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

Jeff Fisher LogoMotives identity evolution

I get a lot of questions about the creation of the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives identity, especially as many designers struggle with the creation of their own logos. I was certainly no different.


Almost eight years after moving to Portland from college, and beginning my career as a professional graphic designer, I determined I needed a business name that reflected my interest in logo design, combined with my lifelong fascination of toy trains and actual locomotives. The examples above show the development of a logo for, what I originally intended as the name, Logo Motive Design. The first drawing was executed in ballpoint pen on a notepad, recreated with a rapidiograph pen (this was before most designers had computers), and then reversed out to final art. The logo only appeared in one print ad. It was not met with positive feedback from friends and clients, who felt the emphasis on my personal skills and talent required my own name in my business identity. So, the idea was shelved and I continued as Jeff Fisher Design.


With more and more of my design work being involved in identity efforts I revisited my original concept for the business name Logo Motive. I attempted to create a logo combining the necessary text and a symbolic art element in an integrated emblem, while also conveying my own creativity and identity design ability. The rough design for the initial train imagery incorporating the name LogoMotive was even included in a 1991 self-promotion piece. I again received negative feedback from clients and associates in regards to such a name making my efforts seem impersonal and too corporate. Still, I began using the business name LogoMotive in 1995 to give an identification to what was unintentionally becoming my primary business focus. I again halted my own logo project out of frustration with it not conveying a strong enough image - and the effort becoming a low priority due to an ever-increasing workload.


Early in 1997 I decided to finally finish the logo project I began ten years earlier for my worst client - myself. About 80% of my design projects were now logos. Potential clients, clients and friends were now asking why a logo designer did not have a logo of his own. My sister, Sue Fisher; owner of the advertising, marketing and public relations firm TriAd (in Bend, Oregon); encouraged me to focus on my logo design efforts and finalize my business identity. I embellished on the rough design of a couple years earlier. By simply adding my name to the design I was able to "brand" myself, giving the logo the personal sense it had been lacking. The result was a logo with which I was finally pleased and it has served me very well. To celebrate completion of the design, I bought myself the new toy train set I had always wanted.

These days about 35% of my new clients tell me they have made the decision to hire me based on my personal logo. The design has been honored with numerous design awards since first appearing long ago. The Jeff Fisher LogoMotives identity also appears in Letterhead and Logo Design 5 (1998), American Corporate Identity 14 (1998), New Logo & Trademark Design (Japan, 1998), the 1998 PRINT Regional Design Annual, The New Big Book of Logos (2000), PRINT’s Best Logos & Symbols 6 (2000), Logo Design for Small Business 2 (2004), Logos from North to South America (Spain, 2005), Logo & Trademark Collection (Japan, 2004), The Big Book of Business Cards (2005), American Graphic Design & Advertising 25 (2010), Type Rules: The Designer's Guide to Professional Typography, Third Edition (2010), 2011 Artist's and Graphic Designer's Market and a little book called The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success (2004).

© 2011 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives