A life lesson in working to live

Do you "live to work" or "work to live?" It's a question that every independent creative needs to ask themselves.

Years ago, at the age of 35, I found myself being defined by my doctor as a "heart attack waiting to happen." I was working an average of 70 to 80 hours a week - sometimes much more with late nights and working on weekends. Work consumed my life. My personal life was almost non-existent.

I had allowed myself to become the "design department" for an advertising agency client that suddenly represented at least 80% of my business and income. When the principal of the firm said "jump," I leapt into the sky without questioning the command. I was doing some great work, but I wasn't sleeping, not eating well and my blood pressure was dangerously sky high. In fact, when my physician checked my blood pressure - three times - he thought his equipment was broken.

The doctor sat down and asked, "What the hell is going on in your life?"

I told him.

He responded that I needed to resign the major, all-consuming client immediately or I was going to have serious health issues, possibly a heart attack. I was stunned - and immediately my mind went to concerns about money.

It was frightening to request a meeting with the owner of the business to inform her I could no longer handle all of her design work. However, she understood completely and actually apologized for her business causing me undue stress.

I was a little freaked out about the loss of income due to resigning the account. Still, within a very short period of time, I had five new clients with a very manageable project load. The income situation balanced out; as did my blood pressure - which dropped 30-some points in a month without medication. My personal life showed great improvement as well.

The entire situation was a great life lesson. It helped me re-evaluate how I, as an independent creative, had been letting my work rule my life - instead of enjoying the life available to me as a result of being my own boss.

This piece was originally posted on the Creative Freelancer Conference blog. Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, will make his presentation "Reaping the Rewards of Creative Independence" at the Creative Freelancer Conference, to be held August 27-29, 2008 in Chicago.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Chef Jeff learns to make sushi

Although I do cook quite a bit, my partner Ed Cunningham is the true chef in our household. This week Ed, the business manager for the local office of the law firm Holland & Knight, coordinated the annual summer associates activity in the form of a Japanese-inspired cooking class at In Good Taste in Portland's Pearl District. Attorneys, staff, spouses (that would include me as the "corporate wife") and friends got a hands-on lesson in making sushi.

(From left to right: Law clerk Andy Schlegel, Chef Ivy Manning, yours truly and Andy's wife Kendra preparing sushi at In Good Taste.)

Food writer, cooking instructor and personal chef Ivy Manning prepared a great menu for the evening of Sesame Noodles with Asparagus, Miso Soup, Thai Vegetable Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce, California Inside Out Rolls, Spicy Tuna Rolls, Japanese Eggplant with Miso Glaze, and Grilled Fresh Albacore Tuna with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes. Manning demonstrated how to make the sushi and then we divided up into three groups; each given the assignment of making one of the sushi rolls on the menu.

My teammates and I were responsible for making the Thai Vegetable Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce. The whole process was surprisingly easy and fun. It's somewhat embarrassing that Ed and I have all the sushi-making tools at home and never used them in the past. Making sushi would be a great excuse to have a participatory dinner party.

Chef Ivy prepared all of the other dishes as she explained the recipes (which we were provided) and offered helpful tips. Throughout the evening we were served a sparkling wine, two white wines and local sake - ingredients that always contribute to a successful cooking event. Following a dessert of raspberry sorbet with fresh fruit, we were all presented the surprise treat of the evening - autographed copies of Ivy Manning's new cookbook, The Farm to Table Cookbook: The Art of Eating Locally.

The evening was an incredibly enjoyable and educational experience for this "corporate wife."

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

There really is gold in them thar hills...

This past week was our annual camping and gold mining trip to the beautiful Wallowa Mountains in northeastern Oregon. Our friend Mike's family has maintained claims on Eagle Creek for decades, and my partner Ed and I have been spending a week or two camping and mining with him for about 15 years. There's always a gaggle of great friends, lots of incredible wine, fantastic gourmet food and beautiful scenery. I've posted photos from this year on my flickr page.

With no cell phone or Blackberry coverage, each year presents a real opportunity for all participants to "get away." I suppose it's appropriate that Ed and I travel in the Get-Away Van. With the successful independent and corporate businesspeople in our group of campers, the vacation usually becomes an informal business incubator and therapy session as well.

The greatest pleasure of the trip for me is taking along the stack of magazines and books that have been gathering dust on my nightstand. This year I got to read four books during the week.

Having spent time around Florence, Italy on several previous vacations, the book The Monster of Florence, by Douglas Preston, was an interesting - and perhaps a bit gruesome - account of a serial killer case that baffled authorities in the region for many years. It presents a fascinating tale of how the Italian legal and investigative work and don't work. Continuing on the Italian theme, I read The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria by Marlena de Blasi. Her graphic descriptions of Umbria took me back to 1999 when Ed, myself and eight friends rented a villa outside of Perugia for a month. The book was a great follow-up to her previous volumes 1000 Days in Venice and 1000 Days in Tuscany.

Several travel books always seem to be a major part of any of my traveling "libraries" and this trip was no exception. I found myself laughing out loud throughout J. Maarten Troost's latest book Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid. I had similar reactions to his previous efforts The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific and Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu - reads on earlier trips.

Popular mysteries or thrillers are usually part of the vacation mix as well. This time it was Executive Privilege, by Portland author Phillip Margolin. The book was enjoyable, face-paced (big print) and somewhat predictable - a really good vacation read. Margolin, an attorney, is someone I've met several times. We kept getting introduced to each other when he shared office space with my former business lawyer.

I did get a little off track there with my book mentions. Getting back to the gold mining - we did find gold. We always do on these adventures. However, we're not getting rich. I think I'll be keeping my day job.

© Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Iconic Logo Designers site launched

From Edinburgh, Scotland comes the another great identity design resource created by designer David Airey. He recently launched iconic logo designers - which features exactly what the site name suggests. The website highlights some of my favorite inspirational creatives such as Herb Lubalin, Milton Glaser, Saul Bass and Paul Rand. Airey previously established the identity resource Logo Design Love.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Eliminating geographic boundaries to

your personal creative independence

Why do so many "creative types" create geographic boundaries for themselves when it comes to working independently? I'm constantly amazed by email, phone call and speaking engagement questions and comments from solo creatives related to what are perceived as the limitations of their local geographic markets.

Huh? I don't think I got the memo about the Federal government building walls around local communities to keep designers, writers, photographers and others trapped in their hometown environments.

Admittedly, when my initial Internet presence went live in 1998, my website was intended to primarily serve as a portfolio for a predominantly local clientele. I wasn't expecting email requests for information about my services from potential clients across the United States - and then from around the globe. Suddenly there were no restrictions to the target market for my business. In the decade since, 80-85% of my business has been for clients outside of the State of Oregon.

Most of that work has been accomplished cyberly. However, some has involved travel, and an even greater escape from the self-imposed boundaries of one's home studio or independent office. I enjoy travel and make the most of taking my portable "office" with me. Advancement in communication technology has resulted in added creative freedom. - whether working from a backyard garden or anywhere in the world.

So, set your mind - and body - free! Eliminate the geographic boundaries, or personal excuses, that may prevent you from true creative independence.

This piece was originally posted on the Creative Freelancer Conference blog. Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, will make his presentation "Reaping the Rewards of Creative Independence" at the Creative Freelancer Conference, to be held August 27-29, 2008 in Chicago. The deadline for "early bird" registration has been extended until July 31 - so register now!

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Jeni Herberger helps "design your reality"

in HOW's Career-Planning Webinar series

In another edition of the publication's continuing Professional Growth Webinar Series for those in the design profession, HOW Magazine will feature my HOW Conference pal Jeni Herberger in a webinar this Thursday, June 24, 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. The one-hour webinar, "Designing Your Reality," will assist you in recognizing your unique priorities and designing a path that turns your fantasy to reality.

Cost of the webinar is $69 - but those using the promotional code DESJN24 will save $20 and be able to register for only $49. You may register for the event on the webinar site. All sessions are archived, so you can register and view them any time. (If you registered for the live event, you'll also have online access to the webinar for 12 months afterward, so you can watch it again and again as a refresher course.)

Jeni (aka "The T-Shirt Lady" due to her webinar ad photo - above) is one of the most popular speakers at HOW's events, having spoken at the Mind Your Own Business Conference, HOW Design Conference and In-HOWse Designer Conference. With more than 15 years experience in the creative industry, Jeni is often featured as a speaker at national events and partners with design firms nationwide to improve hiring practices.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Re-Design: B.A.S.I.C.

In the early 1990's. my very first design project for the Portland Trail Blazers was the re-design of the identity for the Blazer/Avia Scholastic Improvement Concepts program, commonly referred to as B.A.S.I.C. Blazer Clyde Drexler was chairman of the effort, a statewide literacy project sponsored by the Trail Blazers, Avia and - at that time - Seafirst Bank. The program offered hands-on help for children to improve their academic achievement.

The logo I was asked to improve upon (below left) was a confusing conglomeration of a book, the Blazers icon, the Avia logo with tagline, the Blazers logotype and the text spelling out the B.A.S.I.C. name - all within a circle. Then the Seafirst Bank identity was dropped in below to add to the sensory overload.

I was very pleased with my simplified treatment for the identity (above center). The design was primarily made of up collegiate looking letterforms that I had drawn myself to give them a kid-friendly appearance that would appeal to the young target audience. I replaced the "I" with a stylized human figure reading a book - after all, this was a literacy program. What most kids zeroed in on immediately was that the figure was wearing athletic shoes. Across the bottom of the illustration was the name of the organization in simple and tasteful type - with the word "Blazers" plural.

Everybody loved the design - and then it was time to stick in the Blazers' fancy schmancy, new slanted icon and type treatment - and the Avia logo (thankfully without the tagline) - and the Bank of America identity (above right). Suddenly, my clean and simple design didn't appear so clean and simple. When major corporate sponsors want their logo bigger within a design, you make the logo bigger. However, I do think it was still an improvement over the design used previously.

(Note: My 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

'Just Out' in my beautiful North Portland garden

Recently, by way of my Facebook profile, LeAnn Locher kind of invited herself over to my home to take a look at my garden. It's not like I didn't know her - we met briefly several years ago when I was asked to design the logo for the Portsmouth Neighborhood Association and she was present at the selection process meetings. I was looking forward to visiting with her and arranged a date for espresso drinks in my garden.

LeAnn was coming to visit in her capacity as the "Sassy Gardener" columnist for Just Out, the statewide newsmagazine for Oregon's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities. Today the article resulting from our afternoon of garden therapy, and glasses of white Italian wine (coffee or wine ended up being the options), was published in the print edition. You will also find "Humor in the Garden" online

The fun LeAnn and I had while discussing my garden on a beautiful sunny afternoon comes through clearly in the piece. The recent addition of my home-made hose guides is mentioned, as are the copper trellises I designed and constructed. My unintentional plastic squirrel collection even gets some press. The article does a great job of conveying my passion for gardening, and how it has become yet another personal creative outlet.

One of the additional benefits of the afternoon was the opportunity to learn more about LeAnn. We have quite a bit in common. She and I are both almost rabid supporters of our North Portland neighborhoods - and she often writes about her home's location, garden and a wide variety of other local topics in her popular blog Lelo in Nopo. In addition to a commonality as writers and gardeners, we are both graphic designers and branding specialists. Her business website exhibits some well-designed logo creations. I'm already looking forward to a future visit to LeAnn's garden to discuss plants, design and the neighborhood.

The publication Just Out and I are not strangers. Over the years I've designed several projects for the paper, including the Just Out identity. Recently I altered that logo a bit to reflect the newsmagazine's 25th anniversary. Back in 2000, Marc Acito wrote an article about my design business for Just Out. In December of this past year the publication also featured my "better half," Ed Cunningham, in an article about the law firm where he is employed. I really appreciate today's article focusing on my gardening.

Update: While I was on vacation LeAnn posted a personal entry and additional photos of our garden on her blog.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Clickety-clacks along LogoMotives' cyber tracks

Several online postings have been sending traffic to bLog-oMotives throughout the day. The first was an entry on the Creative Freelancer Conference blog from my friend Ilise Benun.

Benun, one of the co-founders of conference sponsor Marketing Mentor, wrote about the fact that the site DesignHide recently posted an interview with me - the closing speaker for the Creative Freelancer Conference.

The conference will be held in Chicago, August 27-29. The deadline for a $60 "early bird" registration has just been extended until July 31.

Yesterday the Spanish publishing house Index Book announced the European release of their latest design volume, A Tribute to Celebrities, by Pedro Guitton. According to the webpage for the book:

Almost 1,000 graphic tributes to celebrities from a variety of fields such as cinema, arts, television, music, sports, cartoon and other famous personalities.

Get plugged into some 500 graphic designers and agencies from all over the world, each with their own unique style: Akihiro Sai, Cocobongo Artworks, Jeff Fisher, Gianni Rossi, Guilherme Marconi, Hausgrafik, Musa Collective, Nick/Leyp, Noma Bar, Quickhoney, Serial Cut, eBoy, Tracy Sabin and more.

From the search results bringing people to my blogs, more than a few people were wondering who that "Jeff Fisher" guy was. Many examples of my work is showcased in other books by Guitton. One design is included in the new volume - but more about that when the book is released in the U.S.

The site of the free eBook download Winners and Losers in a Troubled Economy was also sending visitors to bLog-oMotives. The London digital agency cScape, publisher of the ebook, listed my recent blog entry "Why my design business is at its best when the national economy is at its worst" on the "Useful Links" page of the book promotion website.

Not a bad day for the marketing and promotions department at Jeff Fisher LogoMotives (that would be me).

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Logopond Awards winners announced

The identity inspiration site Logopond has announced and posted the winners of the first Logopond Awards. It was a pleasure to serve on the initial judging panel and have the opportunity to review the incredible logo designs submitted.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Distractions in my summer office

On beautiful sunny days I often work from my summer office - the patio table in my backyard garden. Yesterday was gorgeous and - in shorts, a T-shirt, flip-flops and sunglasses - I was working outside on my PowerBook during the morning hours to get out of my cleaning lady's way. Then I got distracted by all around me for a while. Gardening is a passion, my best therapy and a great creative outlet.

The first thing that drew my attention away from work was the sun shining on the white bloom of a leek, with lavender in the background (top image). To check out what else is currently blooming in my garden, visit this image gallery.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Toot! Toot!*:

Portfolio site DesignHide interview shines

spotlight on Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

The design industry portfolio site DesignHide is currently featuring Jeff Fisher LogoMotives as its Designer Spotlight for the month of July. Fisher is interviewed about his 30-year career, his major considerations in initiating identity design projects, advice for others starting a design career, and more. DesignHide is defined as an online resource for "creative media producers, including web designers, graphic artists, videographers, print media producers, photographers, artists, and ad managers, to display their work with the end goal of attracting new business opportunities."

As noted on the DesignHide Spotlight page, "Every month we choose a design company from within the DesignHide community that characterizes the qualities of "creative, attractive, effective design." We base this evaluation on the website of the designer, their portfolio, and their work on DesignHide. We look at hundreds of designers, many of whom have incredible portfolios, but we think that the designers featured in our Spotlight represent the best of the best." Fisher does have a portfolio posted on the DesignHide website. The designer recently included DesignHide as an online showcase possibility for designers in his blog article Marketing logo design efforts with online resources.

Jeff Fisher has received nearly 600 regional, national and international graphic design awards for his logo and corporate identity efforts. His work is featured in over 100 books on the design of logos, the business of graphic design, and small business marketing.

Fisher is a member of the HOW Design Conference Advisory Council and the UCDA Designer Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, and served on the HOW Magazine Editorial Advisory Board,. His book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities into Successful Brands, was recently released by HOW Books. His first volume, The Savvy Designer’s Guide to Success, appeared on bookstore shelves in late 2004.

(* If I don’t "toot!" my own horn, no one else will.)

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Why my design business is at its best

when the national economy is at its worst

My design business is "crazy busy" right now - smack-dab in the middle of all the news about the horrible U.S. economy. I could currently be working night and day - everyday. In fact, I'm now scheduling projects at least a month out on the calendar.

Such has been the case with each economic downturn (wouldn't want to use the word "recession," would I?) since I started working officially as an independent designer in the fall of 1980. What's going on?

Historically, each time we've experienced a "speed bump" in the economy throughout my 30-year career, the following have taken place:

1.) Corporate downsizing of design departments
Often, with a bad economy comes the laying off of in-house design staff. However, there's still design work to be done. With limited, or no, in-house design support the corporation or larger business finds the need to outsource their design efforts. That's when the emails and phone calls start coming in to my home-based studio.

2.) Smart businesses respond with marketing smarts
Smart businesses will have been marketing regularly prior to a "slowdown." With business perhaps a bit slower than usual, these companies will take advantage of the time to pump up marketing and promotion efforts. Often those projects will include a new, or updated business identity - something that may have been put off during periods of busier day-to-day operations.

3.) Laid off workers suddenly become entrepreneurs
Individuals who have lost their traditional jobs, and have become frustrated with a job search, may suddenly take the leap into entrepreneurship. With the cushion of a good severance package, or a "rainy day fund," it may be time for creation of one's own business. If a person can't find a job, creating their own is often a realistic possibility - and new businesses need the services of graphic designers.

4.) Somewhat secure employees plan for the future
Many people, although they feel their traditional job my be secure for the present, are planning for that future leap from the corporate cubicle world. It's often easier to be getting everything together for a future business while the monthly bills are being covered with a salary. I work with many such clients. However, the numbers do seem to rise in uncertain economic times.

The potential clients mentioned in the above scenarios contact me as a result of my own self-promotion efforts. I am marketing and promoting myself ALL the time - even when I am my busiest - to guarantee that work will constantly be coming in the door. I always encourage other creative types to be doing the same. Too many designers wait until no new work is at hand before starting to market their talent. In doing so, the panic of no projects will add a sense of desperation and stress to the quest for new contract work.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Re-Design: The Sentinel

Yesterday the result of my latest identity redesign project arrived in the mail - the July issue of my local neighborhood monthly newspaper, The Sentinel.

A few weeks ago "scrappy" (Note: admittedly an inside joke reference) Managing Editor and Publisher Cornelius Swart contacted me in regards to possibly redesigning the paper's identity and assisting in the establishment of a color palette for the news vehicle. Swart, who I originally met several years ago when he was working with the Portsmouth Community Development Corporation - another local identity re-design client, was familiar with my wide variety of past North Portland logo design clients. In addition, over the past 30 years I have designed identities for several publications.

The Sentinel was going through a total redesign, including a change in page size as a cost-saving measure and to allow for greater unfolded newspaper rack placement in local businesses. Art Director Colleen Froehlich was creating the still evolving page format. St. Johns web designer Andy Nelson was - and is - working on the yet to be unveiled new web presence for the paper.

In meeting with all the players, in person and via email, I got a good sense of the direction in which they hoped the public persona of the publication would go. There was a desire to have "the look" be unique, fresher and bolder, while maintaining some elements of the common appearance of a newspaper or tabloid publication. The current image seemed to be fairly traditional to me (above top).

Initially I presented type treatments of The Sentinel, with an image of an eye replacing the dot over the letterform "i" and revamped sun rays as a background, making use of the fonts Unicorn, Boca Raton Solid, Blue Blate Special and Rockwell Extra Bold. I also toyed with adding some emphasis to the "n" and "ne" letters in "Sentinel," as references to "north" and "northeast" Portland, with overly complicated results. I maintained the placement of "THE" as a element of continuity, and historical perspective, to the existing identity.

Swart and his staff narrowed the type selection to the Boca Raton and Rockwell treatments. They liked the "sexiness" of Boca Raton, but thought it might be a little too "magazine-like." Those providing input felt that Rockwell conveyed the "seriousness" needed for a newspaper, but the uppercase "S" letterform was too heavy, "clunky" and distracting. I was asked to finesse - or change - the "S" in the Rockwell treatment, to tweak the eye imagery, and play with "i" letterform a bit to make it possibly more lighthouse or "sentinel-like."

In literally going back to the drawing table, I worked on the "S" element for quite some time. I kept returning to the fact that everyone involved liked the "S" letterform from the Boca Raton font a great deal. In what was a bit of an "a-ha" moment I simply took the "S" from Boca Raton and dropped it in front of the Rockwell treatment of the remaining letters in the word "Sentinel." It seemed to work beautifully - and the newspaper crew agreed.

With some emails back and forth, in tweaking the eye element in my logo concept, the final new identity was approved (above bottom). The rays of light coming from the eye imagery seemed to become less and less important as the project progressed and eventually disappeared.

One of the things I really appreciated about working with the individuals involved in this project is that they really knew their "stuff." The design process for The Sentinel was much more of an actual collaboration than efforts with most of my clientele.

In our first meeting, Swart arrived with his copy of the Jim Krause book Color Index. Numerous Post-It notes marked color combinations he liked and was considering as possible palettes for future use in the newspaper. Once the logo design was finalized in black and white, Swart, art director Froehlich and I met to discuss the pros and cons of the various color options. From our discussion the suggested colors to be used were determined (above). While a blue and orange-ish color combination had been used previously, the new selections were richer and more intense. If used, the added suggested color options of the green and purple will give the paper an even greater visual richness.

It was great to receive the newly formatted paper (old design above left; new design above right) in the mail just days after completing the identity design. I appreciate Swart's column, and blog, mention that, "Thanks to local logo guru Jeff Fisher, The Sentinel has a spiffy new brand identity and logo."

(Note: My 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

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 Create Awards 2008
(Create Magazine - USA)
Extended Deadline (with late fees): 7 July 2008
Entry fees charged

No Rules! Logos
(RotoVision - UK)
Deadline: 7 July 2008
No entry fees charged

TypeGallery 2008
(Society of Typographic Aficionados - USA)
Deadline: 9 July 2008
Entry fees charged

2008 Summit Marketing Effectiveness Award
(Summit Awards - USA)
Deadline Extended: 14 July 2008
Entry fees charged

2008 UCDA Design Competition
Deadline Extended: 18 July 2008
Entry fees charged

Call for Aspiring Creatives
(CMYK Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 28 July 2008
Entry fees charged

Really Good Packaging, Explained
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 30 July 2008
No entry fees charged

Creativity Annual Awards
(Creativity Annual Awards - USA)
Deadline Extended: 1 August 2008
Entry fees charged

HOW Interactive Design Awards 2008
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline Extended - with late fees: 1 August 2008
Entry fees charged

Letterhead & Logo Design 11
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline: 8 August 2008
No entry fees charged

2008 Re:Design Competition
(Dynamic Graphics - USA)
Deadline: 15 August 2008
Entry fees charged

Like Colors: A Compendium of Prized T-shirt Designs
(Oxide Design Co. - USA)
Deadline: 15 August 2008
No entry fees charged

HOW International Design Awards 2008
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 September 2008
Entry fees charged

For a Good Cause: Solidarity Design
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 15 September 2008
No entry fees charged

A Homeage to Typography
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 30 September 2008
No entry fees charged

Toilets - PictoSigns
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 30 September 2008
No entry fees charged

(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline: 20 October 2008
No entry fees charged

(RotoVision - UK)
Deadline: 30 October 2008
No entry fees charged

Communication Arts Interactive Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 16 January 2009
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Illustration Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 6 March 2009
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Photography Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 6 March 2009
Entry fees charged

HOW International Design Awards 2009
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 20 March 2009
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. L├╝rzer's ARCHIVE also has an impressive online list of competitions sponsored by international magazines and organizations. 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