The W.O.W. of Identity Crisis!

In writing the book Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands I asked a variety of design professionals to contribute their "Words of Wisdom" (W.O.W.) about the process of redesigning a business or organization identity. Many were very gracious in contributing personal advice based on their past experiences.

The individuals providing input for the book included:

• Sean Adams of AdamsMorioka, Inc.

• Bob Domenz from Avenue - Marketing & Communications

• Tony Spaeth of identityworks

• Debbie Millman - known for her Design Matters podcasts (and many other things)

• Jack Yan of Jack Yan & Associates

Robin Landa, author and branding & creative strategist

• Robynne Raye from Modern Dog Design Co.

• Mark E. Sackett of Reflectur

• ...and some guy named Jeff Fisher who writes about whatever seems to be on his mind at bLog-oMotives when he isn't running his own firm, Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.

All presented incredibly valuable advice to the design professional involved in identity re-design - and to the client having an "identity crisis." Unfortunately, you will need to wait until HOW Design Books releases Identity Crisis! in the fall of this year before you are able to take advantage of the great suggestions.

The inspiration for Identity Crisis!

In early 2006 I received an email from Amy Schell, my editor at HOW Design Books for The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success, asking if I had any ideas for a future design book. She suggested I propose any concepts I might have to acquisitions editor Megan Patrick. One of those ideas was for a "before and after" identity design book. Within a couple of days the fine-tuned proposal for Identity Crisis! was in place.

The actual inspiration for the book was the Graphic Makeovers column at Creative Latitude. Alina Hagen, one of the Creative Latitude management team coordinates that particular feature on the site. I owe her a big "thank you" for graciously telling me to run with the idea for the book. If you have "before and after" design examples to share with Creative Latitude readers, they should be submitted to Alina - through the Graphic Makeovers page - for consideration.

An introduction to the neighborhood bookstore

I do love bookstores - especially an inviting small, independent operation. Seldom can I walk by any bookstore without going in and getting lost in the selections available. If one is on the horizon, as we walk in just about any city in the world, my partner Ed will actually try to create a diversion to keep me from seeing the bookseller.

With my previous book, The Savvy Designer's Guide to Success, I had a lot of fun stopping by and volunteering to sign copies on the store's shelves. Even the large chain bookstores were very pleased to have me do so.

Last weekend, my friend Mike told me about our friend Chuck's relationship with an independent bookstore - and he suggested I might also want to establish such a cooperative venture. Those wanting copies of Chuck's books can order them through the bookstore and then he will go in to sign the books on a somewhat regular basis. With the number of books I signed with Savvy Designer, it might be wise to set up such a situation for Identity Crisis!.

For some time now, North Portland friends and clients have hinted that I needed to visit the fairly recent business community addition of St. Johns Booksellers. I think I was avoiding an introduction to the place due to concerns about my book-buying addiction. In the past, for a period of five years, I'd lived four blocks from Powell's City of Books and it was detrimental to my finances and book storage abilities. A new bookstore could be dangerous for me.

Earlier this week, I saw an ad in The St. Johns Sentinel announcing the second anniversary of St. Johns Booksellers. I couldn't believe a bookstore had been in my neighborhood for two years and I had not visited. This needed to remedied immediately.

The St. Johns Booksellers (located at 8622 North Lombard, Portland, OR 97203) is a great little store. It carries new and used books, and the variety ranges from local authors to children's books, to poetry and more. Chuck's latest book, Rant, was prominently displayed when I walked in the door. I introduced myself to the two women working in the place and learned they were the owners, Liz Dorman and Nena Rawdah. The two met years ago when both worked at Powell's and we seemed to immediately hit it off. I told them I was a previously published author who had a new book coming out in the fall. They said they would be very interested in hosting a signing, or some type of workshop event, to announce the release of my book to the Portland market - and they would serve cake! I mentioned that I'd be very interested in also coming in to sign ordered books on a regular basis - but the details will need to be ironed out in the future.

I appreciate the fact that the St. Johns Booksellers is affiliated with the BookSense organization. Whenever I'm in another city I always check BookSense for listing of stores I may wish to visit.

So, it looks like I'll have a book signing at St. Johns Booksellers in the fall. I'll post announcements of future signings, or speaking engagements, on the Identity Crisis! blog. I'll keep blog readers posted about the possibility of ordering personally signed volumes, too.

Until then, if you're in the neighborhood, I suggest you stop by the St. Johns Booksellers and say "hi!" to Liz and Nena.

Dynamic Graphics hosts Re:Design Competition

The focus of my upcoming book, Identity Crisis!, is the redesign of corporate identities for businesses and organizations from around the world. Designers interested in that specific topic, and doing such work on a daily basis, may want to consider entering the Dynamic Graphics Re:Design Competition.

The Dynamic Graphics competition gives participants the chance to have their best redesign work showcased in print. Because entries will be judged according to the quality of the redesign work plus how much improvement it demonstrates, you will need to submit both before and after materials. Entries must be postmarked no later than August 6, 2007. Winners will be notified by September 14, 2007. Winning entries will be published in the December/January 2008 Dynamic Graphics magazine. A maximum of 10 entries will be selected for inclusion. All submissions must have been printed or published for the first time between September 1, 2006, and August 31, 2007.

Additional details, entry fee information and entry forms are available on the magazine's website.

Good luck!

Identity Crisis! pre-orders available now

With my book Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands on its way to being printed for scheduled October 2007 release, by publisher HOW Design Books, the volume is available for shipping upon publication at several sources. has been accepting pre-orders for some time now through its U.S. website. The pre-release sales are also available through the company's sites in Canada, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom and France.

I also noticed that is accepting advanced orders.

My favorite hometown Portland bookstore, Powell's City of Books, is also currently taking pre-orders. Hopefully, I will be able to schedule a book signing at Powells once they have the book in stock.

Do keep an eye on the Identity Crisis! blog, and bLog-oMotives, for future book signings and speaking engagements related to the book.

Identity Crisis!: It's reality! (almost)

It's been just about a year since I started writing my new book, Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands. Yes, it was originally to be "100 redesigns that..." - but mid-project it was decided to reformat things a bit, limiting the book to 50 case studies that would be given even greater attention in the volume.

Writing a book is a frustrating, exhausting, exciting, and incredibly rewarding experience. "Herding" designers from around the world, in such a collaborative process, makes that process even more challenging and interesting.

For me, this project has meant many long nights, many weekends spent writing, too many emails to count, and working vacations - or even more work on business trips - to numerous locations over the past 12 months.

Two weeks ago the proof of the book layout arrived via UPS. It was a great feeling to open the package and see the labor of the past year in a real book format. My editor Amy Schell has done a great job in fine-tuning the text, helping to select the redesigns that are included, and keeping me on track when necessary. Book designer Grace Ring has turned that text, and over 500 graphic images, into a book that should be an excellent resource for any designer taking on a rebranding effort or the client considering a design makeover for their business, organization or product. The book will feature solutions to the identity crisis issues of Mom-and-Pop businesses to major corporations - exhibiting the creative efforts of one-person design shops to some of the most recognized larger firms in the industry.

Over the following week I checked, and double-checked, the book content. Through that process many of those who have contributed projects for the book learned that their work is in the final volume. I do appreciate both your contributions to the book and your patience through the process of writing, editing and designing the book. My pesky emails, questions about text content and requests for addition images have all been in the hope of creating a great book - and putting the work of the featured designers in the best light.

The is now off to press, with a target release date of sometime in October. In the near future I will make an official announcement of the designers, firms and projects that will be featured in the published book.

Thanks again to all who have contributed time, energy, words of wisdom, and case studies for Identity Crisis!. It's time for me to go into design book author "rehab" to recover from the process!

(Note: Thanks to UnBeige for the mention.)

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives