So why “Rust Belt Co.?” At the turn of the 19th century, major changes were taking place in America’s Midwest.
Canals and railroads were being built for the express purpose of tapping the region’s vast natural resources. Quiet settlements that had taken root along the Great Lakes—in such colorfully named locales as “The Black Swamp”—became manufacturing boom towns.
Coal from Appalachia stoked the furnaces of steel mills across the Midwest. Deep in their dark smoke filled bellies, iron ore was melted into glowing ribbons of hot steel. Steel that was hammered, shaped, and welded into the durable goods that built a nation.
The work was punishing, but it was better than the lives the immigrants to the area left behind. Evidence of their toil etched their faces, callused their hands, and bent their bodies. Whether pouring sweat on a sticky August afternoon, or freezing in the numbing cold of a January night, they punched the clock to scrape out a better living for themselves and their families.\r\n\r\nAlmost as quickly as this golden era of manufacturing blossomed, it faded. Plants closed, cities were abandoned, and the economy collapsed. Vacant steel mills and factories dotted an already grim landscape like tombstones; giving the region its characteristic name, “The Rust Belt”. Hard times meant many people moved on, but others dug in.
The Midwest was down, but not out.
Today, a new generation is honoring their ancestors grit, by committing themselves to making the Midwest great again. In the shadows of the old steel mills a myriad of small businesses are breathing new life into our great cities. It’s not easy, or without risk, but the men and women starting up small businesses today are doing the hard work that is necessary to make things that matter. In doing so, they are showing the rest of the country that we are still here and still capable of making great things.
I named my little one-man graphic design shop “The Rust Belt”, because the story of where I am from inspires me to work as hard as I can for my clients. I want to create things that matter, and last, just like the hard working people before me did, and that is why I consider each piece I create a small contribution to the Midwest’s continued rebirth and return to greatness.