Jeff Fisher LogoMotives is "on fire" in 2008
StartupNation Home-Based 100 Competition

Jeff Fisher LogoMotives has attained "on fire" status on the Popularity Meter in the second annual StartupNation Home-Based 100, which celebrates America’s most outstanding home-based businesses and the people behind them. The competition ranks the best businesses operated from home in ten distinct categories. The Portland-based identity design firm is a candidate in the “Most Slacker Friendly” category and may be voted for daily on the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives competition page.

Votes for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives have come from many sources in cyberspace. Cat Morley, of Bangkok, Thailand threw her support behind the design firm through an entry on Designers Who Blog, and posts on the HOW Design Forum and Graphic Design Forum. Calvin Lee of Mayhem Studios and Danita Reynolds of Creative Expertise have been leading the charge through design forum posts, micro-blogging on Twitter and mentions on Facebook. Jason Holland has been hard at work assisting my "campaign" as well. Many design peers, clients, vendors, friends and family members are also casting votes on a daily basis.

Fisher himself has made use of his Twitter and Facebook profiles in promoting the competition effort. Signature files on StartupNation, biznik, the HOW Design Forum, and elsewhere online direct potential voters to the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives competition page. Home-Based 100 related entries were also posted on bLog-oMotives, the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives blogfolio, dezumo, AdGabber, Adholes, Pink Banana Media, Cross Media Experts,, Squidoo and other Internet social networking sites

With his competition effort Fisher hopes to demonstrate how social media and social networking can be used as effective marketing tools.

StartupNation is a free online business resource founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. On the site, you’ll find all the easy-to-follow, practical information you could ever need to start and grow your own successful business.

Vote early. Vote often. Thank you for your support!

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

How my garden does grow

Yesterday I spent some time getting some garden therapy. Over the course of the summer plants throughout my garden have grown like crazy. I think I'll need a machete when it comes to cutting some things back in preparation for winter.

Back in mid-April I posted a bLog-oMotives entry about the little two hour gardening project that came about as a result of deciding not to spend $1000 on a water feature in one flower bed. (Top photo: April; lower photo: September) In fact, I spent no money at all in landscaping the area. All the materials used in the bed were either moved from other overcrowded parts of my garden, or the result of dividing some larger plants. With the initial planting things looked a bit bare. I knew that would change in a relatively short period of time.

Several hostas, a sedum and fuschias quickly filled in much of the bed. (Left photo: April; right photo: September) Black mondo grass, a black fern, a saxifraga, a Veronica ground-cover, an ornamental thistle, some calla lilies and moss roses added color, texture and variety. Then the begonia that wants to eat North Portland filled in any bare space.

The only disappointment in the bed is a supposedly hardy gardenia. Of the five originally placed in my garden two are thriving (one is in its second year), two appear to be diseased (including the one in my newest bed) and one did not survive.

In the two inner patio corners of the bed are my homemade copper hose guides. I wrote a "how-to" bLog-oMotives entry about the hose guides back in June.

It was a beautiful fall day to be out gardening. I even began the process of raking leaves that had fallen from our pink dogwood. Suddenly, I was attacked and covered by a swarm of yellowjackets. I was doing a far from graceful "get naked" dance as I ran to the house, tearing off my insect covered clothing. By the time I got into the kitchen I was just wearing my briefs and still had yellowjackets in my hair and flying around me. Somehow I got only three stings - one in my ear, one behind my knee and one on my shin. I did have a minor immediate allergic reaction, but soon felt nothing but intense pain in my swelling ear.

Later in the evening we discovered that the yellowjackets had built a nest in the drainage hole of half a wine barrel planted with mint for our mojito-making. Ed stuck a cork in the opening and proceeded to flood out the nest throughout this morning.

I hope that with continuing great fall weather I will be able to enjoy additional days of garden therapy without requiring any medical attention, allergy drugs or painkillers.

©2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

AskFreelancers questions Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Web designer Simon North, the creator of the HelpDeveloper site, has been asking independent designers a series of questions on the FreelanceSwitch Forums. A selection of the responses end up on his site in the form of an AskFreelancers feature.

This week he asked: As a freelancer you have the option to work with both clients and agencies, but which do freelancers prefer and why?

North got a variety of responses - including my own - which are included in the latest AskFreelancers entry.

Early in my career I did a lot of work with other design firms and advertising agencies. In fact, at one point a single agency represented about 80% of my business. Over time, my feelings about working with agencies changed. As I responded to the AskFreelancers query:

I quit working with agencies (other than the one that was owned by my sister) about 20 years ago. I prefer direct contact with clients and many agencies will not allow you to have that with their clients. Often, they don’t want the agency client to know the work is being outsourced to an independent designer. Additionally:

1.) Many agencies will not outsource work until it is already late in the project schedule and expect the independent source to make up for lost time;

2.) Agencies will seldom agree to my contract/project agreement terms;

3.) I’m not willing to work under their “we’ll pay you when they pay us” terms - which can bump a payment out 60-90 days or more;

4.) Agencies will very often not let a designer make use of completed projects for their own marketing/promotion purposes;

5.) There is MUCH more creative freedom in working directly with a client.

As my sister closed her agency several years ago, it's not been some time since I worked with such a company. I still prefer working directly with a wide variety of clients. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of working with an agency in the future. However, it would need to be an ideal collaborative situation.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Re-Design: Childpeace Montessori Community

In 1999 I was contracted to create a new identity for the Childpeace Montessori Community. The existing geometric logo seemed somewhat cold and impersonal in representing the education facility. I was asked to design an image that was softer, more inviting and played upon the school location on Portland's North Park Blocks.

With the school and its playground equipment so connected to the treed city park location, I chose to make leaves the primary graphic element in the design. A trio of elm leaves was positioned over the word "Childpeace," creating a situation where the descender of the "p" letterform hinted at being part of a tree branch. By extending that descender a bit, space was made available for the words "Montessori" and "Community" to fit in easily, forming a tight identity for the facility.

Making use of a gradation in the leaf elements gave the image a sense of warmth and energy. However, for ease of reproduction in some applications the logo was also produced in a version with solid leaves.

The Childpeace Montessori Community identity received a 2000 American Graphic Design Award.

With a move to a new location in the summer of 2003, and adoption of the name Childpeace Montessori School, the short-lived logo was retired.

(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.

Toot! Toot!*: NAILS Magazine features Jeff Fisher LogoMotives in "Graphic Design 101" article

The design efforts of Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, are featured in the October 2008 issue of NAILS Magazine. In the article Graphic Design 101, Fisher is interviewed by Ami Neiberger-Miller about his identity design work for Diva Salon, and the creative process in meeting the needs and desires of a small business client.

Owner Lisa Fritsch also provides the perspective of a small business owner working with a graphic design professional. In the piece, Fritsch sums up her experience in working with Jeff Fisher LogoMotives saying, "I've been fortunate. I got lucky when I had a meeting of the minds with Jeff Fisher."

In the introduction to her article, Neiberger-Miller writes: "Graphic design can make or break the image of a nail salon. Whether or not you have a consciously crafted image, your nail salon's brand is expressed through the look of your salon's materials."

Written for professionals in the salon industry, NAILS Magazine covers all aspects of the business, including how to open and run a successful salon or spa, career advice, safe and effective manicure/pedicure techniques, healthy and safety matters, trend forecasts, advertising, branding and more. Published since 1983, the magazine has provided advanced education for nail professionals to a subscription base of 60,000.

Fisher's branding efforts for the Diva Salon have experienced previous international exposure. The Diva logo appears in the The New Big Book of Logos, Logo World (Japan), Logo Design for Small Business 2 and Logos from North to South America (Spain). The business card for Diva is featured in the book New Business Card Graphics 2 (Japan).

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. He 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 latest book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities into Successful Brands, was released in 2007 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.)

Note: The NAILS Magazine article came about as a result of the writer's resource request through Help A Reporter Out (HARO).

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Tweet! Tweet!: LogoMotives is all a-Twitter

Until now I've avoided joining the Twitter bandwagon - primarily due to to my addictive personality. Besides, between design and business forums, online portfolios and social networking/media I'm online way too much already. Well, those days are over.

Thankfully, I do get to blame someone else for my fall into the abyss that is Twitter-mania. My buddy Christian Messer, of Whiplash Design, wrote the recently posted article article Online Marketing: Everyone's all a Twitter… for the site biznik (business networking that doesn't suck) and I was sold.

I've been "tweeting" for almost two days and having a lot of fun in the process. I do already see the value in Twitter as a networking tool and community builder. It will be interesting to see how my participation evolves as yet another marketing and promotion tool for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

The url of my Twitter profile is See you there...

By the way, Twitter has become another method for me to campaign for your vote in the StartupNation Home-Based 100 Competition. (With some help from Cal the "retweeter!") Vote early. Vote often.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Design studio housecleaning - excavated artifact #21

I don't think I'm ever going to get through the boxes and files of past projects that have piled up around my home-based studio over the past 30 years. At least I have no shortage of excavated artifacts to share with others. Here's another example of what a client thought they wanted - and the end result.

I recently came across another yellowing thermal fax page, this one from March 1996. A client of my sister's ad agency and PR firm sent the office a rough layout of a logo and flier they wanted the design department to create.

The client, Advocates for Home Buyers, wanted to promote guidebook the firm had produced for individuals considering purchasing a home. The concept for the flier included multiple fonts for the text and a rough drawing of illustrative element creating a house from the A, H and B letterforms (above left). The colors of red, blue and green were specified for the logo to be produced.

Luckily, my sister and her staff were able to convince the client to have cleaner logo created and the one-sheet flier became a two-color tri-fold, self-mailing brochure. The client also agreed that "Home Buyers" should really be one word as a business name element - even though the emphasis on the H and B were still requested to maintain some consistency with existing marketing and promotion materials.

I designed a tighter house image making use of the letters requested and set it within a circular shape containing the business name (above right). A new color palette was accepted by the client for the printing of the two-color direct mail piece.

Looking back on the approved image 12 years later, I would have refined it even more. However, the logo solution met the time and budget constraints of the job - and greatly exceeded the expectations of the client.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

design:related offers project and inspiration gallery

I have previously mentioned the site design:related™ several times on bLog-oMotives, including referencing the resource in my list of portfolio site where I post and promote my identity design work. The site has offered community members the opportunity to create a portfolio, post inspirations, comment on the work of others, share industry-related news, establish a network and more.

Now design:related™ offers a growing gallery of selected projects and inspirations as eye-candy for site visitors. Featured items included book covers, architecture, product designs, illustration, typography, identity design and many other images presented on the site. The Jeff Fisher LogoMotives identity (shown above) and the link to a gallery of my real imaginary friends are included in the gallery.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

I'm now a cartoon character...

Cartoonist, artist and writer Lloyd Dangle was one of the speakers at the recent 2008 Creative Freelance Conference in Chicago. When not making a presentation himself, he was busy at his sketchpad. I saw him doodling away during my own closing speech at the event. When I was finished, and came off the stage, Dangle handed me a personalized cartoon drawn - and based on one of my comments - while I was speaking to the conference attendees (above).

I was not the only conference presenter who became a cartoon character. Dangle created ink versions of Ilise Benun and Peleg Top of Marketing Mentor; PR and issues management specialist Joan Gladstone of Gladstone International; author, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur Lee Silber; Dyana Valentine, founder and principal of Creative Collaboration; and communicatrix Colleen Wainwright. HOW Magazine Editor Bryn Mooth also didn't escape the pen.

Dangle has posted his Creative Freelancer Conference cartoons in a Flickr set for all to view.

Check out the Creative Freelancer Conference blog for event followups, photos and links mentioned during presentations. More of Lloyd Dangle's cartoons may be seen on his website. I'm a big fan of his illustrations on the Airborne packaging.

Images © 2008 Lloyd Dangle

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

StartupNation recognizes Jeff Fisher LogoMotives
"Home-Based 100" one-hour marketing effort

This morning I received the StartupNation Community Bulletin in my email box - and there I was as the lead story. The mention was in regards to the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives entry in the StartupNation Home-Based 100 Competition. Under the heading "1 Hour Grassroots Marketing Victories" the text read:

Home-Based 100 contestant Jeff Fisher sees everything as a marketing opportunity and with about 1 hour of effort has made a significant impact on his business. "My little "Home-Based 100" marketing campaign has a resulted in a little side effect - traffic to my blogs and website is up about 30% in the past week." ...

A link in the email then invited readers to "Learn the 1 hour marketing plan ." The Community Bulletin newsletter is also posted online. In my original StartupNation forum post I explained how, in just about an hour, I had made a significant marketing effort in my quest to be one of the businesses featured on the annual Home-Based 100 list.

Here I am today using my marketing efforts as a self-promotion example - and promoting my business, and the competition, even more.

Please remember to vote daily for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives throughout the competition. Vote early. Vote often.

Thank you for your support.

(See what other sites have been "tooting my horn" in regards to the Home-Based 100 competition.)

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Before and after logo designs: Part V

The majority of my recent identity design projects have been redesigns of existing logos. Over the years I have been contracted many times to update or makeover the logos of businesses and organizations. My "before & after" images of such projects get a great deal of attention in my marketing packets and through previous blog entries focusing on redesign efforts. I thought I would create a series of bLog-oMotives visual entries showcasing some of the examples - with links to previous posts offering project explanations and anecdotes - allowing bLog-oMotives readers to easily review some of the past featured designs.

Our House of Portland • Portland,OR (Read more)

VanderVeer Center • Portland, OR (Read more)

Childpeace Montessori Community • Portland, OR (Read more)

Portsmouth Community Development Corporation • Portland, OR (Read more)

Sunriver Preparatory School • Suniver,OR (Read more)

Check out previous "before and after" posts on bLog-oMotives.

(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

Toot! Toot!*: Jeff Fisher LogoMotives honored
with 2008 American Graphic Design Award

Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, has received a 2008 American Graphic Design Award for his identity design efforts. Over the past decade Fisher has been honored with 19 of the awards in the annual national competition coordinated by the trade publication Graphic Design: usa and sponsored by NewPage.

Fisher was honored for the identity created to represent the Holocaust Remembrance Project, a program of the Holland+Knight Charitable Foundation, Inc - the charitable giving organization of the Holland+Knight law firmwith headquarters in Tampa, FL. In the identity redesign effort, the designer made use of the negative imagery of triangle-shaped concentration camp uniform badges to form the colorful rays of a strong, positive sun graphic in projecting an image of honor and respect in regards to the issues of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Remembrance Project is a national essay contest for high school students that is designed to encourage and promote the study of the Holocaust. Participation in the activity encourages students to think responsibly, be aware of world conditions that undermine human dignity, and make decisions that promote the respect and value inherent in every person. The project serves as a living memorial to the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust.

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. He 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 latest book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities into Successful Brands, was released in 2007 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

Clickety-clacks along the "Home-Based 100" tracks

The other day I posted a bLog-oMotives entry about my business, Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, being a contestant in the annual StartupNation Home-Based 100 Competition. It seems I've got some support out there in the blog-o-sphere. A couple great posts went live during the last couple days:

Designers Who Blog - Home-Based 100 Competition: Vote for Jeff Fisher

Creative Freelancer Conference Blog - Vote for slack-a-licious Jeff "LogoMotives" Fisher

Remember to vote early and vote often! Actually, you can cast your vote daily on my Jeff Fisher LogoMotives competition page. Thanks to all who are supporting this effort.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

How to get a crappy logo...

Identity designers should be sending out a BIG "thank you" to Megan Lane Patrick, Senior Editor of HOW magazine and HOW Books, for her HOW Blog post "How To Get A Crappy Logo."

Megan writes:

Offer a $320 "award" to anyone who can please you with their "design" of your logo. Oh, you'll get lots to choose from, but do would really want any of them? (Bad logos make my stomach hurt. Really!)

I'm in total agreement with Megan. Whether it's billed as a"contest," a project "bidding" site, the result is an "award," or the process is called crowdsourcing; a good percentage of the time the final product does a major disservice to the client by eliminating the interaction between a business owner and a creative professional. Seldom does the "designer" have the education and experience to justify taking on such a project - and it does show in the majority of designs submitted. The designer loses out, too - being taken advantage of by a procedure that is nothing but "spec work" in disguise.

Megan, thanks for simply saying what so many of us think on a regular basis!

© 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:

HOW International Design Awards 2008
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 September 2008 (with late fees)
Entry fees charged

The Renaissance of the Type
(Society of Hungarian Graphic Designers and Typographers - Hungary)
Deadline Extended: 19 September 2008
No entry fees charged

Letterhead and Business Cards
(Zeixs - Germany)
Deadline Extended: 29 September 2008
No entry fees charged

Summit Emerging Media Award
(Summit International Awards - USA)
Deadline Extended: 6 October 2008
Entry fees charged

2009 ReBrand 100 Global Awards
(ReBrand - USA)
Deadline Exended: 8 October 2008 with late fee
Entry fees charged

Really Good Packaging, Explained
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 10 October 2008
No entry fees charged

Tokyo TDC Annual Awards 2009
(Tokyo Type Directors Club - Japan)
Deadline: 10 October 2008 (Interactive entries)
Deadline: 22 October 2008 (All other categories)
No entry fees charged to overseas entrants

First International Biennial Competition LOGO 2008
(Logo 2008 - Slovakia)
Deadline: 15 October 2008
Entry fees charged

1000 More Graphic Elements
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 October 2008
No entry fees charged

STEP Inside Design 100
(STEP Inside Design - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 October 2008
Entry fees charged

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

Call for Aspiring Creatives #43
(CMYK Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 20 October 2008
Entry fees charged

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

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

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

Creativity + Commerce: PRINT’s International Business Graphics Prize
Deadline: 1 November 2008
Entry fees charged

100’s Visual Packaging & Labels
(Angela Patchell Books - UK)
Deadline: 1 November 2008
No entry fees charged

Toilets - PictoSigns
(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline Extended: 15 November 2008
No entry fees charged

HOW Poster Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 December 2008
Entry fees charged

(Index Book - Spain)
Deadline Extended: 15 December 2008
No entry fees charged

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

Summit Creative Award
(Summit International Awards - USA)
Deadline: 26 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 Promotion 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