When joining the team, BarBend was becoming recognized as one of the main hubs for news, analysis, entertainment, and opinions on what's relevant in strength-based competition and training. As a relatively new company, BarBend's visual language relied heavily on just its logotype and color palette. The content was informative and top-notch, but the brand lacked a visual system that evoked BarBend's emotion and created brand consistency across different platforms. With a push to expand the scope of content and grow our audience further, this was problematic.
I collaborated with editors, our content manager, and founders to understand the attributes they associated with BarBend. Through this discovery phase, I learned that at its core, BarBend is about all things strength, mentally and physically. As a newcomer to the company, it was important to lean on their knowledge of the brand and build from there. Therefore, the main objectives for the brand refresh became to embrace the brand foundation and create a visual system around it which could scale with our new content goals, enforce brand consistency, and communicate BarBend's vibe.
Strength In Motion quickly became the front runner for the theme of the visual language. Fusing strength and motion was a concept related to not just all of the strength sports, but general fitness as well. Inspired by the bold shapes seen in gym equipment like the dumbbell, dynamic angles and shapes were incorporated into the visual language. When paired with motion lines, these elements represent the desire for athletes to move, improve, and be stronger. By using both Montserrat and Oswald as our brand fonts, it gives us the flexibility to use them interchangeably when necessary while still maintaining a strong look and feel.
With an increased video presence and push towards educational videos on nutrition and exercises, we needed a graphic system to help support the content. From lower thirds to bullet points and full screen graphics, the system reflects BarBend’s brand and is built to be easily replicable in order to keep up with the content schedule.
Once we established a more specific brand identity and how it could apply across the board, it was time to move away from our templated site to provide our audience with a unique BarBend experience. Along with editors, developers, and founders, I helped create certain aspects of our site that better highlights our expertise and positions BarBend to be more than just a news site.
In order to produce the content needed to grow our audience, we needed a place to do it. The team put together a gym in our office with new equipment and weights, but it needed to feel like OUR gym so we could further convey and advertise our identity to our audience on Youtube. In just a few days I collaborated with members of our editorial and video team and designed a graphic to go on the two walls in the gym. I learned that the most important thing was to ensure the design didn't become a distraction and take away from the content in the videos. With much discussion, we ultimately decided to go grayscale so people and graphics on screen could pop.