Non-Profit Logos

(Clockwise from upper left)

Chinese Student Association
Client: Chinese Student Association - University of Oregon
Location: Eugene, OR USA

One of my earliest professional logo designs, created in 1978 while I was in college, with a Chinese dragon image conveying the letterforms C, S and A. The image has experienced world-wide exposure in the book LogoLounge: Master Library, Volume 2: 3000 Animal and Mythology Logos (Rockport Publishers, USA, 2010).

Cat Adoption Team
Client: Cat Adoption Team
Location: Sherwood, OR USA

A pro-bono design concept for the non-profit Cat Adoption Team. The acronym C.A.T. formed the shape of a cat in one of those "aha" design moments. the design has experienced world-wide exposure in the books Killed Ideas, Vol. 1 (Blurb, USA, 2009), Letterhead & Logo Design 11 (Rockport Publishers, USA, 2009), American Graphic Design & Advertising 25 (Rockport Publishers, USA, 2009), Designing for the Greater Good (HarperCollins, USA, 2010), LogoLounge Master Library Vol. 2 (Rockport Publishers, USA, 2010), Logolicious (HarperCollins, USA, 2010), For a Good Cause (Index Book, Spain, 2010), Logo Design Vol. 3 (Taschen, Germany, 2011), 2011 Artist's and Graphic Designer's Market (Writers Digest Books, USA, 2010), I Heart Logos, Season One (, USA, 2011), Logo Nest 02 (Logo Nest, 2012), Logo Book (Index Book, Spain, 2012), Letterhead & Logo Design 11 (Paper, Rockport Publishers, USA, 2012) and Logo 3 (Zeixs, Germany, 2013). The logo also appears in the textbook Perfect Match Art Primary 5, by Prisca Ko Hak Moi (Pearson Education South Asia and Ministry of Education Singapore, Singapore, 2010). The design won a Silver Award in the 2008 Summit International Creative Awards. In 2011 the C.A.T. Logo received a Merit Award in the Hiiibrand Awards of China.

Benton County Historical Museum
Client: Benton County Historical Museum
Location: Philomath, OR USA

A design created in the early 1980's for a historical museum with a very recognizable cupola architectural detail. The logo somewhat mimics the shape of the historic Philomath College building.

Our House of Portland Partner Project
Client: Our House of Portland
Location: Portland, OR USA

This identity design, one of many created for the residential care facility for people with HIV/AIDS, represents a program of business sponsorships for the facility.

Check out additional Jeff Fisher LogoMotives non-profit logo designs.

All logo designs © 2015 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. All rights reserved.

Toot! Toot!*: Identity by Jeff Fisher LogoMotives included in LogoLounge 'Initials & Crests' volume

An identity design by Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, is included in the recently released book LogoLounge Master Library, Volume 1: 3,000 Initials & Crest Logos. The volume, produced by the web presence LogoLounge and Rockport Publishers, features over 3000 logo design examples from around the world.

Created by Fisher in 1997, for the Portland law firm Samuels Yoelin Kantor Seymour & Spinrad, the logo is a graphic representation of two heavy law books forming an "S" letterform. The image was honored with a Bronze in the Summit Creative Awards. It has also appeared in the PRINT Regional Design Annual and the books International Logos & Trademarks IV, Letterhead and Logo Design 5, New Logo & Trademark Design (Japan), The Big Book of Logos, Global Corporate Identity, The Best of Letterhead and Logo Design, and Logo and Trademark Collection (Japan).

In an interesting side note, Fisher's spouse Ed Cunningham was hired in 2009 as the first Executive Director of the law firm in its history of over 80 years in business.

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. He is currently writing the book LogoType, about typography in identity design, with a scheduled release of late 2010.

The designer has received over 600 design awards and his work has been published in more than 130 books on identity design, self-promotion and the marketing of small businesses.

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

Never tell a potential client: "Your logo sucks!"

The one piece of advice readers seem to be taking away from my book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands, is that you should "never tell a potential client that their current logo sucks." In the volume's introduction I write:

"In doing so, you can almost guarantee that the client, a family member of the client, or the individual with whom you are dealing played a major role in creating the current image. This seems to hold true whether the client is a one-person home-based business or a large corporation. Making such an insensitive introductory remark is not the best way to start the sometimes long collaborative process of putting the best new face on a client's business or organization."

Most designers have found themselves in the position of needing to deal with a less than stellar logo when it comes to designing marketing materials, a print ad, a new website or some other promotional material. It may be difficult to keep oneself from blurting out, "Your logo sucks!" In additional to conveying a more tactful message, the designer must take into consideration the emotional and historical perspective of the identity - for the business owner, employees and client base. Another major concern for the client will be the financial investment of having a new identity created and then having it implemented as a complete brand.

I'm always somewhat amazed when designers mention that, as a marketing tactic, they plan to approach a local business or organization to tell them their existing logo or website is "bad" - and that their own design talent and ability is the solution for the now potentially insulted business owner or manager. The designers also expect that ambushing the potential client with rough or finalized design concepts - without any prior information-gathering from the business or organization in question - will be met with open arms. Again, the potential for offending the possible future client may be great.

In addition, the designer will have invested a great deal of time in producing what is little more than another form of speculative work. Perhaps one of the greatest dangers in attempting to "sell" such a completed proposal or concept to an entity is that the business representative will not see the true value in work that is already completed. In the end, the designer may be cheating themselves out of time and income that can not be recovered, while also creating designed work that may not best serve the requirements and desires of the potential client.

It's best to approach such potential clients, or the in-house boss, through the initiation of a positive dialogue of possibilities. Occasionally, great opportunities to begin that process may be presented by a business or organization. Recent discussions with clients of mine, in regards to new identities, have come out of the following:

• A business moving to a new location - which immediately requires the redesign or updating of everything for the business; from business cards to website.

• A possible major capital expenditure - the remodeling of an office, need for new signage, purchase of new company vehicles, or potential website design may prod "the powers that be" to take a new look at all aspects of the corporate identity.

• A major business anniversary - taking a look back at a company history often initiates the discussion of the future of the business image.

• Actual changes in the business operations and/or scope - a publication client recently expanded the geographic area they serve, and changed the page size of the paper, which brought about a major redesign need.

• Changes in management or staff - a long-time owner, or management person, leaving the firm - or the hiring of new marketing or administrative staff - can "jump start" the redesign of a company's brand.

• A specific need for a new promotion or advertising piece - the investment in a major marketing brochure or print ad may bring about the re-evaluation of an identity.

• Simply having the time and opportunity - with the economic downturn several clients have found the time to take on redesigning the business identity.

• The realization that an identity is "tired" - every once in a while a client surprises me and, out of the blue, suggests that a business identity facelift may be needed.

Designers should make themselves aware of such opportunities with clients, potential clients or employers - and be ready to react. Have a finely-tuned online or physical portfolio in place to showcase your capabilities, a marketing packet or proposal ready to present, and questions prepared to begin the discussion about the future of the entities identity and marketing. Queries need to be worded in such a way as to not put the business decision-maker on the defensive. Some possible questions might include:

• What is the significance of the logo design and how does it represent your business?

• What is the history of your business identity and its creation?

• Does your current logo best identify and represent your business in reaching your target market?

• With the creation of a new website in the works (or any of the possible scenarios listed above), is it time to review the impact and effectiveness of your business identity?

• Is the current image the logo that you hope to have represent your company for up to decade?

Of course, there are many other questions you might want to ask. Again, once you have a signed agreement for the redesign project, remember to reflect on the emotional and historical perspective of the identity in question.

The emotions around a logo, whether a client did it themselves or not, can be very strong. I just completed the identity for a business, that had made use of a less than ideal logo for over two decades, where there was an understanding that the logo wasn't going to be touched until the founder was no longer involved in day-to-day operations. He had designed the original logo himself. After a very productive identity design process the only historical aspect of the logo retained was the original color.

Another potential client is having difficulty moving forward on an identity redesign due to the emotional attachment to a logo the founder created almost 20 years ago. I provided them with my marketing materials, a number of before and after case studies, and a copy of my book, Identity Crisis!. The message I've repeatedly stressed to the founder is that an identity redesign does not necessarily require tossing out all graphic references to the history of the organization - but the identity should be updated as they move into a new facility.

Do remember that the re-design of any business or organization identity usually requires a fairly decent financial investment for the client - the cost of the logo itself, the design and printing of a stationery package and all marketing/advertising materials, the creation of new signage, and so much more. Hesitancy, on the part of a client, to dive into a total rebranding may be due to financial considerations above and beyond the actual cost of having a logo designed.

Identity redesign projects do not need to be painful for designer or client. In many cases, a designer needs to realize they should not necessarily be putting their personal "mark" on the business or organization, but rather working in collaboration with the client to produce the best solution for extending the life, recognition and success of the identity being addressed.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Toot! Toot!*: LogoMotives same-sex wedding graphic appears in 'Celebration Graphics' book

A same-sex wedding graphic, created by designer Jeff Fisher to celebrate his 2004 marriage to long-time partner Ed Cunningham, is featured in the recently released book Celebration Graphics Sourcebook: Festive Designs from All Cultures. Fisher is the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. The new design volume, by John Stones, is distributed in the U.S. by Rockport Publishers.

Celebration Graphics Sourcebook presents innovative case studies from across all media, budgets, and cultures. Celebrations are arranged month by month, interspersed with weddings, birthdays, Name Days, and other life-marking events.

In the spring of 2004, Multnomah County (OR) historically began issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Fisher and Cunningham were married before family and friends on the stage of a Portland community theater; an event featured in the local newspaper Willamette Week. Oregon's on-going political battle over same-sex marriage resulted in an amendment to the Oregon Constitution later that year, and the marriages being declared invalid by the courts.

The graphic representation of the couple, with designer Fisher in a Hawaiian shirt and law firm administrator Cunningham shown in a business suit, was used for the ceremony invitation, thank you cards, and an announcement of a summer wedding reception held in the gardens of Joy Creek Nursery. The design also appears in The Big Book of Logos 5 and is part of the Multnomah County Wedding Album Project (2004-2005), now in the Oregon Historical Society collection.

Fisher, a 30+ year design industry veteran, is the author of The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success: Ideas and tactics for a killer career and Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands. He is currently writing the book LogoType, about typography in identity design, with a scheduled release of late 2010.

The designer has received over 600 design awards and his work has been published in more than 130 books on identity design, self-promotion and the marketing of small businesses. In recent years, Fisher has judged numerous competitions, including American Advertising & Design 25, the Logopond Awards, The Create Awards, and the Summit Creative Awards.

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

Museum Logos

(Clockwise from upper left)

Benton County Historical Museum
Client: Benton County Historical Museum
Location: Philomath, OR USA

A design created in the early 1980's for a historical museum with a very recognizable cupola architectural detail. The logo somewhat mimics the shape of the historic Philomath College building.

Vista House
Client: Friends of Vista House, Oregon State Parks Trust
Location: Columbia River Gorge, OR USA

The logo identifies the Vista House, which was built in 1916-1918 as a memorial to Oregon pioneers and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The identity appears in the books Typeface: Classic Typography for Contemporary Design, Graphis Logo 6, 100's Visual Logos and Letterheads and Logos from North to South America (Spain).

Portland Children's Museum
Client: Portland Children's Museum
Location: Portland, OR USA

In 1982 I was commissioned to design and illustrate a coloring book for the Portland Children's Museum. One of the illustrations was of the former dormitory that was home to the museum from 1950 until 2001. The drawing of the building was used as a logo for the facility for quite a few years.

Benicia Historical Museum at the Camel Barns
Client: Benicia Historical Museum
Location: Benicia, CA USA

The Benicia Historical Museum at the Camel Barns had a split personality of multiple identifying images. The Civil War era U.S. Army base needed a logo representative of the time period and its history. The camel image from an antique etching of the museum was used in the design. The logo received an American Corporate Identity 22 award, and appears in The Big Book of Logos 5 and 100's Visual Logos and Letterheads.

Read more about the museum identity redesign effort in this entry.

All logo designs © 2015 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. All rights reserved.

Self-Promotion the Social Way

Designer Daniel McNutt recently posted on Twitter, “Jeff, you were social networking before it had its catchy name.”

And I realized that he’s right: I’ve been using social interaction tools for self-promotion for quite a long time. I found my way online more than a decade ago with my first website, newsgroups and forums such as the HOW Forum ( I used those outlets to promote my firm and to share my design and business expertise. About five years later, I was dragged kicking and screaming into the then-new blogosphere. To my surprise, bLog-oMotives (my first attempt at blogging) proved to be a great outlet for communicating ideas and promoting my work. I created a separate blog to promote my book Identity Crisis! From there, I made over my fairly stagnant business website with a blogfolio format (as you’d guess, part blog and part portfolio of my work), which was more flexible for me and more search engine-friendly.

Social networking is the latest tool for online marketing, one that I’ve embraced, like many other creative pros. LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Naymz, Plaxo, Twitter, Squidoo and Ning — it almost sounds like the name of a law firm. Instead, by adding “.com” to each term, you’ll find just a few of the growing number of social networking sources available to spread your name, work and brand out into cyberspace.

And that’s precisely the point of using social networks as self-promotion tools: They can grow your universe of business prospects, draw traffic back to your website or blog and help you develop a broad reputation as an expert. “These sites all help get your name out there,” says Paul Kline, a photographer who runs a studio bearing his name in Washington, DC. “Websites, search engines and direct mail are all important, but social networking sites are more personal, and in some cases more effective.”

Getting Started in Social Media
Social networking success depends on initiating interaction, engaging an audience, sharing information, making the impersonal personal and inviting feedback. It also demands that you offer easy access to an already established web presence (either your website or blog). Your online audience will want additional information about you and your expertise before deciding to be your friend, follower or contact. Without that link, you lose credibility, and the perceived value of your tweets, posts and comments may lessen.

Nashville, TN-based children’s illustrator Holli Conger built that foundation first. “I’ve always had an online portfolio and website,” she says. “When I first started out, I participated on a lot of forums. I would usually read more than I commented or posted. Then I moved on to blogging, which opened me up to other illustrators who were more on my level career-wise.” Justin Ahrens, principal of Geneva, IL-based design firm Rule29, had a similar introductory experience to internet marketing. “Early on, we primarily utilized our website; it basically just showcased our work, contact information and news highlights.”

MySpace and Facebook
When I joined MySpace several years ago, the network was primarily populated by teens, but I saw its promotional promise and I did land a couple of projects. But I’ve found myself returning to MySpace less and less frequently as my business goals have outgrown the site’s audience and abilities. Frankly, it’s OK to move on if a social network isn’t serving your needs.

When I joined Facebook, my strategy was to create a personal profile with a business slant. Increasingly, though, Facebook is attracting “grown-up” users and has added new tools that enable a more professional presence on the network. I’ve set my Facebook profile up so that it automatically feeds my latest blog posts, and I contribute targeted, business-specific updates and post galleries of appropriate photos and graphic images. And I’ve created a page for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives that exclusively spotlights my business.

LinkedIn was built from the ground up as a business networking tool; unfortunately, the site’s early iteration was clunky, difficult to navigate and, let’s face it, boring. Now, however, LinkedIn has perhaps taken cues from Facebook: It’s a friendlier environment for making professional contacts, with easier navigation. The addition of industry-specific groups and discussions created a venue of true social interaction. The groups also make it easier to find and connect with people of similar interests and experience.

Looking at who your contacts are connected to expands your exposure to potential clients, as Conger discovered. “LinkedIn led to a pretty lucrative design/illustration contract that feeds me work monthly,” she says. “I found the company through another contact and noticed in their profile that they were hiring in-house positions. I e-mailed to see if they’d be interested in working with me on a freelance basis. They said yes and they’ve been one of the best clients I’ve ever had.”

My fear of a Twitter addiction kept me from participating early on; after just a month of tweeting, traffic to my blogfolio and blogs doubled. I’ve found Twitter to be an invaluable business resource. While casual Twitter users post their whereabouts and what they ate for breakfast, I opt for more professional tweets. I add links to blog posts or articles I think others may find interesting. I share design competition and book submission deadlines. I retweet, or re-post, messages I feel may be of interest to those following my posts. Occasionally I toss in a personal note or response to someone.

Using Social Media Strategically
In my involvement with these sites, I see a lot of designers, writers, illustrators and photographers networking only with other creative types. Selectively interacting with just your peers isn’t the best tactic for finding potential clients. So I encourage creative professionals to also seek out networking opportunities on sites frequented by business folks, like or

The social networking sites of traditional print media also provide great opportunities to rub cyber elbows with business professionals. Magazine websites such as, and Good Magazine provide a connection to the business community—including the ability to create online profiles, participate in discussions and post articles or blogs. Being active in these online conversations demonstrates your expertise to a new niche.

I’ve discovered that there’s little difference between my individual personality and that of my business. Conger advocates using caution in establishing the online attitude for your business, as well. “I think it’s important to show your personality, but I’ve chosen to have a more professional appearance on the internet as a whole,” she says. “Everything is searchable, and what you say could come back to haunt you.”

This blending of personal and professional worlds may be one hurdle keeping you from tapping social media as a professional tool. Another may be time. Just as you can be strategic about representing your brand online, you can be thoughtful about how you manage all these networks. You can repurpose content across media; a blog post might also appear in your newsletter and, in short form, on Twitter. Applications like can synchronize your blog with your social media accounts, so a new post is automatically broadcast to other outlets—a huge time-saver. And tools like TweetDeck let you monitor and post to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously.

When it comes to social networking, it’s possible to successfully mix business with pleasure. “Make time for social networking,” Ahrens concludes. “It’s a ton of fun—and more important, you never know whether or not a valuable new business connection is just around the corner.”

Note: This article, by Jeff Fisher - the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based design firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, was originally published in its entirety in the October 2009 HOW Magazine Self-Promotion issue.

"8 tips and tricks for professional and effective 'Self-Promotion the Social Way'" is the side-bar to that printed piece.

© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives and HOW Magazine