Burn 60, a high-intensity interval training studio, opened its first location in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles way back in 2005. Since then, Burn 60 has helped West Angelenos and the Hollywood elite (Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts, and Chris McDonnell to name a few) achieve unparalleled results. For a long time, Burn 60 was the only boutique fitness studio in town. Marketing was not a priority, and the business grew to three locations on its reputation alone.
When I joined the team in 2016 as Director of Marketing, the boutique fitness landscape had drastically changed. Industry giants such as SoulCycle, Orangetheory, and Barry’s Bootcamp had risen to power. Having the best workout in town was no longer the game--it was all about brand, story, and community. My first assignment on the job was to develop a value-driven brand and shepherd Burn 60 into the modern age.
My initial impression of the brand was “meh.” There were some bright spots, but as a whole, it needed a major face-lift. I was given free rein by my CEO to change everything EXCEPT the wordmark.
In my opinion, to really get to know a business, you must “drink the proverbial Kool-aid.” Boy, did I drink it. I spent some time behind the front desk, met one-on-one with every trainer, and worked out 3-5 days a week at the studios. During this time, I began to understand the spirit of Burn and the empowering community it had created. Oh, and I lost a few lbs in the process!
After acclimating myself to the brand, my goal was to get to know its community. I desired a deeper understanding of their wants, latent needs, and opinions. To do this, I set up a series of interviews with stakeholders, super users, and casual clients. I then took my insights and organized them into an affinity diagram.
The last step in my research process was to investigate our competition. I was new to the boutique fitness world at the time, and I learned so much by visiting our competitors. For each brand, I broke down its value statement, brand promise, and visual aesthetic.
Back at the office, it was time to move from the divergent thinking stage to the convergent thinking stage. I called a managers meeting and ran the team through a before + after branding exercise. Our goal was to pinpoint the true value Burn 60 provides to its clients.
A brand’s position has to be real. It must reflect the actions and behaviors of its customers and stakeholders. What made me catch the Burn 60 bug? The feeling of accomplishment that hit my soul at the end of each workout. I felt empowered, connected, and ready to carpe freakin diem. I quickly realized that my life was changing--I was more productive, goal-oriented and I had this amazing team supporting me every step of the way. Burn 60 may be a fitness studio, but when you pull back the curtain, you find a team. A team of clients and trainers, inspiring you to achieve greatness in every aspect of your life. That’s when I realized that the heart of Burn 60 is a goal-oriented team.
TEAM BURN. It’s printed on the back of each staffer's t-shirt. To support our new brand narrative, I developed three core values: team, motivation, generosity.
I wrote a simple statement that encompasses the values and beliefs of the Burn 60 brand. The promise is displayed in every studio and is an integral part of the on-boarding process.
I developed a persona and an array of guidelines to make sure that all company communication is aligned.
There were many inconsistencies in the use of the Burn 60 wordmark. Previous designers had created a thicker version of the logo using Helvetica (not Helvetica Extended!) for signage, print, and apparel. When I came on board, there were at least three different iterations of the logo being used. To remedy this issue, I increased the weight of the original design so that we could retain a cohesive image across all touch-points.
The original color palette included three shades of grey and black. This didn’t make much sense to me considering the tagline “Train hard. Train happy.” To create a more modern and powerful aesthetic, I added gradients and navy blue into the system.
I wanted the brand to appear athletic and modern, and in my opinion, Helvetica Extended wasn’t cutting it. I replaced it with Helvetica Condensed and added a script font, Have Heart 1, for variety.
No custom iconography existed, which made it difficult to communicate in digital and print assets visually. I developed a family of icons in the "flat-style" to represent our workout and offerings.
I wanted to develop a photographic style that was an authentic reflection of our product. The previous imagery was staged, bright, and everyone was awkwardly smiling. The real Burn 60 experience is dark, powerful, and filled with raw emotion. I worked with photographer Ian Maddox to create a visual aesthetic built on the theme of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Big, bold, clean and modern. I created a typographic-heavy system that uses elements to imply motion as an homage to our dynamic and athletic product.
The preexisting apparel offerings were somewhat disconnected from the brand. The designs now have a distinctive through-line that connects with the established graphic system. It’s always fun walking around Brentwood and seeing clients rock my designs--there really is no better feeling.
The preexisting website was clearly in need of a visual redesign. After investigating the information architecture and speaking with current clients, I found that it was difficult for new users to discover what our workout and experience entailed.
I began my redesign process by mapping out prospective client questions, and existing user needs to synthesize the requirements. The site’s current navigation provides multiple paths to the class schedule and sign-up page for new users. This exercise also served as the launch point for the site's content development.
My original plan was to develop a custom site. I wanted to design an experiential product that utilized micro-interactions to support the brand narrative. But after taking a step back, I realized this would ultimately cause more problems.
The marketing team needed easy access to optimize landing pages and update content on a regular basis. To make this process as seamless as possible, I built the site on Squarespace. This reduced the site's functionally but increased the team's efficiency--a worthy trade-off in my opinion.
The Burn 60 studios were architecturally gorgeous but lacked a brand narrative. I designed signage and artwork to immerse clients in our storyline.
The first thing you see at every studio is a neon sign that reads: “Burn with us.” This invitational phrase introduces the concept of TEAM BURN and implies that we are here to support and motivate you to achieve your goals.
The inspiration for the door vinyl came from my own weight loss journey at Burn 60. The Z-shaped composition (starting in the top left corner) implies that the road to results is never a straight line. You begin with a commitment to change, and along the way, you experience a whirlwind of emotions: struggle, success, frustration, and gratification. At times you will want to quit, but the power of TEAM BURN will push you through the finish line.