Re-Design: RiverWest Acupuncture Website

A few months ago I tweaked and updated the logo of the RiverWest Acupuncture identity for the clinic owned by my good friend and acupuncturist Lisa Francolini, L.Ac. This was just the initiation of the process in rebranding the facility and an increased menu of service options.

I don't claim to be a "web designer" - in fact, with my focus on identity design, I have no desire to be a "web designer" and developer. That's a job for those really interested and skilled in those arenas. However, I do often participate in the design of the appearance of the website of a business or organization, as part of the overall brand of a client. (A previous example of such work was my creation of the new graphic "look" for VanderVeer Center as featured in my book Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands.)

The webpage design that had been used by RiverWest Acupuncture for years (above) no longer suited the needs of the business. Much of the content was outdated and the site didn't begin to define the current services being offered. With the evolution of the clinic's logo, and future redesign of all print materials, the appearance of the web presence would not longer fit the graphic image of the facility. Personally, I felt the look was very dated, had major design issues, and the proportions presented problems as viewed on most monitors.

I don't think Lisa Francolini (or most clients) had any idea of the scope of taking on such a project - and what it would require of her in fine-tuning the definition of her business. Early on, another friend, writer Greg Coyle was brought in to assist in creating the text for what would eventually become the new website. His involvement was crucial in helping the client establish a tone in conveying the message and purpose of RiverWest Acupuncture.

Knowing that the client was a very visual person, I created a rough design (above) as a template in which all proposed text could be presented. The template allowed the client to see how things might actually look on the Internet - without going through the process of creating a live website for review. At this point, Jennie Vinson of Mission First Marketing became involved in the project as the marketing and public relations representative for the clinic. She was incredibly valuable in critically assessing text and evaluating potential online flow of the site content.

A potential client conflict of interest resulted in a web designer/developer with whom I wanted to work having to decline an offer to participate in the RiverWest effort. Andrew Barden, of Periscope Creative had a previous relationship with Mission First Marketing and was suggested as a possible solution to our need. I knew he would be a great addition to the team from the moment we first met.

Barden did a fantastic job of translating the essence of the initial design - which the client liked a great deal - into a series of options for all to review. He provided excellent advice in regards to placement of elements, navigation and implementation of all client requirements. The final new RiverWest Acupuncture web presence (above) went live this week and successfully conveys a strong image of the clinic.

Any business entity considering a website redesign, or an introduction to the web, should understand that it is not necessarily a quick and easy process. At times it is necessarily to coordinate a team of professionals to create and produce the required end result. Such projects seldom are completed overnight - even for a small business. In the case of the RiverWest Acupuncture project, the collaboration of the client, a writer, a marketing/public relations specialist, a web designer/developer, the RiverWest staff and myself resulted in a website that will best serve the client, patients and potential patients for some time.

With design elements securely in place, and corporate colors clarified, I can now complete the process of designing a stationery package and collateral materials.

(Note: My book, Identity Crisis!, contains case studies from 35 designers and firms located around the world. Learn more about the book on the Identity Crisis! blog.)

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

"Joe's Hair That Talk's," and other signs of culture, highlighted in friend's colorful Ghana volume

Last year my long-time friends Shawn Jones and her husband, writer Greg Coyle, jetted off to live in Ghana for several months. Shawn, a graphic designer, was volunteering her skills with Global Mamas, a nonprofit organization helping small women-led enterprises in Africa. Greg, along for the ride, would find himself participating a wide variety of activities, including entertaining and educating friends and family through his Ghana Way blog about the trip.

In his writings and emails, Greg mentioned the unique, and sometimes unintentionally humorous, business signage seen as the couple and new friends traveled around Ghana. That interest in, and photography of, the odd artistic advertising vehicles evolved into the book The Vibrant Sign Culture of Ghana, by Greg Coyle and Jason Wen.

The Vibrant Sign Culture of Ghana was produced by way of online publisher Blurb. The book is offered for sale through the site and all proceeds benefit Women In Progress, a supporter of Global Mamas. It may be purchased in softcover, image-wrapped hardcover, or hardcover with a dust jacket.

Recently having the opportunity to see the colorful book, I was once again pleasantly surprised by the quality of books from Blurb. I've been intrigued by the self-publishing option ever since first learning about the company in 2006. Just last month, I had my initial opportunity to see a Blurb book first hand with the arrival of Killed Ideas, Vol. 1, which included one of my past rejected logo designs. In June, while in Austin at the 2009 HOW Design Conference, I attended a presentation by Blurb on the making of their books (unfortunately I was unable to attend the party they hosted). As a result, all kinds of ideas of possible self-publishing efforts have been bouncing around in my little mind.

The authors of The Vibrant Sign Culture of Ghana were served well by Blurb. I recommend that you take a look at the book - and how Blurb may benefit your own self-promotion, or publishing, desires and needs.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Toot! Toot!*: Designers'Couch interviews Portland identity designer and author Jeff Fisher

Jeff Fisher, the author of Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands, is the subject of the featured interview on the industry web presence Designers'Couch. Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, discusses his 30+ years in design, working independently, the challenges facing young designers today, and more.

Designers'Couch is a relatively new online design resource for inspiration, education, collaboration, industry news, project critiques, and other needs of those in the profession. Site membership is free.

Designer Jeff Fisher has received over 600 regional, national and international graphic design awards for his logo and corporate identity efforts and his work is featured in more than over 100 books on the design of logos, the business of graphic design, and small business marketing. His first HOW Books offering, The Savvy Designer’s Guide to Success, appeared on bookstore shelves in late 2004, and has been re-released in PDF format on CD. Fisher is currently writing a book about typography in identity design.

In January, Fisher was named one of design industry publication Graphic Design USA’sPeople to Watch in 2009.” In 2008, Jeff Fisher LogoMotives was recognized as one of the top 100 U.S. home-based businesses by the web presence StartupNation.

More information about Jeff Fisher, and his design and writing efforts, may be found on the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives blogfolio.

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

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Looking back at the HOW Conference: Part 2

This is Part 2 of my look back at the 2009 HOW Design Conference. You may also want to take a look at Part 1.

I hate to be one of those "back in the olden days" people. However, when comparing past events to the 2009 HOW Conference in Austin, I did find myself missing some things from past conferences. Newbies would certainly not even notice. Some of the "glitz, pomp and rah-rah" of previous conferences was missing. I'm sure some if it due to budgetary concerns. There weren't the daily morning cheerleading sessions (often with live music) to send attendees, many having been out all night, off to their morning sessions. The brunch for all attendees on the last morning was gone. At some past conferences, that event had been a great last minute networking opportunity for all. The announcement of the 2010 location of Denver was a bit of letdown. Not that the conference will be in the great city of Denver, but that the news was not delivered with production number enthusiasm.

The "meat," or real value, of the conference was certainly there. I heard very few complaints about the sessions attended by designers. A few complained that some product-oriented presenters seemed to simply be doing a commercial for their wares. A couple attendees expressed disappointment that a supposed learning session turned into little more than an unexpected portfolio review. Most of the feedback I heard was incredibly positive. It's no surprise that there were many raves about the presentations of Marc English, Von Glitschka, Scott Belsky and many others. If I have any criticism of sessions at all, it is that the opening and closing keynotes didn't seem keynote-ish to me. Both provided great information, but the presentations were missing that "rah rah, let's go kick some serious ass as designers" quality. They seemed very much like regular individual sessions in a bigger room with a larger crowd.

I was unable to attend the raved-about Scott Belsky session as I was attending one of the best sessions I've ever attended at a HOW Conference. Michael Osborne's "Design That Matters" had an incredible impact on everyone in the room. I've always been a huge fan of Osborne's work and his One Heart Press. In just over an hour we learned the incredibly personal and emotional story of what makes Michael Osborne "tick." His Joey's Corner project, created to honor his late son, is an amazing model of how design - and designers - can make a difference in this world. I would hope that readers of this bLog-oMotives entry would take a look at Micheal's work, project and Joey's Corner. (You may also follow the work of Joey's Corner on Facebook.) I regret that I didn't have the opportunity to actually meet Michael Osborne while in Austin.

My first HOW Conference, years ago in New Orleans, was a panel discussion moderated by then HOW Art Director Tricia Bateman. Panelists included design educator Peg Faimon (author of the new HOW Books offering The Designer's Guide to Business and Careers), Willie Baronet, Pash (née Matt Pashkow) and myself. The panel format was a great way to encourage interaction with conference attendees and address their specific needs or questions. Following the 2008 Boston HOW Conference, "Speakers Gone Wild" pals Jeni Herberger and Steve "RDQLUS" Gordon, and I discussed our fondness for the panel discussion and we pitched a "Blazing Designers" presentation for Austin, featuring ourselves in a takeoff of the film Blazing Saddles. Our proposal was "shot down" by the powers-that-be; one making the comment that our pitch was a "scary, good idea.

The TOO early in the morning Design Economic Summit panel - Steve Gordon, Daniel Schutzsmith, Andy Epstein, myself, Megan Slabinski of The Creative Group and moderator Jeni Herberger. Photo by Karen Larson

Months later, as the economy was tanking, we were approached by HOW Conference organizers to be participants in a "Design Economic Summit" (I still detest that session name) panel to be held at 8:00 one Austin morning. The other panelists were Daniel Schutzsmith, Andy Epstein and Megan Slabinski of The Creative Group (photo above). I was really surprised that we got as many as many attendees as we did for an extra session so early in the day. Panelists were still answering questions half an hour after the alloted time. I do think the panel format has a valuable place in future HOW Conferences - perhaps something scheduled as more than an hour long.

I was very pleased with the response to my own session. A filled room with people having to sit on the floor is always a good thing for a speaker. My only complaint is that 75 minutes is a very short period of time to cover a topic well and allow sufficient time for questions. I felt bad when some attendees wanted to visit afterwards and I had to run off to the HOW Conference Bookstore to sign copies of my book Identity Crisis! and the PDF on CD version of The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success at a hastily rescheduled event. (There's more information about my session in the bLog-oMotives entry A clown walks into a conference....)

I'll admit, I drank the "HOW Kool-Aid" a long time ago. I've been featured in HOW Magazine numerous times, written for the magazine, been a speaker at many HOW sponsored events and have upcoming Webinars and a Designers' Bootcamp. HOW Books is also the publisher of my two previous books, and the one I am currently writing. Still, attempting to set any bias aside, I would give the 2009 HOW Conference in Austin very high marks. The location was invigorating and a great deal of fun - even in triple-digit heat. The speakers were inspiring. The networking energy between attendees, speakers, sponsors and the HOW staff was incredible. I had opportunities to meet with people one-on-one like never before. I really appreciated attendee Brad Dressler, from Texas A&M, taking it upon himself to coordinate an in-house designer luncheon and an Austin gay bar pub crawl that was too late for this design-o-saur. Having Donovan Beery broadcast The Reflex Blue Show from the convention center was a huge plus. The "HOW Gals" busted their butts in making the event one of the best HOW Conferences ever. All involved deserve a big "THANK YOU!"

I could go on and on - but I won't. I would suggest that designers start planning now to attend the HOW Design Conference in Denver, June 6-9, 2010.

Note: Check out a bit more about my 2009 HOW Conference speaking experience in the bLog-oMotives entry A clown walks into a conference....

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Looking back at the HOW Conference: Part 1

It's hard to believe the HOW Design Conference was taking place several weeks ago. The days have just flown by since returning from Austin. However, that time has given me an opportunity to reflect on the conference a bit.

My perspective is always a bit different than the average HOW Conference attendee. I have yet to attend a conference where I was not also a speaker. I've made a variety of presentations at conferences in New Orleans, San Diego, Chicago, Boston and now Austin. I was also a speaker at the last Creative Freelancer Conference in Chicago. My attendance at conferences in Las Vegas and Atlanta, where I was not scheduled to be a speaker, was preempted by my dealing with my past chronic vertigo.

There was no doubt that things were going to be different at the HOW Conference this year. We are all going through an unprecedented time in our lives, jobs and careers - and the design industry has been significantly impacted by the global economic issues.

While in Austin, I was asked to sit in on a roundtable (actually a rectangular table) discussion about the conference with HOW Magazine staff, long-time sponsors, attendees, speakers and executives from F+W Media (the parent company of HOW and all of its brand elements). It was great to have the opportunity to discuss past HOW Conference experiences, make suggestions of possible changes or improvements, and share impressions of the Austin experience up to that date. I was a bit stunned when asked if we thought attendance numbers for the conference were down due to Austin being the event location.


Had the person making this query not heard of the current economy's impact on independent designers, small design firms, larger agencies and in-house departments? Taking everything into consideration, I think HOW did an incredible job bring so many designers - and sponsors - to Austin. In fact, in one of the large initial sessions over half the audience stood up when asked if they were attending a HOW Conference for the first time. That's amazing - especially in a time when the budgets of designers or in-house departments are being stretched to the limit.

I remember the surprising large number or attendees at the Chicago HOW Conference a few years ago. It seemed a bit overwhelming. I liked the very manageable size of Austin event. Smaller sized sessions allowed for greater personal interaction between speakers and attendees. That interaction extended to outside of the session rooms, where much of the most valuable conference networking takes place. The sponsor Resource Center was not so crowded that attendees could not view products or visit with representatives. The larger than usual HOW Conference Bookstore, with a good variety of products, provided a more enjoyable shopping experience than past in past years. It's not a HOW Conference without the official parties and - rather than being body-packed, panic attack triggering, sweat fests (I know some remember the bouncing, vibrating, scary dance floor in San Diego) - the music-filled Austin events were a lot of fun. F+W bean-counters may have been only concerned about the "numbers," but the Austin conference reminded me of the very successful smaller conferences of days gone by.

Austin was incredible as a conference location. Friends had always told me that I'd love Austin and that it "isn't like the rest of Texas." I'd never really understood that last statement until I'd arrived in the city. The food. The music. The hospitality of the people. However, this wimpy Pacific Northwest guy must say that the 105-107 heat was just a bit much...

Note: Check out a bit more about my 2009 HOW Conference speaking experience in the bLog-oMotives entry A clown walks into a conference.... You may also want to read Looking back at the HOW Conference: Part 2.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

LogoMotives Design Tracks: Critters • Part 3

Animal life has been the subject of a large number of my logo design efforts - back to my college days in the late 1970s. Below are some examples, presented as "Critters • Part 3."

Robinwood Center
Client: Robinwood Center
Location: West Linn, OR USA

In 1981, fresh out of college, I was hired to create the logo for the Robinwood Center retail mall. The image was created on illustration board with a rapidiograph pen.

When Pigs Fly
Client: triangle productions
Location: Portland, OR USA

The pig's curly tail forming the S letterform in the name of this theatrical production made the identity stand out. The identity was recognized with an American Graphic Design Award from Graphic Design:usa magazine and a Bronze from the Summit Creative Awards.

Sing Out Productions
Client: Sing Out Productions
Location: Littleton, CO USA

Kay Johnson, motivational speaker and singer, is the principal of Sing Out Productions. She delivers dynamic, inspiring and humorous keynotes, presentations and workshops at corporate events. "Why a fish?," a question often raised by the identity image, is answered in her presentations. The logo appears in The New Big Book of Logos, Blue is Hot,Red is Cool, The Big Book of Design for Letterheads and Websites and Logos from North to South America (Spain).

Client: Cat Adoption Team
Location: Portland, OR USA

I had one of those “aha” moments when this rough concept came together. With the acronym C.A.T., I wanted to create a graphic image that would clearly identify the organization without the need to spell out the name in all uses. The design won a Silver Award in the Summit Creative Awards. It is also in the book Killed Ideas, Vol. 1 and will be in the volume Designing for the Greater Good.

Client: Emerge Medical Spa at Bridgeport
Location: Portland, OR USA

The Emerge logo makes use of the typeface Allise from and incorporates the traditional symbolism of dragonfly imagery. The input of a psychic and use of runes within the design were part of the design process. The logo appears in The Big Book of Logos 5. It also won an American Corporate Identity 23 award.

Fritz Creek Gardens
Client: Fritz Creek Gardens
Location: Horner, AK USA

The owner's stories and photos of moose visiting her nursery gardens led to the graphic representation of the creature smelling the flowers. The Fritz Creek identity appears in the books The New Big Book of Logos and Blue is Hot, Red is Cool.

Check out other Logo Design Tracks from Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

Note: Many of the books mentioned in this post may be found at the LogoMotives Design Depot Bookstore.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Clickety-clacks along the LogoMotives tracks

The past month brought about quite a few mentions and sightings of Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, online and in the print world. Here's what I've come across recently:

2009 HOW Design Conference Wrap Up Long-time cyber and real world pal Neil Tortorella obviously couldn't resist including an image of Toots in an entry of his Inside the Marketing Mind blog (A great marketing and self-promotion resource for any creative type). [6.29.09]

HOW Design Conference 2009 - Austin, Texas On the blog associated with her brand spanking new site, my annual HOW Conference "wife" reflects on her recent Austin experience. [6.29.09]

The Reflex Blue Show HOW Conference Special: DAY THREE The clown Toots Caboose briefly crosses the tracks of The Reflex Blue Show, and its host Donovan Beery, broadcasting live from the HOW Design Conference in Austin, TX. [6.26.09]

Office Anthropologist I received my copy of the August 2009 issue of HOW Magazine, which includes an article written by Julie Sims of The Creative Group. Sims interviews Lionel Carreon, a recruiter for San Francisco-based digital marketing firm AKQA and myself, in regards to new hires fitting in when taking on new job situations. [6.23.09]

10 Faces you may know on MonoExpression - Part 1 UK logo designer Graham Smith featured 10 portraits from his MonoExpression online gallery on his ImJustCreative blog. [6.19.09]

Killed Ideas, Vol. 1 I was very happy to receive my hardbound copy of the Blurb book Killed Ideas, Vol 1, which includes my rejected Cat Adoption Team logo design. [6.18.09]

The Top Best Logo Design Books Designer Jacob Cass gives a mention to my book, Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands, in his list of published logo design resources. [6.15.09]

Logo Inspiration With Clever Typography Logo lover Andrew Houle, of, included the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives identity in his collection of interesting type treatments in logo creations. [6.12.09]

Always in Season A Twitter request from an editor led to me submitting one of my vacation photos and having it featured as a "Snapshot" on the site. [6.12.09]

As is sometimes the case, I did come across an older mention by way of a Twitter posting:

The Upside of Working for Free On the FreelanceSwitch site, Martha Retallick referenced my article “Profiting from Pro Bono Creative Efforts.” [3.27.09]

Check out listings of previous clickety-clacks along the tracks.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

How does my garden grow?

After the snow and ice of late 2008, and early this year, there wasn't much vegetation left in my backyard garden (Photo top: February 2009). I wasn't sure what would actually survive from the unusually extreme Portland winter weather.

With summer in full swing, my garden has recovered nicely. I did lose some of my favorite plants to the storms. However, most of the garden has come back very strong (Photo bottom: July 2009).

For a look at the evolution of my garden since the earlier snow storms, check out the Flickr gallery of 2009 garden photos.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Calls for entries: Upcoming graphic design competition and book submission 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:

UCDA Design Competition
Deadline Extended: 15 July 2009
Entry fees charged

Where We Work: Inspirational Work Environments and Interior Design from the World’s Leading Creative Agencies
(This Ain't No Disco - USA)
Deadline: 24 July 2009
No entry fees charged

HOW Interactive Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline Extended: 31 July 2009 (with late fee)
Entry fees charged

Ideas That Matter
(Sappi Fine Papers - USA)
Deadline Extended: 31 July 2009
No entry fees charged

AIGA (Re)designAwards 09
Deadline Extended: 4 August 2009
Entry fees charged

The Vector Brush Sourcebook
(Rotovision - UK)
Deadline: 14 August 2009
No entry fees charged

The Good Design Book
(HOW Design Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 14 August 2009
No entry fees charged

Creativity 39
(Creativity Annual Awards - USA)
Deadline: 15 August 2009
Entry fees charged

The New Big Book of Layouts
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 August 2009
No entry fees charged

PRINT's Student Cover Competition
(PRINT Magazine - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 August 2009
Entry fees charged

London International Creative Competition
Deadline Extended: 17 August 2009
Entry fees charged

Book of the Year, Volume 2
(Design & Design - France)
Deadline: September 2009
No entry fees charged

Best of Brochure Design 11
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline: 1 September 2009
No entry fees charged

1000 Product Designs
(Rockport Publishers - USA)
Deadline: 1 September 2009
No entry fees charged

HOW International Design Awards
(HOW Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 1 September 2009
Entry fees charged

The Mini Book of Great Logos
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline Extended: 15 September 2009
No entry fees charged

REBRAND 100 Global Awards
Deadline: 23 September 2009
Entry fees charged

The Best of Sports Marketing & Design
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline: 1 October 2009
No entry fees charged

Communication Arts Interactive Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 5 October 2009
Entry fees charged

The Best of Sin Design (Naughty Products. Great Advertising.)
(Crescent Hill Books - USA)
Deadline: 1 November 2009
No entry fees charged

PRINT in Motion
(PRINT Magazine - USA)
Deadline: 15 November 2009
Entry fees charged

My Own Business Card, Volume Two
(Design and Design - France)
Deadline: 31 December 2009
No entry fees charged

Just Sit! Chairs and Stools Design
(Design and Design - France)
Deadline: 31 December 2009
No entry fees charged

Communication Arts Illustration Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 11 January 2010
Entry fees chargedWolda '09
(Eulda Books - Italy)
Deadline: 31 January 2010 (logos designed in 2009)
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Photography Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 29 March 2010
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Design Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 14 May 2010
Entry fees charged

Communication Arts Advertising Competition
(Communication Arts - USA)
Deadline: 14 May 2010
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.

A design competition calendar is also available at Icograda. Lürzer's ARCHIVE also has an impressive online list of competitions sponsored by international magazines and organizations. Dexinger posts 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!

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives