Cowboy Jeffie gets a Woody

Well, I already have several Woodys - from the movie Toy Story that is. I have my favorite talking Woody in my home studio. A small bendable Woody sits atop the armoire in my living room, waving to all visitors who notice (you can see him in the lower right hand corner of the photo in this bLog-oMotives post). There's an assortment of Toy Story toys around my house. In fact, there's quite a bit of cowboy memorabilia in my home - due to a life-long fascination with all things "cowboy." Yep, that's me as a young cowpoke in the photo on the right.

My most recent Woody acquisition arrived in my PO Box in the form of a copy of the two-disk 10th anniversary edition of Toy Story that I won from one of my favorite book publishing companies, Chronicle Books. Oh, how I'd love to do a book with them someday. I've always enjoyed their design books and their San Francisco store is my idea of heaven. So, it's only natural that I'm an avid reader of the Chronicle Books blog and subscriber to the email newsletter.

Late last year, through the blog and newsletter they introduced the book To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios, by Karen Paik. As part of the promotion a contest was held via the Chronicle Books newsletter. Readers were asked to submit their answer to the question: "Which Pixar character do you identify with most and why?" My response was:

I've always identified with Woody from "Toy Story." As a tall skinny kid I always wanted to be a cowboy - and seeing Woody in the movie took me right back to my childhood. I even had a little kid's cowboy birthday party thrown for me when I turned 40. My friends, who call me Cowboy Jeff, all brought me cowboy toys as gifts - including a talking Woody and many other "Toy Story" gifts for my collection of cowboy memorabilia.

Not long ago I received an email from Lisa Anne Logan, of Chronicle Books, letting me know that I was one of the contest winners and my prize would soon be on its way. The latest release of Toy Story could not have been more appropriate for me.

You know, I think this is the third time I've won a Chronicle Books prize. Last time it was an autographed copy of talk-show host Craig Fegurson's debut novel Between the Bridge and the River.

You might want to visit the Chronicle Books website, sign up for their newsletter to learn about special sales and contests, and check out their blog.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Marketing and promotion via a 'blogfolio'

I was a bit naive about the Internet when my original Jeff Fisher LogoMotives website went live in the fall of 1998. The largest newspaper in the state, The Oregonian, had interviewed me for a feature story about my business and, at the end of the interview, the reporter asked me if I had a website.

In saying "yes," I told a bit of a fib. No, let me correct that, I told an outright lie. I had a URL registered, and had thought about the website a little - but no effort at all had been put into actually creating a web presence of any kind.

I gave the reporter the URL and went into panic mode. I had three to four days to get a site up and running before the article was published the following Monday.

Over the course of a long weekend, my partner Ed, friends Scott Randall and Jason Holland, and myself worked days and nights to get a website up and running. Sunday night it was all set to go. On Monday morning I retrieved The Oregonian from my front porch and a great article had been published - with all my contact information, including the web address, edited out of the piece due to concerns about length.

Still, I now had a website - which I saw as nothing more than an online portfolio for my primarily local clientele. I had given no consideration to the fact that my website had an immediate international audience. Soon I was attracting clients from across the United States and around the world.

For the next nine years the website remained fairly static. There were minor updates, but not a lot changed. I was kind of in an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mode. Redesigning, or updating, the site was one of those things I might do when I had the time. Yeah, right.

This past fall my second book, Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands, was being released. The upcoming major event in my life made me realize that I was actually embarrassed by my now tired, old website. At that time I'd been writing my blog, bLog-oMotives, for about two years and I really enjoyed the process. A few months earlier I'd also started a blog to promote the Identity Crisis! book. Creating an online portfolio in a blog format seemed a natural, and manageable, solution for me - especially since, although I use a computer daily for my work, I am not a skilled technician when it comes to such things (nor do I want to be!). Knowing just enough to be a bit dangerous is just fine.

The Jeff Fisher LogoMotives "blogfolio" was born.

A little over seven months since its initiation, I am very pleased with the results my "blogfolio" has produced. With a Jeff Fisher LogoMotives homepage - making use of my decade-old URL - directing visitors to all three blogs, many more potential clients seem to find their way to me. It gets much more traffic than ever visited my more traditional site. Potential clients, clients, editors, writers, design peers, design students, design educators and others have all taken the time to compliment me on the new web presence and its content.

I really appreciate how the blog format has allowed me to easily exhibit examples of my work, share articles I've written, post articles written about my work, present my "Toot! Toot!" press releases and even recycle a few bLog-oMotives entries into a concise archive. I've especially enjoyed presenting my identity redesigns and "excavated design artifacts" again.

A "blogfolio" may not work for everyone, but it's been a great marketing and promotion tool for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

'Vintage' logos from Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

O.K., it's scary to think I've been working as a designer long enough that some of my logo design work might be considered "vintage." However, I began designing identities back in the mid-1970's, while in college at the University of Oregon. I've been working professionally as a designer for over 30 years. Yikes!

Recently, through a couple of design forums, I learned of designer Eric Carl's flickr posting of 120 pages of "vintage logos" (Example above right) from the book World of Logotypes, by Al Cooper. (References have since been posted on the Drawn blog, the HOW Blog and elsewhere in cyberworld.) In visiting the collection I realized it's one of the volumes that had a great deal of influence on me as a design student in the 70's. I actually have the book in my design library, along with others documenting the logos of the time, such as Logo Art by Kohei Miura, World trademarks and logotypes by Takenobu Igarashi, International Trademark Design by Peter Wildbur, and the Trademarks & Symbols series and Logotypes of the World by Yasaburo Kuwayama.

The logos being created in the 70's and early 80's were bold, often geometric, simplistic, and maybe best described as heavy or clunky. Funny, my designs - inspired by many of the designs I saw in the books listed above - were bold, often geometric, simplistic, and maybe best described as heavy or clunky.

It was fun taking a look back at some of my own "vintage" work from 25 to over 30 years ago. It's obvious that some of the designs are the work of someone just starting their career. Many of the designs are not as fine-tuned as I would release out into the world now. Still, one needs to remember that these images were created pre-computer using India ink, ruling pens, rapidiograph pens, illustration board, X-acto knives, Zipatone tapes, Chartpak films and sometimes Letraset transfer type. All in all, I'm proud of many of my earlier efforts.

The logos I designed back in the good, ol' days are (Left to right from top left): art-werks, ink. - a logo for my own non-design art efforts; Al Bauer Advertising - a Portland ad agency; Chinese Student Association - a University of Oregon student organization; Eugene University Music Association - a performing arts group; Great Northwest Insurance - a division of a Portland-based insurance company; Kohnen Larson - a Eugene, OR accounting firm; Lake Oswego Car Wash - a high-end Portland-area car wash and detailer; Loaves & Fishes - a nonprofit organization; Mindy's Needlepoint Shop - a Eugene, OR retail business; PhonePact - a San Diego telecommunications company; Robinwood Center - a West Linn, OR shopping center; Samuels & Nudelman Public Relations - a Portland-based firm; Subaru Hoop Shoot - a promotion sponsored by Subaru and the Portland Trail Blazers; Tel-Med - a medical phone information service sponsored by the Multnomah County Medical Association; The Real Scoop - a Seattle-based video review publication for parents; and Unity National Insurance - another division of a Portland-based insurance company.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Jeffism #8

"Pay a great deal of attention to your own 'gut instinct' - it will always be one of your best personal business advisors."

- Jeff Fisher

The Create Awards 2008 open for entries

The Create Awards 2008, sponsored by the industry publication Create Magazine, are now accepting entries in a variety of design-related categories. This year's awards offer over $125,000 in prizes, including the latest in software and hardware from leading creative industry manufacturers. Best of Industry and Best of Show prizes for 2008 come from companies such as Alienware, Adobe, Corel, Wacom, Nikon, Total Training, Maxon, Markzware and others.

Information about categories, entry fees, registration and submission guidelines can be found on The Create Awards 2008 website. The initial entry deadline is May 30, 2008.

Create Magazine provides creative professionals with an insider's perspective on the people, news, trends and events that influence the local advertising, design, printing, photography, film & video, animation and new media industries. Published in five regional editions, the publications has approximately 45,000 readers nationwide.

The Create Magazine web presence offers creative individuals additional pertinent news, the opportunity to post an online portfolio, industry blogs, a job board, networking opportunities through a community forum and more.

Check out the bLog-oMotives list of upcoming deadlines for additional design competition and book submission opportunities.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Trusting your "gut instincts" in avoiding
the possible P.I.T.A. client (Part Deux)

In Part One of "Trusting your 'gut instincts" I shared previous experiences where paying attention to feelings of uneasiness prevented me, as a design professional, from getting involved in potentially bad business situations with possible P.I.T.A. (Pain In The A**) clients. However, it seems that occasionally those "gut instincts" need a tune-up, or at least I need a reminder once in a while to give the signs a bit more credence.

At times a designer may go into a particular situation knowing exactly what they may be dealing with a particular individual or business. Reputation, word on the street, or past business relationship horror stories of others may precede the introduction to the possible client. Such was the case years ago when I was approached to do a variety of work for a potential new client. I thought I was totally prepared to deal with in the situation. I used extremely caution in literally "dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's' in setting up the business relationship documentation.

With a specialized product targeting a male audience, the situation provided an excellent opportunity to design a business identity, create product labeling, write and produce print advertising for a number of high-profile national publications, do some point-of-purchase piece design, and participate in all aspects of the product branding. Unique photos shoots were coordinated and unusual printing processes were implemented in creating some branding elements. I was actually surprised how smoothly the entire project progressed - with no issues arising at all during its course.

The client then asked me to provide an estimate for designing the identity, and creating a complete stationery package, for another business venture. The details were agreed upon and, since an established procedure of simply invoicing individual projects as they were completed was already in place, I didn't require a new project agreement. (That's where I made a mistake.)

The identity portion of the effort was completed and approved by the client. I invoiced the job and was paid. It was then that I was asked to proceed with the design of the stationery package. Rough concepts were presented for a business card, letterhead and envelope. The client then told me that portion of the project was being put on hold due to current financial concerns (Which should have been a "red flag" to me.).

The project was set aside for the time being, and I continued executing work for the original product line.

Upon retrieving mail from my PO Box a few weeks later, I came across an envelope, which I had presented in rough form, for my client's secondary business - in a completed, professionally printed format. I tore open the envelope to find a letter on the letterhead I had presented only as a rough. The communication was from the client's bookkeeper asking for my tax identification information. He must not have been aware of the history behind the stationery package project.

Initially I was stunned. That immediately changed to being incredibly pissed off. I went directly to my attorney's office. He'd helped me carefully prepare the original agreement with the client and I hoped he could provide some advice.

In contacting the print house traditionally used by the client, we found out he had simply taken my rough design concepts to the printer for production and printing, obviously hoping to avoid the expense of me doing the job. The client then refused to take or return my phone calls.

My attorney drafted a letter to the client demanding full payment for the project as estimated. He also requested an additional equal amount, using a great deal of legal-ese justification, or the matter of unauthorized use of my designs would end up in court. Essentially the client was being required to pay double for the project due to his actions.

In a few days I received a check for the full amount requested in my attorney's letter. The client sent along a handwritten note inquiring as to how I could possibly do such a thing to him based on our ongoing business relationship. Huh? I had seen the side of my client others had warned me about and, of course, that business relationship came to an end.

For quite some time I was very leery of any potential client situation that didn't feel "right." I listened closely and carefully to my 'gut instincts."

This past fall, after treatment and recovery from three years of dealing with chronic vertigo - and having completed the writing of my second book, Identity Crisis! 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands - I felt as if I was ready to take on the world. While on an extended vacation in Italy, I received an email from a potential client wanting to solve the "identity crisis" being experienced by their own business.

As explained by the possible client, the project piqued my interest. It involved creating a primary identity, along with a sub-brand and a possible alternative identity with a unique and fun name. In reading the initial email, visual solutions immediately came to mind - always a great sign for me prior to going into a project situation. In fact, 80-85% of the time the final logo for a client is based closely on my immediate mental reaction to the initial information provided by the possible client - sometimes even during the initial client meeting! Still, this particular new business possibility involved an individual in an industry in which, due to past negative experiences, I had told myself I'd never work again. (Hello…Jeff, what are you thinking?). However, this situation sounded like a different take on this industry and a great opportunity to do something new.

The generic email response I send to possible identity design clients includes the following information:

The process usually begins with getting as much information as possible about the client, by way of a Identity Client Survey I have created. With a signed project agreement and a deposit of 35% of the project estimate I will begin work on the logo project. I then present 4-5 rough design concepts and the final image evolves from there. This usually includes three sets of revisions in the process. With most long distance clients the entire process can be done through emailed PDF files or the overnight delivery of concept printouts. When the process is complete I supply the client with the logo in black & white and color on disks for both Mac and PC.

This information is usually more clearly defined, with additional information being obtained and shared by both client and designer, as the potential client evolves into an actual client.

I was sent the logo that had identified the business for the previous decade and a half. There was no question the entity was having an "identity crisis." In my book Identity Crisis!, and when speaking to design-related groups the Jeffism I share is:

Never tell your client that their logo sucks.

In this case, I think a much more tactful assessment would be that the existing logo was certainly not projecting the level of professionalism required to represent the efforts of the businessperson in question.

A meeting was set up and I arrived at the appointed time. The perspective client was quite a bit late (Never a good sign for me - it often tells me the client feels their time is more valuable than my own.). When the potential client arrived I tried to size up the individual and I really wasn't sure what I thought or felt. (Usually I get an immediate sense of whether I like the person or not and if we will "click" in the course of a project.) I gave the person one of my marketing packets, including a cover letter explaining how I work (which is the text of my initial generic email), a blank copy of my estimate sheet and a copy of my project agreement. In the meeting discussion it was discovered that the person knew some individuals with whom I had worked almost two decades ago - and they were a major P.I.T.A. (This information should have been a big "red flag" to me and didn't even register until much later.)

I gave the possible client a very rough idea of what I thought the cost would be - with the courtesy of a "group rate" discount for the multiple project elements and said I would get a project agreement sent their way. The response was "It's more than I wanted to pay, but if that what it takes I'm willing to pay it." (That statement caused a momentary "blip" on my radar - but I took it to mean the value of my work was actually going to be appreciated.)

When I left the meeting I found a $16 parking ticket on my car. (I never get tickets - I assume this was yet another unheeded warning about this project.)

About this time I began experiencing some email problems - like my email program crashing - and it had been repaired when I emailed my project agreement. I explained in the accompanying email I'd had some technical email issues, and that with a signed project agreement and deposit of 35% of the project estimate I would begin work on the project. I was actually wondering if there had been a change of heart in regards to the project, until the deposit check arrived ten days later. Just the deposit check - no signed project agreement; which I thought was really odd. I again asked the client to send the signed project agreement. (This was a MAJOR "red flag" - I don't think I'd ever had a client send a deposit without a signed project agreement.).

I don't start any project without a signed agreement - and always tell other designers they need to do the same. However, the client wanted the project to proceed, I wanted to get my initial concepts to paper, and, having the client's deposit check, I thought the client could be trusted to get me the documentation. Upcoming holidays were going to be interrupting the project schedule and we needed to get things in motion.

At this point the tiny voices in my head should have been yelling "Don't start the project without a signed agreement" or "Politely decline to take on the project without a signed agreement in place!" Every hair on my body should have been standing on end in warning. Flags should have been popping up and hitting me repeatedly. I should have been almost sick to my stomach with "gut instincts" tugging at my insides. Instead, I still thought this was to be a fun and interesting project. Besides, I had some incredible ideas to share with the client.

My "gut instinct" mechanism must have been really out of whack.

Read the ongoing saga of a designer needing an "instinct tune-up" in the upcoming Part Tres conclusion..

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Re-Design: Oregon Department of Forestry

In its seventy-nine-year history, the Oregon Department of Forestry has been represented by a series of identities. Most recently, in 1971, the department adopted a half-tree logo (below).

They had been using this logo for nearly two decades when a change was proposed. Many within (and out of) the State of Oregon government agency disliked the image and found that it was confusing to many others. Some thought the thin half-tree graphic conveyed a message of unhealthy forests.

The new logo (above) conveys a much more simplified and organic image, while maintaining some the inherent formality of a government agency identity. It projected the Department of Forestry's growing involvement and interest in all forest resources, including air, soil, water and trees. The new image is more inline with the Oregon Board of Forestry's new guiding policy document, the Forestry Program for Oregon.

The logo is the department identifier on all printed collateral, vehicles, uniform shoulder patches, the website and other materials. It is widely recognized due to the carving of the logo on signage at the Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters and throughout the state at ranger stations and state forest boundaries (above).

The rebranding of the Oregon Department of Forestry by Jeff Fisher LogoMotives is one of 50 case studies, from designers and firms around the world, featured in my latest book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands. The actual spread from the book is posted on the Identity Crisis! blog. The volume was released by HOW Books in late 2007.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Trusting your "gut instincts" in avoiding
the possible P.I.T.A. client (Part One)

For years, when speaking to classes of design students or to groups of industry professionals at conferences or other gatherings, I've shared the Jeffism "Pay a great deal of attention to your own 'gut instinct' - it will always be one of your best personal business advisors."

With that advice, I mean that you need to listen to that uncomfortable sensation in your gut when things just don't seem right in a possible business situation. When the little fine hairs on the back of your neck stand up; pay attention and react accordingly. Listen to those voices in your head that are suggesting you run in the opposite direction. With imaginary "red flags" popping up all over; stop what you are doing and evaluate the situation completely before proceeding.

I often tell the story of a potential dream client contacting me in regards to the complete rebranding of an educational institution. I've always enjoyed doing projects for colleges, universities and schools - and it would have been an impressive portfolio piece upon completion.

However, "red flags" began to pop up before I ever met with anyone to discuss the identity crisis of the college. The initial meeting with the potential client was rescheduled several times due to the need of one individual to be in attendance. The message being sent to me in that first round of interaction was that my own schedule was not of importance to the possible client. To meet with the parties involved I had to reschedule appointments on my calendar several times.

Still, I at least wanted to learn more about the possible project and get an in-person sense of what I might be dealing with in a working relationship with these people. I put together a great presentation of past work and set off for our first meeting - calling first to make sure it was still actually happening.

I immediately "clicked" with the marketing director and knew this situation had the potential to be an incredible project opportunity. The other individual in the meeting was the person whose presence was required as one of the major decision-makers in the process of redesigning the identity for the facility. As I got into my presentation this woman picked up a magazine and began to flip through it. She was paying absolutely no attention to me conveying the information that had required our repeated rescheduling of the meeting for her personal benefit.

The presentation went very well. Upon the conclusion of a few back-and-forth questions the very pleasant marketing director stood up, shook my hand and said, "I really look forward to working with you on this project."

The other woman finally put her magazine back down on the table.

I couldn't believe the words were coming out of my mouth as I told the marketing director, "I'm sorry, we won't be working together on this project. It was necessary for us to reschedule this meeting several times so (this other woman) could be in attendance and during my entire presentation she was busy reading a magazine. If she is to be one of the decision-makers in the process I cannot take on this project."

The marketing director was smiling widely at me when I completed my statement. The other woman in the meeting looked mortified.

My legs were shaking as I got up to leave the conference room. By the time I got to my car I felt as if I was going to be physically ill. Still, I knew I had made the right decision in immediately listening to my gut feeling about the situation and acting on my instincts.

When I got back to my home-based studio there was already a message from the second woman apologizing profusely about what had happened. She asked that I reconsider and call her with my decision. I returned her call and told her I had to "listen to my gut instincts" in regards to the project and decline taking it on. I also said I would be happy to recommend several other designers for the redesign effort.

Prior to sharing the names of other designers with the potential client, I called them and explained the situation. Each agreed to my referral. Weeks later one of the designers called me to tell me she had taken on the project and, although she had appreciated my referral and warning, it had been a total nightmare.

Several years later, another situation arose that proved my "gut instinct" was still fine-tuned - and it saved me from a potentially publicly embarrassing situation.

I was contacted by a potential client, who left a phone message about having been in the restaurant industry for several years and needing a designer to brand a new restaurant in a high profile downtown location. I've always loved working on restaurant projects so I was instantly intrigued. I called the gentleman and immediately got a sense that something was not right with the situation (red flag). I felt as if I was talking to the stereotypical used car salesman (little voice in my head talking to me). One of the oddest things was he would not give me a mailing address for the sending of one of my marketing packets - which would give him a great deal of information about how I worked in a project such as the one being proposed (hair standing up on the back of my neck).

My curiosity caused me to do a Google search on the individual and it was really strange when no information at all resulted. A similar search of his phone number gave me a few strange references - including the fact he had previously gone by another name and had been involved in a few sex-related businesses. Now, that was a major red flag for me!

The next day I had a voice mail message that our meeting date and time needed to be changed to accommodate the man's schedule. (Here we go again…) In calling his number, I talked with his secretary, arranged a new appointment time, and actually got a mailing address to send off my packet of additional information.

In meeting the potential client at the site of the restaurant, my sense of his being the "used car salesman" type was confirmed. He shared his plans to create a family style restaurant - in an area of town not exactly suitable for such businesses (weird little feeling in my "gut"). I was then shown some rough concepts from the other designer with whom he was working (MAJOR alarm going off in my brain). Finally, the man said, "Why don't you throw together a few rough designs and if I see something I like I'll send $50 your way." (O.K., now I was WAY beyond annoyed)

Huh? Although I already knew I would not be working with this individual, I was kind of stunned.

As I attempted to collect my thoughts, I asked, "Did you not receive the packet of information I sent explaining how I work on such projects?

"Yeah, I got your packet in the mail - but I can't be bothered to review such things," was his response.

My final comment was, "Well, had you "bothered" to read what I sent you, you would realize I don't work without a signed contract and a deposit on a project proposal - and I don't do speculative work for anyone."

It was his turn to be a bit stunned.

A few weeks later his name was in the news a lot. Almost overnight he had turned his "family style" restaurant into a strip club. City officials, neighborhood business owners and community association leaders were up in arms. In the end, the owner of the property evicted the business from the property due to breaking a clause in the lease.

I was so pleased to have once again paid attention to, and acted upon, my "gut instincts" in avoiding involvement in what could have become a nightmare situation. The flags, of any and every color, waving in my mind had caused me to take a second look at all aspects of the potential project. Listening to the little voices in my head, doing a bit of online research, and speaking my mind had prevented me from taking on what would have surely been a P.I.T.A. (Pain In The A**) client.

Coming up in Part Deux: My "gut instinct" is in need of a major tune-up.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Logopond Awards now accepting submissions

Logopond the identity design portfolio and inspiration site, is currently sponsoring the first Logopond Awards. Entries are being accepted through a June date yet to be finalized. Rules, FAQs and additional information about the design competition can be found on the Logopond Awards website.

There are entry fees to participate in the competition. Winning entries are to be featured in a future Logopond book.

Yours truly has been asked to be a judge for the awards - along with an international panel of industry experts including Jerry Kuyper of Jerry Kuyper Partners, Cameron Moll, Clear Left's Andy Budd, Jina Bolton, John Boardley of I Love Typography and Aaron Epstein of ColorSchemer. Other design leaders judging the event include Matthew Walker of Walk Design, Suffolk Software's Mubashar Iqbal, David Airey of Logo Design Love, Darius A Monsef IV of COLOURlovers, John Martz, 38one's Denis Radenkovic, Alex Schleifer from Sideshow Europe, Nick La of N. Design Studio, and my friend Cat Morley of Creative Latitude, Designers Who Blog and other design entities.

I am also a Logopond participant, with my own showcase of identity designs on the site.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives


© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

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:

The BEST Ads You've Never Seen
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
No deadline posted at this time
No entry fees charged

Really Good Packaging, Explained
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
No deadline posted at this time
No entry fees charged

Tempus Fugit - World's Best Calendar Design
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: No deadline published
No entry fees charged

2008 Design and Design Book of the Year
( - France)
Deadline: Ongoing at this point
No entry fees charged

Design=Information: 10 Principles for Creating Graphics That People Understand
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline Extended: 14 March 2008
No entry fees charged

American Inhouse Design Awards
(Graphic Design USA - USA)
Deadline Extended: 20 March 2008
Entry fees charged

HOW Annual Promotion Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 21 March 2008
Entry fees charged

International Gallery of Artistic Business Cards
(International Creators' Organization - Japan)
Deadline: 30 March 2008
No entry fees charged

PRINT’s Regional Design Annual 2008
(PRINT Magazine - USA)
Deadline Extended: 1 April 2008
Entry fees charged

STEP Best of Web Design 2008
(STEP inside design - USA)
Deadline: 1 April 2008
Entry fees charged

INHOWSE Design Awards 2008
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 14 April 2008
Entry fees charged

1000 Handmade Greeting Cards
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 April 2008
No entry fees charged

Market Smart Design
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 April 2008
No entry fees charged

The Big Book of Self-Promotion
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline: 25 April 2008
No entry fees charged

UCDA Campus Violence Poster Project
(University & College Designers Association - USA)
Deadline Extended: 2 May 2008
No entry fees charged

Plenty of Design
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 5 May 2008
No entry fees charged

Worldwide Logo Design Annual 2008
(Wolda - Italy)
Deadline: 20 May 2008
Entry fees charged

The Create Awards 2008
(Create Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 30 May 2008
Entry fees charged

Sappi Ideas that Matter 2008
(Sappi Fine Paper North America - USA)
Deadline: 30 May 2008

Behind The Design
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 1 June 2008
No entry fees charged

Growing Graphics - Graphics for Kids
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 2 June 2008
No entry fees charged

LogoPond Awards
(LogoPond - USA)
Deadline: 15 June 2008
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.

Design competition calendars are also available at Icograda and Workbook. DesignTaxi and Dexinger post 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 nearly 100 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!

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

UCDA initiates Campus Violence Poster Project

Recent shootings on the campuses of Northern Illinois University and Louisiana Technical College, and the tragedy at Virginia Tech University last April, have brought a shocking reminder of how an ordinary, daily event can turn into tragedy. This tragedy illuminates, however, the generous human impulse to want to help those who have suffered loss.

In response to this tragedy, the University & College Designers Association (UCDA) is orchestrating a poster project. UCDA is asking members and designers to design a poster that reflects some aspect of campus violence-the shock of the event itself, the heroism of the survivors, or the importance of crisis preparedness. This summer, UCDA's Designer magazine will feature the posters, and include them on the UCDA website for viewing. Each one-of-a-kind poster will also be on sale through an online auction.

How to enter:

To contribute a poster, please complete the entry form available on the UCDA website and email your poster file to Posters should be no larger than 12" x 18" at 300 dpi, and entries are limited to two per person. You do not need to be a UCDA member to contribute a poster. All entries are due by Friday, April 4, 2008. Posters will be printed in time for the online auction.

Designers warrant that nothing in their posters infringe upon the rights of any third parties and indemnify UCDA from any claims arising out of their submission. Designers will retain all rights to their poster designs. By submitting poster art, contributors explicitly give UCDA permission to reproduce the posters and distribute them electronically or in Designer magazine. One copy will be printed and sold at auction. In all instances of distribution, UCDA will give credit to the designer of each poster.

Additional information is available on the UCDA Campus Violence Poster Project webpage.

(Note: As a UCDA member, and Designer Magazine Editorial Advisory Board member, I encourage all bLog-oMotives readers to participate in this nonprofit public awareness project - J.).

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Re-Design: Shleifer Marketing Communications

Denny Shleifer’s original logo treatment (below), consisting of his initials and type, identified his business, but conveyed very little about the energetic and enthusiastic public relations and marketing professional.

My early 90's graphic representations of television, radio and print media bursting out of Shleifer’s name (below left) conveyed much more about the individual and his professional expertise. (I featured my original doodle of the graphic, and more detail about the project, in a previous "excavated artifact" bLog-oMotives posting) The client felt he had been captured perfectly in the one concept presented as a possible new logo. The logo was revised slightly (below right) when the PR expert incorporated his business, and tweaked the name a bit, a few years later.

The Shleifer logo, in its two iterations, was featured in the design books Letterhead & Logo Design 4, The Best of Letterhead & Logo Design, International Logos & Trademarks 4, Letterhead & Logo Design 5, More Logos & Letterheads, and the Japanese offerings New Logo & Trademark Design and Logo & Trademark Collection.

(Note: My new book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands, contains case studies from 35 designers and firms located around the world. Learn more about the book on the Identity Crisis! blog.)

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

UCDA 'Designer' takes look at 'Identity Crisis!'

In the upcoming issue of Designer, the magazine of the University and College Designers Association (UCDA), editor Kirsten Ruby takes a look at the book Identity Crisis! 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands in her The Designer's Bookshelf column.

Ruby writes:

If browsing before-and-after logo designs fascinates you (and it does most designers), Identity Crisis! should be just what you need for a creative boost. UCDA Designer magazine advisory board member Jeff Fisher explores 50 logos from colleges, universities, restaurants, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and foundations, and shares the detailed creative background about each. The old and new identities are dissected and discussed, and Fisher provides eaxamples of the new logos as stand-alone art and in application. Especially interesting are the descriptions of the redesign process from both the clients and designers' perspectives.

This post originally appeared on the Identity Crisis! blog.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Design studio housecleaning - excavated artifact #17

This past week I received the latest issue of Flying House Magazine, the current publication of the Seattle Men's Chorus and Seattle Women's Chorus. An article in the magazine reminded readers that the 2009-2010 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Seattle Men's Chorus (SMC). I'm pleased to have been part of the graphic history of the SMC for quite a few years and recently, as I continue to archive my 30 years of project elements, I came across a large file of design concepts for the group.

As mentioned in a previous "excavated artifact" entry, I once shared office space in Seattle with the performing arts organization. Back in 1987, one of the first projects I executed for the Chorus was an identity.

In my old project files I found a number of black felt pen concepts, sketched on sheets of typing paper, for what would become the Seattle Men's Chorus logo. My first doodle included a little black bow tie as a design element over the "M" in a "SMC" representation. As is the case in about 80-85% of my logo design projects, this initial "brain fart" would remain a constant throughout much of the logo creation process and end up playing a major role in the final image.

Some other rough concepts (above) included an image of a man in a tuxedo (which I would incorporate into a future season ticket brochure design for the SMC), a bolder treatment of the SMC/bow tie idea, and a silhouette of a conductor using the Space Needle as a baton. Additional ideas (below) included more Space Needle imagery, an elegant intertwined monogram image, a clef note flipped to represent the "S" letterform, and an emerald-shaped border (a reference to Seattle's "Emerald City" nickname and the gay community's attachment to the film The Wizard of Oz).

With an office staff, good-sized Board of Directors and large membership of singers, this project could have become a "design by committee" nightmare. However, I worked one-on-one with the SMC marketing director, who seemed to steer the project effortlessly through the process by submitting a very limited number of concepts to decision-makers. In my files I found his own feedback in the form of a doodle suggesting that my heavy "SMC" image, with the bow tie, be incorporated within an emerald shaped border. The result, hand-drawn in the pre-computer time - with spray glued typesetting dropped into place, was finalized as the logo for the Seattle Men's Chorus (below).

The identity was very successful in one color (sometimes black; sometimes emerald green), as a metallic foil image, foil-stamped in gold on some items and in a variety of treatments on wearables. It served the Seattle Men's Chorus well until the organization was rebranded by the Phinney/Bischoff Design House in 2005 - nearly two decades later.

My association with SMC continued through the early 1990's; even after I had moved back to Portland. During that time I designed several season ticket brochures, designed and produced numerous event programs, created print ads and invitations, did design work for the international GALA Choruses Festival when held in Seattle, and much more.

I also created a number of additional identities for SMC (above). A logo was produced to represent the major donors' organization, the Seattle Men's Chorus Director's Circle. I designed the initial SMC donor publication, Chorus Quarterly, and its identity. As SMC moved into publishing of programs for other performing arts organizations, I adapted the organization logo to brand its new Emerald City Arts department. My favorite has always been the identity for Philandros, a sub-group of the Seattle Men's Chorus.

I always look back on my work with SMC fondly. It was an incredible opportunity to work with a dynamic arts organization and all the wonderful people involved.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Identity Crisis! teaser No. 12

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

The above is the third 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 in Identity Crisis! teaser No. 1 and a second image was revealed in Identity Crisis! teaser No.8.

Identity Crisis! has received some great design industry reviews. You'll find much more information about the book on the Identity Crisis! blog. Look for the book on your bookstore shelves and through all online booksellers.

Image: Copyright © 2008 Jeff Fisher • Used with permission of author and HOW Books, an imprint of F+W Publications, Inc.