting through over 30 years of files and folders of graphic design work and project documentation. Yesterday I found an undated, yellowed tear-sheet, of an article I'd written, from what must have been a 1992 or 1993 issue of the industry publication Graphic Design: usa. It appears to have been an issue with the special feature "Generating New Business" and I was writing about a promotion piece I had created for myself. The following is the text of the piece:

Fisher: Time to solicit new clients

The recession was late in coming to the Pacific Northwest. While hearing horror stories of the economic downturn hitting the advertising/design industry on the East coast, business in the Seattle and Portland markets did not seem to be affected in the last quarter of 1990. My own business is traditionally slower after the first of the year and during the first quarter of 1991 I planned to take advantage of this, scheduling time to design and produce my first major self-promotion piece.

Little did I know how fortunate I would be in the timing of the promo piece. The business slowdown hit the Northwest beginning in March. I found existing clients cutting back the production of new advertising/ marketing materials and relying on previously used pieces. Several scheduled corporate identity projects were suddenly put on hold as companies tightened their belts. Clients previously prompt in paying invoices slowly began paying their bills at 60, 90, 120 days or more. I even found it necessary to resign one major account of the issue of increasing late payments. In addition, several months earlier an ad agency that was my "bread and butter" account had merged with another firms that was not using as much freelance talent.

It was definitely time to solicit some new clients. My identity design work had been on a steady increase over the past two years and I felt I wanted to increase that area of my business even further. With the assistance of friends, who own a fulfillment house, I created a mailing list targeting over 700 advertising agencies, public relations firms, design houses, publications, non-profit organizations, clients, former clients and other business contacts made in my 10 years as a designer.

In designing the actual piece I found that I am my own worst client. My type house, camera shop and printer all commented on my increased perfectionism - several times. I also had great difficulty in trying to decide which of the logos I have designed to include in the project. Of course, I have my own personal favorites, but I wanted to show as much variety as possible. In the end I included 97 identities in the booklet form piece.

The promotional effort hit the mail in mid-April. I was being realistic in thinking most would end up in office filing cabinets and that I might not get much response for a few months. However, within one week I had identity projects from five new clients. What surprised me most were the number of people who called, or wrote notes, acknowledging my efforts with their compliments. To date I have had almost a 10% response to the project in the form of calls, letters, requests for more information or estimates, as well as actual projects.

As a follow-up to the mailing, I sent out press releases announcing all of my new clients, and their projects, for the first time. In each case the item has been published, creating even more response to, and confirmation of, the promo piece. It may be necessary to initiate a second printing of the brochure.

It's interesting to take a look back at this self-promo piece. The brochure was designed and created pre-computer. In fact, it was pre-Jeff Fisher LogoMotives - although an early Logo Motive identity design is included. The mailing envelope features a caricature of me drawn at an early 1980's media party by cartoonist and animator Bill Plympton - who later went on to great career success - including an Oscar nomination and a Cannes Film Festival Prix du Jury Award.

I now cringe at some of the logo designs I included in the piece - although quite a few have survived the test of time as strong, effective identities. With this being pre- "Toot! Toot!," press releases that were sent out after the promo item had the heading "Jeff Fisher Has Done It Again!" It was a very successful self-promotion effort for me, with new clients using it to contact me for five years after my initial mailing. I haven't sent out a major promotion effort since. The vast majority of my clients - and potential clients - at the time of the mailing were in Portland. These days about 80% of my business is outside of the Northwest, primarily due to Internet exposure.

In the GD:usa article, and on the promo mailing envelope, I make note of having been a professional graphic designer for ten years - when, in actuality, I began making a living as a designer about 1978. Maybe in the early 1990's I didn't feel that I had become a "real" designer until the early 1980's when I started working more independently. I didn't have a great deal of confidence back then. The response to my self-promotion mailer, and the GD:usa feature being published, did a great deal in confirming my abilities as a designer.

One of my great career lessons of this time was realizing how important it is for a designer, or design firm, to promote oneself all the time - rather than waiting until no work is coming in the door.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Identity Crisis! teaser No. 5

My upcoming book Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands features 50 case studies of identity re-designs and rebranding with the application of the new business images. Projects showcased include "mom and pop" businesses, major corporations, educational facilities, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and more.

Design entities from around the world, from one-person operations to major industry firms, submitted work for possible inclusion in the book. With a series of Identity Crisis! blog entries I will announce the firms and projects that are included in the book. Each re-design is an Identity Crisis! chapter.

Here is the third group of ten re-design case studies included in the book, listed by project featured and firm responsible for the effort:

Vickie Lea Designs, Inc.
RDQ (Rdqlus Design Quantum) • Omaha, NE USA

Ruby Receptionists
Sockeye Creative • Portland, OR USA

Los Angeles Mission
Graphicwise, Inc • Irvine, CA USA

Software Spectrum
MasonBaronet • Dallas, TX USA

Ecos Consulting
Fullblast, Inc. • Portland, OR USA

Space Needle
Hornall Anderson Design Works • Seattle, WA USA

Oregon Department of Forestry
Jeff Fisher LogoMotives • Portland, OR USA

Fullblast, Inc. • Portland, OR USA

Pier 39 Steakhouse and Winery
Graphicwise, Inc • Irvine, CA USA

Portland State University
Sockeye Creative • Portland, OR USA

Over the couple few weeks I will post additional contributors on the Identity Crisis! blog, as well as other related news and notes. The book is scheduled for an September release.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives