My father owns and runs a car service center and car rental agency in a four-story building in downtown Bloomington, Illinois. When I was nine years old I started working there, pumping gas out front. Several years later I started working in the tire bays on the lower level. I finally reached expert status when I was included in the guild of the "Silent Tire Man". We were stoic, resolute and diligent, even when frozen lug nuts stuck to our fingers, or steamy hot dust clung to our sweaty skin and damp clothes and we were a crusty ash gray by lunchtime. We did our jobs, ten hours a day, damn well, and proud of it.
Fred Groves Servicenter is an established institution in Bloomington, has been since the sixties, in an art-deco building that my grandfather built as a dealership in the thirties. Despite being well known, respected and in-demand throughout the region, the business has never had a real corporate identity.
I've been a designer since before I knew what a designer was, and I've always wanted to do the Servicenter identity. Always. And recently I got a call from my dad asking if I would design that long-missing identity. He was doing more online placements and increasing ad frequency around town, he thought it was time to get a strong, consistent visual presence together.
With decades of embedded "discovery" behind me I dove in and produced about fifteen initial sketches. The first one I did was the one. It had been waiting there all those years to be asked out. I really felt like I just sat there and watched my hands do the work. When I presented all of the sketches, sketch one was the clear winner. Colleagues, friends, clients and employees all felt it was just the right thing.
At last, that faded, never-forgotten to-do can be checked off. Thanks, Dad.