JeffFisher2
02
02
2 Comments

Do You Toot Your Own Horn? Jeff Fisher Does!

Written by in Profiles

Jeff and Ed doing what they love most: traveling together.

Neenah Paper
Did you blog today, Jeff?

Jeff Fisher
I spent no time blogging yesterday. In fact, I’m a bit behind in blog entries this week as I work to meet an upcoming initial manuscript deadline for my new book Logo Type – scheduled to be released by HOW Books in late 2010. I did spend about an hour on Twitter (@LogoMotives) and Facebook.

Neenah Paper
You told GDUSA in an interview published in January 2009, “…When the economy is at its worst my business is at its best. This is due to promoting myself ALL the time – not waiting until no work is coming in the door to initiate marketing efforts…” Do you ever tire of promoting yourself?

Jeff Fisher
I enjoy self-promotion – in part because it’s not something I struggle with when doing. I think my marketing, promotion and public relations abilities are partly genetic. My father had a career in public information and as a journalism professor. He’s also written a couple books. My mother spent much of her career working in public relations capacities. My sister owned her own advertising and public relations agency, and continues to work in community relations.

To be successful, as an independent graphic designer requires putting yourself “out there” so people know you exist and what you are able to offer as services. I have no client contact on Fridays and spend a good portion of that day each week working on self-promotion. That may include preparing design competition entries, writing press releases, blogging, participating in an interview, or putting some marketing kits together.

Neenah Paper
Let’s turn to your personal story. Is there ever a point when self-promotion can become self-reverence which drives people away?

Jeff Fisher
Many years ago my mother told me “If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will.” Her advice later tied in very well to my business name Jeff Fisher LogoMotives and resulted in my “Toot! Toot!” press releases. Self-promotion is not usually about personal ego. Instead, it is about marketing a product, service or entity. Those possibly driven away may not understand that difference. I always suggest that those struggling with an understanding of self-promotion read the book Brag: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, by Peggy Klaus.

Neenah Paper
Where did you grow up and when/where were you born?

Jeff Fisher
I’m a sixth-generation Oregonian – my ancestors arrived in the state via covered wagons and settled in Southern Oregon. I was born in Corvallis in 1956, during my father’s senior year finals week at Oregon State University. Although I’ve never really “grown up,” my actual hometown was Salem, the state’s capitol city. I lived there through high school and then wanted to move on.

Neenah Paper
We often see some of the characters popping up all over the blog-tweet-facebook-osphere are famous simply for being famous, like Paris Hilton, without the money, legs or paparazzi. These folks are using social media to self promote, but they themselves have lean portfolios. Do you run into that?

Jeff Fisher
Occasionally I have come across design professionals who might be considered ” famous simply for being famous” in the cyber-sphere. In those few cases, there may be great validity in the design-related content being shared via the Internet, perhaps supported by a less than stellar portfolio. It’s not a crime. However, in the great online democracy, design professionals, educators and students are free, and quick, to call B.S. on those simply blowing somewhat designerly smoke out of an artistically disguised bodily orifice.

Neenah Paper
Your portfolio is has length and breadth because you have served in the design industry for 30 years while racking bookcases full of metal awards and annual notices. Do you get much time to talk about your work — specific projects, process, and solutions — now that you are so busy talking about social media and the art of self-promotion?

Jeff Fisher
Luckily, I am able to cover a great variety of topics in my speaking engagements, webinars, books and magazines. My blog (bLog-oMotives) and blogfolio (Jeff Fisher LogoMotives) offer great opportunities to share more about my work. I thoroughly enjoyed presenting a day-long workshop on identity design at the School of Visual Concepts, in Seattle, earlier this year. Hopefully I will have future opportunities to conduct similar workshops or classes.

Neenah Paper
Other than your own work, whose creative work do you admire most?

Jeff Fisher
I’ve always been a huge fan of the work of Milton Glaser. His 1974 book Graphic Design gave a name – and inspiration – to a teenage artist and aspiring designer when it was released. Over my 30+ years in the design professional I’ve had the privilege of becoming friends, or at least getting to know, many designers whose work – and work ethic – I admire. A few would be fellow Oregonian Von Glitschka of Glitschka Studios, Ann Willoughby of Willoughby Design Group, Justin Ahrens of Rule29, the gang at Modern Dog Design Company, and TMARKS Design’s Terry Marks. I also have a great deal of respect and admiration for the work of Michael Osbourne, Louise Fili and Duffy & Partners. OK, now I’ve pissed off friends and others not mentioned.

Neenah Paper
You stay very busy with your speaking engagements and work for the fine folks at HOW. How, then, do you find the time to service your clients? Since you work from home, do you collaborate with other talented friends and associates to get the job done? Who are some of your design collaborators in Portland?

Jeff Fisher
One of the great advantages of having been in the design profession for over three decades is the ability to do some “picking and choosing” of clients. I work with clients whose projects are of great interest to me – or may present an intriguing challenge. Those clients have always been able to work with me around my business and personal travel schedule, or particularly pressing publishing deadlines. As I often say, “It’s not that I don’t play well with others; I just want to choose where, when and with whom I play.”

For the past ten years, since my website first went live, most of my clientele has been from outside of Oregon. In recent years I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with some other creatives the Portland market as clients attempt to get more bang for their buck by putting together teams of talented professionals. I’m just completing the rebranding of RiverWest Acupuncture for friend Lisa Francolini. Jennie Vinson of Mission First Marketing, writer Greg Coyle and Periscope Creative’s Andrew Barden made up the rest of the team in the effort.

Neenah Paper
You mentioned your spouse Ed in your interview with Gordon Kaye at GDUSA as a tremendous source of love and support. How do you balance work-life with personal life? When do you get off the grid to spend time with Ed, tottering about your garden (you mentioned your love for it in the GDUSA interview) or merely take on some reading?

Jeff Fisher
From the beginning of my nearly 20-year relationship with Ed, having a great life has been an intention. We work to live rather than living to work. We make personal time a priority – whether it be travels to Italy, Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean or elsewhere; time spent in our 1920’s North Portland bungalow; sharing evenings or weekends with incredible friends; or totally getting off the grid for an annual gold mining trip to Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains where there is no cell phone or WiFi coverage.

When Ed comes home in the evening, from his job as Executive Director of a law firm, I try to set the work aside (unless there is an especially pressing deadline) and he does the same. We often spend evenings watching movies at home or working in our garden. In our “Ed is responsible for everything practical and Jeff makes things pretty” life he will tend his vegetable garden while I will “play in the dirt” of my flower gardens. Gardening is my passion and my best therapy. I also have my greatest design “brain farts” while gardening. Reading is a must for us both and we spend time reading each evening. Both Ed and I usually have several books in progress laying around the house.

  1. 03
    --
    12
    7:29pm
    PhillDoc said:

    Nice article you got here. It would be great to read a bit more about this theme. Thanks for posting that info.

  2. 03
    --
    29
    5:31pm
    sarahbelll said:

    I just like the approach you took with this topic. It’s not every day that you just discover something so to the point and informative.