“It got me a little outside of my comfort zone because I could take a risk,” says FUEL designer Pat Prior of the firm’s unusual design project.
“For me, it was pure self-indulgence,” adds designer Bill Bollman with a grin. “It calms the voices.”
The five FUEL designers who normally blend their talents and perspectives to create exceptional design for the company’s clients got an opportunity to express their distinctiveness recently when FUEL owner John Moes challenged them each to create one in a series of posters.
“Everything here is always touched by everyone,” Moes says. “That doesn’t show the incredible personal talent of our designers. I wanted to bring out their individuality and challenge them to stay fresh and engaged.”
Moes tasked them with using a demanding medium — serigraphy — which precluded the use of manipulative tools such as Photoshop. The theme tying the posters together was five modes of transportation — car, boat, train, airplane and motorcycle — that use fuel. Each designer picked one of the modes of transportation out of a hat.“
The posters didn’t have to be a literal expression of that mode,” Moes explains, “but had to have something to do with it.”
Working on the project over a period of months as time allowed, the designers met periodically to critique each other’s concepts, but creative decisions remained with each designer.
Melissa Gavin, whose poster features the Kelvin wake pattern produced by a boat, describes the project as “a unique opportunity to design for ourselves, to show our personality more on an individual basis. Taking a break to work on it for an hour here or there was refreshing.”
“It was a contrast to the regular work we do every day,” adds Matt Kempel. “It was a great experience to design in a medium we haven’t normally been able to use and to use it for self-expression.”
Fifty hand-printed, signed and numbered copies were made of each poster. The posters are available for sale on the Etsy’s “vintage and handmade” website and will also soon be available through the FUEL website too. A copy of each will be displayed in the FUEL studio.Moes says he plans to continue challenging the FUEL staff with individual design projects. “It’s a chance for them to step out and be a soloist,” he explains. “Because all our designers are such talented soloists, we’re a great choir.”
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.