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