Logodotes: W.C. Winks Hardware

[Over the 30+ years I've worked professionally as a designer, interesting side stories have come up about my identity designs. This is one of an ongoing series of "Logodotes" - anecdotes about my logo designs.]

Jane Winks Kilkenny passed away, at the age of 98, in December 2009. For nearly five decades she managed the day-to-day operations of a Portland institution W.C. Winks Hardware. I first met her in 1996, following her retirement, when daughter Anne Kilkenny hired me to design an identity for the business, which had been without a logo throughout its previous 87-year-old history. In one of our early interactions, Mrs. Kilkenny bluntly informed me that she didn't like the new logo at all.

W.C. Winks Hardware was established in 1909 by William Caldwell Winks and his daughter Jane stepped in to run the business upon his death in 1945. In 1996, his grand-daughter Anne Kilkenny provided me with one of the few existing photos of the founder (above left) as a possible centerpiece for the first logo for the hardware store.

In designing the symbol I hoped to convey a historical perspective for the retail establishment. Making use of ovals with banners, to showcase a stylized representation of Winks, graphically hinted at the turn-of-the-century founding of the business. The typefaces Horndon, Copperplate Gothic 33 and Copperplate Gothic 31 added to conveying a look of the time.

When the finished logo (above right) was presented to Anne Kilkenny, she was very pleased, and told me "it looks like the logo that would have represented the store when it opened in 1909." Shortly thereafter, at the Winks Hardware annual holiday party for customers and staff, Jane Winks Kilkenny told me, "I don't like the logo at all; it doesn't look anything like my father."

In 2001, Winks Hardware moved from its long-time Pearl District location to a much larger building in the city's Central Eastside Industrial District. The logo was prominently displayed on the front of the building as signage. Anne Kilkenny and her husband Jon Naviaux drove her mother by to see the completed new location of W.C. Winks Hardware. "The logo looks really good," was her first comment.

The W.C. Winks Hardware logo became an element of an anniversary image in 2009 when the store celebrated 100 years in operation (above).

Since its introduction the Winks Hardware logo has appeared in the books American Corporate Identity/14, New Business Card Graphics 2 (Japan), Letterhead and Logo Design 7, Graphically Speaking, LogoLounge - Volume 1, Logo Design for Small Business 2, Logos from North to South America (Spain), 1000 Retail Graphics and The Best of Letterhead and Logo Design.

© 2010 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Toot! Toot!*: Jeff Fisher advice featured in Rockport book 'Design Matters: Portfolios 01'

Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based design firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives is cited as an expert in the new book Design Matters: Portfolios 01: An Essential Primer for Today's Competitive Market. The volume, released by Rockport Publishers, was written by Maura Keller of Keller Ink.

Design Matters: Portfolios 01 defines the core elements of self-promotion and portfolio creation and provides the insights graphic designers need to showcase their work in unique and creative ways. Case studies demonstrate the different techniques designers use to create successful portfolios for different audiences and measure the results of those efforts. The book also details how often portfolios should be updated and distributed and determine workable budgets to produce a great portfolio.

Fisher offers recommendations for portfolio creation and presentation in a book contribution titled "Portfolio Must Haves: Knowing when to stop and when to go." His expertise is recognized as the author of The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success: Ideas and tactics for a killer career, now available in a PDF format on CD from publisher HOW Books.

In addition to freelance writing for more than 50 publications for the past 10 years, author Maura Keller was a marketing communications writer for the award-winning design firm, Yamamoto Moss in Minneapolis. She has also written extensively on marketing and business-related topics for regional and national consumer and trade publications.

Fisher, a 32-year design industry veteran, is also the author of Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands. He is currently writing the book Logo Type, about typography in identity design, with a scheduled release in 2011.

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.

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.)

© 2010 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

'Trademark Power' book, published in 1916, offers identity advice to designers and business owners

Recently, I took another look at a fantastic gift I received from Liz and Nena, the co-owners of St. Johns Booksellers and hosts of the 2007 Portland book-signing for the release of my book Identity Crisis! Their store sells new and used books - and they are always having a wide variety of books - from estates, house cleanings and other sources - being added to their inventory.

Among books coming into the establishment was a copy of the 1916 book Trademark Power: An Expedition into an Unprobed and Inviting Wilderness by Glen Buck. The volume, published 94 years ago by Munroe & Southworth in Chicago, even contained its original sales sheet of promotional blurbs (below left); with the notice that the volume was "Not for sale at book stores. One dollar a copy." The shop owners both immediately felt the book would be the perfect gift for me.

Considering the age of the book, it is incredible to see so many recognizable brands and identities. Of course, some have suffered their own identity crises and evolved over time. Still, Heinz, Western Union, Nabisco, Sherwin Williams, Dutch Cleanser, Yale Locks, RCA, Paramount Pictures, Dutch Boy Paints, Lysol, Log Cabin Syrup, Firestone Tires, Eagle Brand, and many other identities appear throughout Trademark Power (one page of examples is displayed below right). There are also many logo examples for firms that have disappeared over the past century.

Chapter 32 of the book covers what constitutes a good trademark - and things to be avoided when designing the identity to be trademarked. The author's list of things which may be avoided is as follows:

First - Common and familiar forms do usually make good trademarks, for they lack distinction. The circle, the square, the crescent, the star, the diamond. the heart, the oval, the shield, the cross, all have long ago been usurped and are burdened with significances.

Second - If one is anxious to aquire legal title to a trademark her will not have it resemble any other trademark, nor will he put in it any descriptive phrase or name.

Third - Flags and emblems of all nations, the established devices of societies, associations and institutions should be avoided as not legally usable or protectible.

Fourth - Complicated and confused pictures or devices do not make good trademarks, because they cannot be seen and comprehended at a glance. As they lack simplicity they lack strength.

Fifth - A good trademark will not depend upon any color arrangement for its effect, at it will undoubtedly be necessary to reproduce it in many places where color cannot be used.

Sixth - It is advisable to avoid designs that are higher than they are wide. A "tall" trademark is often difficult to fit into attractive and harmonious layouts.

Seventh - A trademark should be capable of reproduction in all engraving processes, by zincs, half-tones, and the different offset and lithographic methods, that it may be well printed on all kinds of paper and other printable materials.

Eighth - If the trademark is not as simple as it can be made, and carefully proportioned in all its parts, it may be impossible to reduce it to small sizes without losing the design, or to increase it to large sizes without rendering it ugly.

Ninth - Care should be taken to evolve a design that will not print too black or too light, for undoubtedly it will be used with many styles of lettering and kinds of type faces.

Tenth - Designs that have only a temporary significance should be discarded. They may be meaningless, absurd, or quite impossible of use tomorrow.

Eleventh - That which is vulgar, repulsive, or ugly will never make a good trademark. Also one should be extremely cautious in the use of comic motifs.

Twelfth - It will save expense and trouble, and perhaps prevent disappointment, if the work of designing the trademark is put into trained and understanding hands. It is work that can't be hurriedly done in an idle moment by one who has not conception of the importance of the task.

This advice is nearly a century old and, with all the advancements in the design industry and technology over that period of time, it is surprising that most of the recommendations are still very valid for today's identity designers.

In closing his book, author Buck writes:

The new manufacturer who does not bring into being a good trademark at the time his venture is launched, even though it may not at once be conspicuously used, is neglecting a real opportunity to add to his tangible assets.

And the established manufacturer who has not now a good trademark stands in pressing need of one.

The trademark is not a panacea for every business ill. But it is a fundamentally important part of the business equipment that is to serve efficiently in the new order.

Thank you again, Nena and Liz, for the incredible gift of yet another interesting and historical perspective on identity, branding and trademarks. It's a great addition to my personal design library of nearly 400 volumes.

© 2010 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Toot! Toot!*: Book 'For a Good Cause' gives new life to C.A.T. design by Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

The newly released book For a Good Cause, coordinated and written by design firm Cactus Disseny, features an identity design by Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. The designer's logo concept for the Cat Adoption Team (C.A.T.) appears in the volume from Spanish publisher Index Book.

For a Good Cause is a collection of the best socially conscious design from around the world. Index Book originally set out to produce a book of only pro bono projects, but later decided to expand the concept to any design done with a good cause in mind. The projects featured were created to show that it is possible to make a better, more beautiful world and simultaneously convey the message of a cause-focused business or organization.

The Cat Adoption Team design won a Silver Award in the Summit Creative Awards. It is featured in the books Killed Ideas, Vol. 1, Letterhead & Logo Design 11, Designing for the Greater Good: The Best in Cause-Related Marketing and Nonprofit Design and American Graphic Design & Advertising 25. The yet to be published LogoLounge Master Library Vol. 2, Logolicious and Logo Nest 01 (Australia) will include the design. The logo also appears in the textbook Perfect Match Art Primary 5, by Prisca Ko Hak Moi - a collaborative project of publisher Pearson Education South Asia and Ministry of Education Singapore.

Fisher, a 32-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. Fisher is currently writing a new volume, Logo Type: 200 Best Typographic Logos from Around the World Explained, about typography in identity design. It is scheduled for a 2011 release.

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.

Fisher serves on the HOW Magazine Board of Advisors, HOW Design Conference Advisory Council and Art Institute of Portland Professional Advisory Council, and is a past member of the UCDA Designer Magazine Editorial Advisory Board. The designer also writes for HOW Magazine, other industry publications, and many webzines and blogs. In addition, Fisher is a nationally-recognized speaker, making numerous presentations each year to design organizations, design schools, universities and business groups. Graphic Design USA magazine named Jeff Fisher one of the design industry “People to Watch” in 2009.

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.)

© 2010 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Non-Profit Logos

(Clockwise from upper left)

Stumptown Clowns
Client: Stumptown Clowns
Location: Portland, OR USA

After I attended Clown School in 2009, a group of my classmates and I formed the clown troupe Stumptown Clowns. Immediately after the name was selected I envisioned the logo with a winking clown face within the letterforms. Winner of a 2010 American Graphic Design and Advertising Award, the design appears in the books Logolicious, iheartlogos Vol. 1, Logo Nest 01 (Australia) and Logo Design Vol. 3 (Germany).

Historic Kenton Firehouse Committee
Client: Historic Kenton Firehouse Committee
Location: Portland, OR USA

An image representing the historic Kenton Firehouse near my home in North Portland. It was short-listed in the Russian design competition Identity: Best of the Best 2010, and appears in the books Logo Nest 01 (Australia) and Logo Design Vol. 3 (Germany).

Client: Seattle Men's Chorus
Location: Seattle, WA USA

One of my favorite mid-career logos, designed in 1991 for the Philandros singers - a sub-group of the Seattle Men's Chorus. The logo appears in the book Bullet-Proof Logos: Creating Great Designs Which Avoid Legal Problems.

Seacoast AIDS Walk
Client: AIDS Response - Seacoast
Location: Portsmouth, NH USA

AIDS Response - Seacoast asked me to design a logo that could be used annually for their AIDS fundraising walk. The identity is featured in The Big Book of New Design Ideas, 100's Visual Logos and Letterheads and Logos from North to South America (Spain).

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

All logo designs © 2012 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. All rights reserved.