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

2014 Articles about Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Articles, mentions of Jeff Fisher and sightings of Jeff Fisher LogoMotives designs online and in print:

Creating the Perfect Logo with LogoMotives’ Jeff Fisher, by GraphicDesign.com | USA (May 2014)

Design plagiarism is alive and well in Nottingham, by Together Agency | Nottingham, UK (January 2014)

© 2015 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Business Logos

(Clockwise from upper left)

KidStuff PR
Client: KidStuff Public Relations
Location: Black Earth, WI USA

KidStuff PR is a public relations firm dealing with toy stores, toy manufacturers and performers for children. The design won a Summit Creative Award (Bronze) and appears in the books American Corporate Identity 16, The New Big Book of Logos, New Logo World (Japan), Graphically Speaking, and Logo Design for Small Business 2.

Al Bauer Advertising
Client: Al Bauer Advertising
Location: Portland, OR USA

In 1980, my first year out of college, ad agency owner Al Bauer asked me to design an abstract icon to identify his firm. Early in the process he selected this design - which most likely evolved out of my interest in the minimalist logo imagery I studied in school during the 1970's - thinking it represented how advertising was orderly until something went completely out of whack. About a week later he realized it was very abstract lower-case a and b letterforms.

American Telecom
Client: American Telecom
Location: Portland, OR USA

This logo re-design, executed in 1997, appears in the books The New Big Book of Logos (HBI, USA, 2000), New Logo: Two (Page One Publishing, Singapore, 2004) and The New Big Book of Logos (Paper, Harper Design, USA, 2003). The design was also honored with an American Corporate Identity award and, as a result, was featured in the volume American Corporate Identity ‘99 (HBI, USA, 1998).

Read more about the logo on bLog-oMotives.

Client: WordWright
Location: Portland, OR/Seattle WA USA

The logo for a technical, business and grant writer appears, in its various forms, in the books New Logo & Trademark Design (Japan), Logo and Trademark Collection (Japan), Print's Regional Design Annual, the Japanese book Logo World, Letterhead and Logo Design 7, Logo Design for Small Business 2, The Big Book of Logos 3, and the Spanish book Logos: From North to South America.

Read more about the WordWright identity on bLog-oMotives.

All logo designs © 2015 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. All rights reserved.

Toot! Toot!*: 'iheartlogos' third volume gives logo love to Jeff Fisher LogoMotives identity designs

The newly released book iheartlogos season three features two logo designs by Jeff Fisher, the Engineer of Creative Identity for the Portland-based firm Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.. The inspiration-filled volume, published through the iheartlogos website, features 391 logos created by 121 designers from 20 countries around the world.

The Jeff Fisher LogoMotives designs showcased (above) are the logo for the North Portland Business Association (representing businesses in the designer's own neighborhood) and the safe sex self-promotion design for A Rubber's Ducky.

The identity re-design for the North Portland Business Association took the industrial history of the area, prominent landmarks and the familiar local blue heron into consideration as design elements. The symbol also appears in the books Logos From North to South America (Spain) and the Big Book of Logos 5.

A duck's head doubling as the shape of a condom, with a reservoir-tip, was a subtle "life preserver" message in the A Rubber's Ducky safe sex image. The logo appears in the books New Logo & Trademark Design (Japan), The New Big Book of Logos, LogoLounge - Volume 1, New Logo & Trademark Collection (Japan) and Logos from North to South America (Spain).

Logo images included in the book were judged and voted on by other designers submitting logos, and individuals registered to vote, at the website iheartlogos.com. The limited edition book is currently available exclusively on the site, for $25. Season four of the iheartlogos competition is currently accepting logo entries.

Fisher, a 35 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. Other book projects are currently in the works.

The designer has received over 600 design awards and his work has been published in more than 160 books on identity design, self-promotion and the marketing of small businesses. 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.

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.)

© 2015 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Logodotes: Cat Adoption Team concept

[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.]

It's always interesting to be contacted by a nonprofit organization with a request to design a logo pro bono. I get numerous such requests each month. These days, to give myself permission to politely decline some inquiries, I only consider donating my services if the project is related to education, nonprofit performing arts groups, children's causes, HIV/AIDS or issues in which I have a strong personal interest.

I had certainly heard of the Cat Adoption Team (C.A.T.), the Pacific Northwest’s largest nonprofit, limited admission cat shelter with  its own on-site full-service veterinary hospital. My initial contact with the organization came via an email from a graphic designer doing volunteer work for C.A.T. She explained that she was a fan of my own identity design work and asked if I would possibly consider designing a new logo for C.A.T. as it approached its tenth anniversary celebration.

After expressing my interest in taking on the project, an appointment was made with the woman who was the group's Executive Director at the time. I appreciated the advertising and marketing background of this individual. She had a great understanding of branding - and the fact that the logo in use at the time (above left) may have served the agency well in its first decade, but it was time to convey a stronger, more professional and memorable public persona. With the emotional and historical investment in the existing logo, the was certainly a "never tell a potential client their logo sucks" situation. Personally, I felt the hand-drawn logo, with one black cat looking outside a window while another looked in, projected a melancholy and somewhat sinister image.

My hope was to create a simple, memorable logo, that would be appeal to both adults and children, as an identifier for the group. With the gift of an organization name acronym creating the primary word associated with the cause, I set about the design a logo turning C.A.T. into the graphic image of the animal. I got increasingly excited as I doodled (above right) and saw a recognizable cat form taking shape within the name.

My excitement was shared by the Executive Director when I explained the direction in which I was taking the project. As I fine-tuned the concept, I opted to make use of letterforms from the font Frankfurter to form the cat and then be used to spell out the organization name. The roundness of the letters created a soft, friendly, inviting design (above) for review by the client Board of Directors. The Executive Director seemed very pleased by my effort and felt it could successfully take C.A.T. into its second decade with a clever and professional graphic identity.

The Board of Directors did not agree. The Executive Director shared that the board members did not feel the design was "warm and fuzzy enough" to successfully represent the cause. She then graciously offered me an opportunity that no previous client had suggested. Given the fact I had donated my time and invested so much energy, into a design that I was convinced would best serve C.A.T and the Board of Directors disagreed; she was allowing me to remove myself from the situation if I chose to do so.

I accepted her offer to separate myself from the project. Afterwards I learned that other designers had less than successful past business relationships with the agency, too. The combination of a mostly volunteer organization, the historical and emotional attachments to the group's past designs, a voting Board of Directors sometimes becoming a "design by committee' presence, and other elements can make such projects challenging - for the designer and the client.

Soon after ending my participation in the C.A.T. project, I received a call-for-entries for a book to display 50 of the best international rejected, or "killed," design concepts. The C.A.T. logo concept design got a second life when it was accepted for publication in the book Killed Ideas: Vol 1.

The C.A.T. design went on to have more than nine lives beginning with winning a Silver Award in the Summit Creative Awards. It is also featured in the books Letterhead & Logo Design 11, American Graphic Design & Advertising 25, Designing for the Greater Good, LogoLounge Master Library Vol. 2, Logolicious, For a Good Cause (Spain), iheartlogos season one, Logo Design Vol. 3 (Germany), Logo Nest 2 and LogoBook (Spain). 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. Most recently it is an illustrative element in an article I wrote for the 2011 Artist's and Graphic Designer's Market.

© Cat Adoption Team

What became of the need for a Cat Adoption Team logo design? Well, another designer (if I knew the name I would post it here) did take on the project and successfully created an identity for C.A.T. (above). It seems that the organization got their more literal and "warm and fuzzy" feline representation within the logo design. It has been used as the agency's identity for some time now.

I had an immediate critical, rather than personal or bitchy, reaction to the new logo when first seeing it - and other logo designers have emailed me with similar thoughts. With the illustrative cat's head resting on the "C" letterform, that letter seems to visually close creating a noose-like appearance - or the cat's head seems to resting in wait for the falling of a guillotine blade or the ax of a a public executioner. Perhaps not the best graphic message for a "no-kill" cat shelter.

© 2015 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

2012 Articles about Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Articles, mentions of Jeff Fisher and sightings of Jeff Fisher LogoMotives designs online and in print:

Benefits of Pro Bono: roundup of good deeds by designers, by Bryn Mooth, The Creative Group eZine (November 2012)

Copyrights, Trademarks and Infringements … Oh My! (Part 2), by Neil Tortorella, GraphicDesign.com (October 2012)

5 Steps to Finding the Best Clients, by Ilise Benun, HOW Magazine (September 2012)

Neighborhood Branding: How to Launch Your Neighborhood Brand and Engage Your Community, by Chris Young, Neighborhood Notes (August 2012)

10 Steps to Creating Your Freelance Brand Personality, by Martha Retallick, FreelanceSwitch (August 2012)

Neighborhood Branding: How To Create A Neighborhood Logo, by Chris Young, Neighborhood Notes (July 2012)

Indie: Last Call!, by Steve Gordon, Jr., RockPaperInk (July 2012)

Neighborhood Branding: Goals and Guidance for Creating Your Neighborhood Brand, by Chris Young, Neighborhood Notes (June 2012)

Neighborhood Branding: Determining What To Change and How, by Chris Young, Neighborhood Notes (May 2012)

designer conversations // Jeff Fisher, by Brian Gray, iheartlogos (May 2012)

Neighborhood Branding: Do People Have The Wrong Perception of Your Neighborhood?, by Chris Young, Neighborhood Notes (April 2012)

10 Things you (probably) didn’t know about Jeff Fisher, by Ilene Strizver, The Type Studio (March 2012)

5 Steps to Finding the Best Clients, by Ilise Benun, HOW Magazine (January 2012)

© 2015 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives