Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for Jeff Fisher
LogoMotives, is the author of "The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success:
Ideas and tactics for a killer career;" released by HOW Design Books
in 2004. He can often be found preaching what he practices through speaking
engagements at creative industry events around the country and writing
for various design-related magazines and webzines. For more information
about the designer's work click the link below.
With each Creative Latitude update,
Logo Notions will alternate essays on various aspects of logo
design and multi-question interviews with industry professionals
specializing in the creation of identity, from design icons
to those working in the trenches. In addition, recent or new
books, focusing on the design of logos, will be reviewed. Other
books that may be helpful to designers in overcoming the challenges
of identity design will also be recommended. Jeff Fisher
These are a few of my favorite
things from the world of identity design.
By Jeff Fisher, Engineer of Creative Identity, Jeff Fisher LogoMotives
Cant you almost hear Julie Andrew singing
the classic Sound
of Music favorite These
are a few of my favorite things? As 2005 comes to an end we are bombarded
by media lists of favorites and bests from newspapers,
webzines, television shows and more. Why should Logo Notions be
With Maria von Trapp bouncing around in my head I considered some of my favorites
from the world of identity design. What is my favorite internationally recognized
logo? What local business identity always grabs my attention and makes me say
to myself Damn, I wish that I had thought of that incredible concept! What
logo of my own is my favorite? And, if I had had the opportunity, what logo
would I like to redesign in 2006 as a kind of graphic New Years resolution?
In addition to answering the questions myself, I decided to pose them to a
few other design professionals whose identity design efforts have attracted
attention as I have flipped through my library of design books, browsed online
portfolios or seen their work in person. Designer Cheryl Roder-Quill of angryporcupine*design in Park City UT, and Creative
Calvin Lee from Mayhem Studios and
Gianluigi Tobanelli of Studio GT&P all
agreed to provide their memories, thoughts and favorites for this column.
Catching the attention of future logo designers As one of a generation that grew up watching too much television, I suppose
the first logos making an impression on me personally were the famous eye for
CBS television and the 1960s animated peacock for competitor NBC. The
CBS logo, considered one of the most recognizable symbols in the world was
designed in 1951 by the networks Creative Director of Advertising and Sales
Promotion William Golden and graphic artist Kurt Weiss.
The early identity memories of others vary.
Roder-Quill says, Interestingly enough, I didnt really pay much
attention to logos when I was young. Well, I suppose I noticed logos, but there
was never a moment that I can clearly remember thinking, Hmmm, now I
wonder who designed that logo? It wasnt until I was in design school
at Ohio State University that I really began to pay attention to logo design
I first discovered logo design when I was attending a local community college
for commercial art, according to Lee. The course opened my eyes to
the fact that designers actually designed all the logos that are out there.
The logo that got his attention was the old Corbis logo, the stock photography
I found it great as a mark. It was not super clean corporate looking logo.
It had character, the varying stokes gave it a dynamic alive feeling to
the design. adds Lee.
When I was 16 I read an Italian book on Americas greatest multinationals, say
Italian designer Tobanelli. I found a chapter on Coca Cola logo which struck
me very much and made me understand the importance of a great corporate identity.
Favorite logos of large corporations Today, if you were to ask me to name my favorite corporate identity I would
have to say it is the great logo for TiVo. The logo is easily recognizable,
and projects a great deal of fun and personality qualities few major
corporate logos are allowed to convey in an often-serious business world.
I dont think I have an all-time favorite logo yet, Roder-Quill
comments. I like the Cingular logo.
She adds, The logo is fun, energetic (and orange! - which is one of my
favorite colors) and has a lot of personality. Its unique and stands
out from the competition in the wireless-communications market.
Lees all-time favorite logo is that of Apple.
I may be biased since I am a Mac lover, Lee says. I really
like how simple, clean and memorable the mark is - no matter what era. Apple
manages to keep current, without changing the logo a lot.
For Tobanelli, its the Nike swoosh, which he describes as simple,
memorable, distinctive, timeless.
Favorites with a local perspective One of the things I especially like about the books resulting from identity
competitions around the world is the exposure of logo designs for businesses
and organizations in smaller communities. On occasion I do find myself stopped
in my tracks by the brilliant design of a logo for a business concern in my
own local area. The identity for a business that is literally in my neighborhood
is my favorite Portland design image. Sandstrom Design created the beautiful
and classic image for Moonstruck Chocolates. Ive always been a huge fan
of Steve Sandstroms work. In college, nearly 30 years ago, he and I worked
together on the staff of the Oregon Daily Emerald, the University of
Since Park City is a mountain resort town, most of the logos are comprised
of mountains, canyons, moose, deer or trees (or a combination thereof), according
to Roder-Quill. No one in particular really seems to stand out from
the others, however the Promontory Ranch logo is nice, for its simplicity.
Being in Los Angeles, Lee is surrounded by a lot of major national corporations.
The one local identity that stands out for him is the Anaheim Angels logo.
Again, I like the simplicity and cleanness of the mark, Lee
says. Adding the halo with a baseball diamond really ties everything together.
Im fond of AirEurope (an Italian airline company) logo for color
choice, the feather design, the use of Bodoni typeface and its style, energy,
uniqueness, say Tobanelli.
Picking favorites in ones own work Asking a designer to pick a favorite design from their own logo creation
efforts is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. I know that I have
designs for a variety of project-specific reasons. Still, I do suppose that
my own logo, for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, is my all-time favorite design solutions especially
as I struggled over a ten-year period with the business name and the identity
design. When it all came together, it was an ah-ha moment and the
logo still serves me very well nearly nine years later.
There are a handful of logos that I've designed over the years that I am
especially proud of, says Roder-Quill. One in particular is a recently
completed design - a logo for Cheryl Dailey, a professional makeup + hair artist
based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I love the logo for its simplicity, she adds. The client had
requested a logo that would be classic, yet hip and I used her initials to create
the face, hair and bridge of the nose leading your eye down to the red heart/pursed
I really enjoyed creating the logo for DownTown Entertainment, a black urban
music company, Mayhem Studios Lee says. It was a lot
of fun working on the concepts; it basically designed itself.
According to Lee, he had a great deal of creative freedom on the project. The
only specific request was that some historical building landmarks be included
in the logo.
Among my own logos I prefer the Tessuti di Montefalco logo. The reason
is quite trivial, says designer Tobanelli. I am often very critical
with my work, looking at every logo I have designed I see many defects on it,
but always I look at Tessuti di Montefalco logo with pleasure.
I must admit, I concur with Tobanellis selection of his favorite design.
While on vacations and business trips around the world I often collect printed
materials with logos I admire or Ill take digital photos of logos/signage
that catches my eye. I returned from my last trip to Italy with examples of
his Tessuti di Montefalco logo.
A designer wish list Weve all come across logo designs that we personally feel could
use an extreme
makeover. In fact, with the unveiling of recent redesigns of classic
or familiar logos, such as UPS, British Petroleum, Quark, AT&T, Sprint/Nextel
and others, I know many designers feel they could have done a better job or
the client would have been better off with the original design intact. Creative
types do have strong opinions.
Given the opportunity I would really like to redesign the Hilton Hotel corporate
identity. I miss the classic logo I came to know as a kid when the brand
projected an image of a high-class hotel chain. It may be that the fairly recent
redesign is so visible as I travel from city to city, but it has bugged the
hell out of me since it was unveiled. The logo seemed dated from the date it
appeared. The swoosh-like element of the H letterform
takes me immediately to the time of the dot-doom swoosh logo mania
of a few years ago.
The Verizon logo would be the choice of angryporcupines Roder-Quill.
Every time I see it, I cringe! she exclaims.
Calvin Lee would redo the newest Bank of America Logo, as he thought the old
logo with the integrated B and A letterforms was really
cool. He feels the flag imagery of the current identity is a design cliché.
I really liked the original logo, says Lee. The new logo does
not say much about Bank of American and isnt memorable or say much about
Bank of America - my first thoughts were this was a totally different company.
Tobanelli sums his feelings up very simply with, Which Italian graphic
designer would not like to make-over the Ferrari logo?
Take a good look at the logos around you on an international corporate level,
and those identifying businesses closer to home. Conduct a review of the identities
in your own portfolio. Research the hits and misses of very public corporation
logo redesigns. Consider how you might improve that identity that you feel
needs a good makeover. In selecting a few of your favorite things you
will find challenges and inspiration for your future logo design efforts.
Rockport Publishers continues their long-running design book series with Letterhead & Logo
Design 9, this volume by Christopher Simmons and his San Francisco
design firm MINE. The designs presented in the book were selected from over
3000 submissions from identity designers in 38 states and 40 countries. With
a new spin on the publication series, the nearly 300 examples of logos, stationery
packages, and other promotional items presented in this volume are organized
by attributes, rather than the usual categorization by industry or type of
client. The selection of designs exhibited was based on beauty, wit and whimsy,
simplicity, subtlety, virtuosity, typography, materiality and miscellany. The
latest, and freshest, addition to the on-going Rockport collection will elicit
many damn, why didnt I think of that? thoughts and provide
a great deal of inspiration to any graphic designer with even the slightest
interest in logo design. Simmons is having a banner publishing year, having
released the book Logo Lab earlier
in 2005. Logo Notions also did a profile on the designer earlier
this year with the title What a little birdy told me about
From online school of design Sessions.edu comes Graphic Design Portfolio
Builder: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator Projects, an excellent
resource for the newbie designer and a great refresher course for those
who have been in the profession a bit longer. Filled with tips and exercises,
the book - developed by the instructors of Sessions.edu - offers great fundamentals
for any designer wishing to hone their design skills. The writers do assume
the reader has some basic knowledge and experience in the Photoshop and Illustrator
software programs, but do explain the various topics and lessons clearly and
with a lot of detail. After a basic Intro to Graphic Design chapter,
the book is broken down into sections such as Photoshop Essentials, Illustrator
Essentials, Digital Illustration, Poster Design, Packaging
Design and more. The Logo Design chapter is a very good primer
of principles, project examples and execution suggestions for those interested
in the creation of identities. For some, the title may be a bit deceiving.
While putting together an actual portfolio is briefly covered, the volume is
much more about assisting the designer in producing the best quality project
work for presentation when that portfolio is needed in applying for a job or
meeting with a potential client. The book would be a valuable addition to the
library of any design student or seasoned professional.
The tone of the book Robin Williams Design Workshop makes the
reader feel as if they are having a conversation about graphic design with
old friends or a favorite design instructor from the past. With the authors
having also written The Non-Designers Design Book, The Non-Designers
Web Book and others, that sense of familiarity is well founded. In the
introduction it is written that this is a book for mere-mortal designers meaning aspiring
designers who are in the process of developing their skills and getting experience;
designers who are not famous (yet); and designers who are looking for design
books to add to their collection, books that will give them some insight into
the design process. Williams and Tollett do not disappoint those readers.
Through colorful and detailed examples, designers are taken through the thought
and creation process of a variety of projects including logos, ads, web sites,
newsletters, brochures and more. In the section Designers & the Design
Process the reader is shown the processes and work styles of six different
designers as they create a book cover, logo and identity packages, promotional
materials, an office space, web sites, student project assignments, typography
and collateral materials. This latest offering from old friends is
a fun and valuable design resource.
Type in Motion 2, by
Mark Woolman Hardback: 176 pages
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Inc.
Type in Motion 2 is the follow-up to Mark Woolmans original Type
in Motion, the first book to present an overview of animated digital typography
when it was published over six years ago. In this volume over 80 projects,
from the most advanced studios around the world, are presented in a beautiful
book bordering on sensory overload. Over 1300 images of animated typographic
images from the Internet, film and television almost come jumping off the pages
at the reader. With the sections Identifying, Informing, Storytelling, Traveling and Speculating, the
author exhibits numerous projects specific to those topics frame by
frame in most cases and explains what was needed by the client, the
concept to be produced, the process of creation, and the end result. For a
designer like myself, specializing in static graphic imagery, Type in Motion
2 is a great lesson in considering the option of potential movement in
an image being creating, how that motion might be executed, what movements
could be applied, and how the final imagery will impact the communication of
the clients message. Those with experience in motion graphics, or desiring
a career in the field, will find many examples of challenging concepts, incredible
design solutions, and inspiring eye-candy in this book of innovative
Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for Jeff
Fisher LogoMotives, has received over 475 regional, national and international
graphic design awards for his logo and corporate identity efforts. His work
is featured in more than 75 publications on the design of logos, the business
of graphic design, and small business marketing. He shares his observations
about the design industry on his blog, bLog-oMotives.