Clowning Around: Toots Caboose & pals prepare for 2011 Portland Rose Festival Character Clown Corps

Toots Caboose, the alter ego of designer and author Jeff Fisher - the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives is dusting off his red nose for a third season as a member of the Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corps for the Portland Rose Festival. In 2009 Toots emerged from clown school and made quite an impression at official Rose Festival events.

Toots Caboose in front of SP 4449 - “World's Most Famous Steam Locomotive” - at Portland's Union Station during National Train Day.

Once again, Toots Caboose and members of the Character Clown Corps will liven things up during National Train Day festivities at Portland's historic Union Station on Saturday, May 7th. In 2010, at the request of Amtrak Cascades officials, Toots was an official tour guide on their custom-built Talgo train.

Al Baker, of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, with Toots at Portland's National Train Day event.

Led by Boss Clown Angel Ocasio, there be be sightings of Toots Caboose and the Character Clown Corp troupe at these, and other, upcoming official Portland Rose Festival events:

National Train Day: Meet strolling and performing clowns at Union Station on Saturday, May 7th.

Toots Caboose playing engineer with the Union Pacific Miniature Train during the 2010 Fred Meyer Junior Rose Parade

Fred Meyer Junior Rose Parade: The oldest and largest children's parade in the United States will be held on Wednesday, June 8th.

Toots Caboose, Auguste and Trip strike a pose prior the 2010 Portland Rose Parade [Photo by clown pal Pippa/Debra Samuel].

Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade: The Grand Floral Parade is Saturday, June 11th. In 2010, in addition to being seen by a national television audience, nearly 500,000 people lined the streets of downtown Portland to view the event.

For more photos of the 2010 Amtrak Cascades Character Clown Corp activities, check out this gallery of images

© 2011 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Toot! Toot!*: Jeff Fisher LogoMotives identities showcased in Taschen's 'Logo Design Vol. 3'

The new internationally-released book Logo Design Vol. 3 includes six identities from Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. The volume, edited by Julius Wiedemann, was published by the German-based firm Taschen as part of their continuing series on logo design and branding.

The Jeff Fisher LogoMotives designs selected (above) include an identity concept for the Cat Adoption Team, the logo redesign for "The Sentinel" community newspaper and the branding image for the Holocaust Remembrance Project of Tampa, FL. In addition, logos for the short-lived Portland eatery Balaboosta and the Historic Kenton Firehouse Committee are featured in the design inspiration resource. Also represented in the book is the logo for the entertainment troupe Stumptown Clowns, of which designer Fisher is a member in his alter-ego persona of clown Toots Caboose.

Fisher, a 30+ year design industry veteran, is the author of Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands and The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success: Ideas and tactics for a killer career. Other book projects are currently in the works.

The designer has received over 600 design awards and his work has been published in more than 140 books on identity design, self-promotion and the marketing of small businesses. He often travels – nationally and internationally – to present courses, seminars and workshops on design, branding, marketing and social networking. In addition, Fisher is a nationally-recognized speaker, making numerous presentations each year to design organizations, design schools, universities and business groups.

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.)

© 2011 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Jeff Fisher's neighborhood logo design efforts recognized at 'Celebrate North Portland' event

It's always nice to be recognized for one's work-related efforts, especially pro-bono activities in your own community - although it's never something to be expected. For me, the funny thing is that each time I've informed that I was to be publicly recognized at a neighborhood event, I've known I would miss the celebration due to traveling outside of the country. Such was the case in March 2011, while I was in on the island of St. Croix.

In late 2010, I learned that my volunteer neighborhood design efforts were to be acknowledged at a public dinner to be held on March 19th at the University of Portland. I was to be one of many residents to be honored at the event "Celebrate North Portland: Recognizing over three decades of activism in North Portland," hosted by my long-time friend and client, Mike Verbout.

Verbout, the former principal of James John School, also asked if I would create the logo to identify the dinner.

Schnitzer Steel, community activists Barbara Parmelee and Rich Recker, former Portland Mayor Vera Katz, columnist Steve Duin of The Oregonian and The Merck Family received plaques for their contributions to North Portland. Along with many businesses, organizations and individuals, I was honored to have a narrative describing my community work published in the evening's recognition book:

"Jeff Fisher, author of Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands (HOW Books, 2007), is the Engineer of Creative Identity for the North Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. A 32-year graphic design veteran, he has been honored with over 600 regional, national and international design awards and is featured in over 140 books about logos, the design business, and small business marketing. His first book, The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success was released in 2004. Other book projects are currently in the works. He often travels – nationally and internationally – to present courses, seminars and workshops on design, branding, marketing and social networking.

In addition, Fisher is a nationally-recognized speaker, making numerous presentations each year to design organizations, design schools, universities and business groups. In 2009, Graphic Design USA magazine named Jeff Fisher one of its design industry “People to Watch.” Jeff Fisher LogoMotives is a past recipient of the Spirit of Portsmouth Award, Salvation Army’s North Portland Neighborhood Pride Award and the Portland Area Theatre Alliance B. Joe Medley Volunteer Award. Fisher is also Portland Rose Festival Character Clown Corps member Toots Caboose. Jeff and his partner, Ed Cunningham, have made Arbor Lodge their home for 15 years.

Past North Portland clients of Jeff Fisher LogoMotives have included James John School, Just Out, Peninsula Community Development Corporation, North Bank Cafe, Coyner's Auto Body, Lampros Steel, The Sentinel and DiPrima Dolci. The designer has donated his talents and abilities to create logos and other works for the North Portland Business Association, Project Safe Summer, Portsmouth Neighborhood Association, Peninsula Clean Team, Caring Community of North Portland, Kenton Neighborhood Service Center, Children's Relief Nursery, North Portland Neighborhood Services, St. Johns Window Project, Historic Kenton Firehouse Committee, The Salvation Army’s Moore Street Corps, and the North Portland Pride B.B.Q and Festival. He also designed the St. Johns street banners."

It's been a real pleasure to live and work in North Portland. I look forward to many more years of involvement in the vibrant community I call "home."

© 2011 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Simple garden hose guide and plant protector [Redux]

[With spring gardening in full swing, for those not currently under water or still covered with snow, I've had several requests for information about my hose guide project. Here's a "rerun" of the original post. Happy gardening!]

One of my greatest passions, and best forms of therapy, outside of work is my garden. Although the entire garden is most often watered by a timer- operated irrigation and drip system, occasionally there is a need to do extra watering using the garden hose. I always hate to be dragging the hose across the driveway, sidewalk or patio and have it attempt to decapitate plants in the garden.

I've looked at various hose guides at garden stores and I'm just too cheap to pay what is asked. I'd heard of people making the guides using lengths of pipe with ornamental lamp finials on top. Again, most lamp finials I like are too expensive for me to use in such a manner. A few weeks ago at Lowe's I found some aged bronze swirl drawer pulls on sale for $1.28 a piece - and I'd discovered my hose guide ornaments. So, with a 37-cent copper cap, a $1.42 piece of rebar, and about $1.00 worth of copper pipe, I had my hose guide materials for just over $4.00.

The materials needed for one hose guard (shown above) are:

• 1 piece of 1/2 inch copper pipe cut to 10 inches in length

• 1 copper cap for 1/2 inch pipe

• 1 piece of 3/8 inch rebar cut to 24 inches in length

• 1 ornamental brass or bronze drawer pull

• 1 metal screw (comes with drawer pull)

The tools needed include:

• a tape measure

• a handheld pipe cutter (available at the hardware store)

• a hacksaw (to cut the rebar and screw)

• an electric drill

• the necessary solder and soldering equipment

• steel wool, sandpaper or a tool made for roughing up the pipe surfaces to be joined

• a container of flux and the necessary brush for "painting" it on the copper tubing

• a pair of gloves with a non-skid palm surface for assistance in holding the pipe while it is being cut

The project process was actually fairly simple. The most effort was required in cutting the rebar and copper pipe to the proper lengths. It was also necessary to cut the screw that came with the drawer pull to about half of its length.

I used an electric drill to create a hole in the copper cap to screw on the drawer pull. Once the drawer pull was tightly screwed onto the cap, Ed soldered the screw in place within the cap to prevent movement (you could super glue the screw in place if desired). He then soldered the copper cap to the 10-inch length of copper pipe (again, you could super glue it on for ease).

I then stuck the piece of rebar into the ground, at the corner of the flower bed, until 10 inches of the rebar was left above the surface. The copper pipe fit over the rebar and my "designer" hose guide was in place. In a little less than an hour I had three custom hose guides completed and installed in my garden.

Note: You might also want to check out my flower pot umbrella stand and copper pipe garden trellis projects.

© 2011 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives