C.A.T. logo design licensed to Whangamata Cat Adoption Team project in New Zealand

In 2007 I was asked to design a logo for the Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood, Oregon. I created a logo using the letterforms C, A and T – and knew immediately I had designed an identity that would be very successful for the “no-kill” cat shelter and adoption facility. My excitement for the design was shared by the then Executive Director of the nonprofit. The proposed logo was presented to the Board of Directors, and immediately rejected as “not being warm and fuzzy enough.” The Cat Adoption Team and I then parted ways, with the Executive Director telling me I was free to use the logo design as I pleased.

At the time, I opted to use the C.A.T. logo design to market and promote my own logo design efforts. The design received a Silver honor in the Summit Creative Awards and a Merit Award in the Hiiibrand Awards of China. The identity 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 [iheartlogos.com, USA, 2011], Logo Nest 02 [Logo Nest, 2012], Logo Book [Index Book, Spain, 2012], Letterhead & Logo Design 11 [Paper, Rockport Publishers, USA, 2012], Logo 3 [Zeixs, Germany, 2013], Logo Nest 03 - B&W Edition [Logo Nest, Serbia, 2014] and Logo Book [Paper, Index Book, Spain, 2015]. 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).

Over the last eight years, the image has also become the most ripped-off of all of the designs I have created in the last 38 years; being appropriated without authorization by hundreds of “designers,” companies, organizations and individuals. Copyright infringements have been found in Canada, China, Ecuador, England, Italy, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam and elsewhere. [Many of these infringements may be seen in the album on the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives Facebook page."]

In all of the time, since I created the logo eight years ago, no one ever gave me the courtesy of asking my permission to use the C.A.T. logo design for any purpose – until April 2015, when I received an email from Victoria Cordery, who lives in the small coastal town of Whangamata, New Zealand.

Ms. Cordery explained that, in a completely self-financed operation, she was “trapping, desexing, and re-homing abandoned cats and kittens” from the town’s garbage dump. With the job becoming too much for just herself, she realized it was time to get officially organized, and begin community fundraising efforts through car boot sales and cake stalls. She shared, “With this comes branding. As you would be well aware, having a logo (and a name) is paramount in being recognizable and memorable in people's minds.”

She mentioned that she had come across my C.A.T. logo design online, thought it was “truly brilliant” and felt if would be "purrfect" to identify what would become the Whangamata Cat Adoption Team. Assuming that the design was already in use, she wondered if there was any possible way she could pay to license the image as the logo for her own organization.

There was no doubt what I would do. She had written to ask permission to use the design, when in eight years no one else had done so. She had offered to pay a fee to use the logo to identify her organization. She was personally involved in a cause in which I strongly believe. And she lived in a town in New Zealand with the cool name of “Whangamata.”

Within a week, we had a an agreement in place and the C.A.T. is now licensed exclusively to the Whangamata Cat Adoption Team. I wish Victoria and her organization all the success in the world.

I will continue to use the design to market and promote the design efforts of Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. I’ve also told Victoria that I will not stop going after those who rip-off the design and use it without authorization.

You will find the C.A.T.'s new home on the Whangamata CAT Facebook page.

© 2015 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives