A few years ago, our mechanic friend Mitch Helle approached FUEL with an idea. He wanted to open a shop dedicated to restoring classic motorcycles. He had the dream and the location, but not much else. FUEL jumped at the chance to build every corner of a startup brand from scratch.
Overall, we wanted to position UNRIVALED as the specialty shop that meticulously restores classic motorcycles to a superior quality. This meant returning the machines back to their owners in such pristine condition, it may often be better than the day it rolled out of the factory. To achieve this, the brand would be built upon an inspiring core purpose: To deliver clients the unrivaled classic motorcycle of their dreams.
The team explored a range of naming options, but in addition to checking the boxes on several desired criteria (short, memorable, available domain name, etc.), it was clear that “Unrivaled” captured the experience perfectly. By definition – having no rival or competitor; having no equal; incomparable; supreme – the name hit all the right notes for this motorcycle restoration business.
Whether you’re talking cars or motorcycles, boys are protective of their toys – they don’t trust them to just anyone. FUEL helped the client name the company in a way that would instill immediate confidence with customers while also setting the bar of expectations high for Mitch and his team.
Overall, FUEL wanted the brand to convey attention to detail and craftsmanship. This meant the badge would need to communicate a strong sense of precision and industrial boldness. The resulting mark tells customers it’s fair to assume a flawless fit and finish with the company’s restorations.
One way to extend the look and feel of a trademark is with complementary ornament. A number of icons were created by borrowing cues from 70’s era motorcycles. This included textures and patterns such as tire treads, headlamps, spokes, and other tools of the trade. These ornamental details work hand-in-hand with punchy lines of copy to quickly garner attention and appeal for the brand.
After moving through the Brand Identity process, Mitch had an opportunity to buy a classic gas station and restore it for use as his shop and storefront. FUEL developed this concept to demonstrate the potential in the shop’s environment.
From the start, 3-D renderings were made to help him envision how the brand elements could bring the space to life. Whether it be inspirational messaging and illustrations on the walls or influencing an old-style gas pump — selections were made to strike a balance between historical and modern.
The iconography translated perfectly into merchandise, helping to build out a collection of t-shirts and other gear.
Pride in appearance translates to pride in one’s work. A handsome work shirt design helped to establish immediate credibility between staff and customers.
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.