We worked closely with the owners of the startup VO2MAX, a high-performance training gym, to develop a unique, powerful and meaningful new brand.
Insights Into the Brand
Because of the saturation of the health & fitness space, finding a unique and memorable solution to their logo design was a real challenge. The goal was to stay away from creating something expected and exceed the obvious and easy. A symbol tells a story, represents the highest ideals of the brand, and stands out like a sore thumb against the competition was very important.
Performing the research nine10 completes on every branding project,the answer was found in the VO2MAX name itself. VO2MAX is a measure of the volume of oxygen that your body can process. Known as oxygen uptake, it is a measure of stamina and physical endurance, often found in high levels in professional athletes.
Discovering the Husky
It was discovered that:
- The average person has a VO2 rating of about 40 ml/kg/min
- A professional athlete has a VO2 rating of about 80-90 ml/kg/min
- A thoroughbred racehorse has a VO2 rating of 180 ml/kg/min
Siberian Huskies who run the 1,000km+ Iditarod race have a measured VO2 rating of over 280 ml/kg/min (!)—almost double that of any animal that has been tested to date. This was the key to the brand.
Measured VO2MAX in ml/kg/min
Digging deeper, other interesting facts were discovered about Huskies:
- Huskies are one of the few animals that compete in professional sports as athletes
- Huskies are one of the only animals that compete in a team with other animals in a professional sport
- Huskies are highly regarded for their intelligence, physical beauty and unwavering dedication
- There aren’t really any negative associations with a husky
In the Husky there was not only a very unique symbol, but symbol that met the highest ideals of the brand. The husky serves as a constant reminder to strive to be the best, to work as a team, to be dedicated and persistent.
Choosing the Color Scheme
The magenta colour was chosen for the brand because of its high energy and uniqueness; the brand needed to have a high energy colour scheme that wasn’t red, green, blue, yellow or orange – all colours that are overused in this space. While magenta may have implied a female target audience, balance was achieved with blacks, grays, and a very masculine looking design. This changed it from being targeted at a particular gender to something memorable and strong that can inspire pride in both staff and employees. In fact, Brett, one of the founders, was originally very skeptical about magenta… but after some time, it grew on him and his team, and they’ve come to recognize it as one of the best parts of the brand.
Designing the Typeface
nien10 had a very specific vision for the typeface. It needed to be bold and strong, like the athletes that VO2MAX employs and trains. It could not be anything wishy-washy or that would disappear at a distance. As a result, the font for the VO and MAX was drawn by hand, getting the exact look required. The subscript 2 was derived from Helvetica and modified to fit. In the end, a unique look was created that won’t be found in any font library.
VO2MAX has been hugely successful, expanding into other towns and replicating their unique business model. In 2010, VO2MAX won the Best New Business award from the Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce.