Designing an Environment to Support a Mission

FUEL Co-founder and General Manager John Moes on FUEL’s “Cool”:

Earlier this summer, FUEL was honored by the Corridor Business Journal as one of the Coolest Places to Work in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area.

Businesses of all sizes were represented and from all types of industries. At the awards dinner, all of the companies on the list were asked to share a short video about what made them cool.

Many spoke to special perks or casual Fridays or freebies.

What stood out to us, after watching what the others had to say, was that very few — if any — talked about the job.

Bill and I started this place 15 years ago. We wanted to build a studio in which everything was set up to help people and companies solve problems.

When our interior design friends at kôr helped us build an environment that fosters creativity, we wanted the message to be clear: we’re all here working together to solve the problem at hand. Our sleek industrial feel — cool grays highlighted by vibrant colors — provides both mood and energy.

Drop by the office and you’ll see how the lack of walls creates more interaction between teammates and clients — an ingredient that’s vital to our collaborative design process.

So beyond our actual space, why do our FUEL’ers think this is a cool place to work?

Pat says the team’s small size urges you to wear a lot of different hats and forge your own path in helping clients — both large and small — find success.

John Allen says it’s our emphasis on actual design. Not just churning things out according to a template, so that helps younger designers grow.

Janet will tell you about our culture — even though its tough to quantify. But she’ll list hard work, thinking and humility as key to our recipe.

While we put plenty of thought into the space we work in, we never lose sight that our office works in service of the people working inside of it. It’s for the good of their ideas, the things they make, and the others impacted by smart design.

It’s a testament to our approach as a design firm.

But most importantly, it’s a testament to our team.

I guess that’s what makes us cool.

— John

Bill Bollman
Creative Director

Bill Bollman is FUEL’s Creative Director. Before co-founding FUEL in 2001, he worked for Horizon Communications, JW Morton and Basler Design Group. Bill studied Illustration at Hawkeye Tech in Waterloo, Iowa. An expert in the “old ways” of hands-on print production, these skills influence his work in the digital world to this day. His work throughout his career has been featured in international publications including Graphis, How International Design, Communication Arts, and The One Book as well as numerous design annuals and reference books.

Hometown: West Union, Iowa
Involved in Design and Marketing since 1988
Interests: Fitness, Travel, Movies