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 knew I had reached expert status when the other guys included me as a "Silent Tire Man"; we didn't talk back, we didn't complain, even when it was so cold the lug nuts stuck to our fingers, or so hot the dust clung to our sweaty skin and damp clothes and we turned ash gray by lunchtime. We did our jobs, ten hours a day, and we were proud of it.
One thing always bugged me though, and I never had the opportunity to do anything about it. Until now. Fred Groves Servicenter is an institution in Bloomington, in business since the sixties, in a building that my grandfather built as a dealership in the thirties. Despite being well known throughout the region with a standing as the go-to place for reliable, reasonable service, the business never had a 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 about six months ago I got a call from my dad asking if I would do just that. 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 discovery phase behind me I dove in and produced about fifteen initial sketches. The first one I did was the one though. 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's one faded and tattered, long dormant, but never crossed off---until now---to-do item that brings satisfaction beyond words. Thanks, Dad.