current writings on all things




As a young, female car owner, I find myself often lost in the mess of my machine’s inner mechanism and in the vastly growing market of car products. I don’t know much about how my car runs, why things go awry or why I need my air filter replaced after every oil change; what I do know is that it always costs me a lot to maintain my car. And when high-prices are the case, (and they are, more often than not) I like to know where my money is going.


Since the 70’s, GM Goodwrench has stood for honest, no-jargon mechanics sure to get your car back on the road in no time. The old Goodwrench logo was a classic mark; set in Futura, it was sturdy, heavy, and sharp. It communicated a certain weight reserved for bulky metal instruments and power tools (see: DeWalt, Stanley, Bosch), but as technologies advance—and cars fall under such a category—a new look is in order for this company.


Mimicking the ubiquitous power button, Goodwrench’s new icon looks to the future of cars, and anticipates its close relationship to computers. The mark’s glossy effect adds to this, but also emulates its predecessor, the GM block. The logotype’s new, and slightly modified, letterforms (particularly those with bowls, like the “G”, “o”, “d”, and “e”) have discarded Futura’s geometric limitations, and have transformed into something stronger, more advanced. Previously, the “e” had served as a relief from the monotonous letterforms, supplying a little bit of personality in the cold sans serif bunch; Now the slanted “e” has been carried over for traditional reasons, as it is identifiable for the brand (its the little things that count!).


The new Goodwrench brand doesn’t stop with their identity, as is evident in a series of new television commercials that feature a “Web 2.0” reference. Mirroring the look and feel of most Apple products, everything appears on a muted color background with a mirror-like effect beneath it and takes note of new icons for “Tires”, “Oil”, and “Repairs.” It’s like watching a website in motion: clean, user-friendly, and information-rich.


The computer-related brand evolution is an interesting and smart move for GM. Not many other auto care providers have taken this forward approach (i.e. Midas, Firestone, Meineke, etc.). Goodwrench is presenting the internal combustion engine as more than an archaic device—one that hasn’t changed since 1905—and is giving us a glimpse of the future of the auto industry. Finally, it just makes sense if you’re going to sell luxury cars as fine-tuned machinery, that you would have mechanics to match the description.


By the time cars become more like computers, I’ll know even less about mine. Even so, I know I can rely on Goodwrench to fix it—especially with an identity like this one.


By: Ashley Allen, designer