You can see it almost everywhere we look: today’s instant, always-on culture has lead the marketing and design efforts (mostly) to be a quickly-turned effort in an attempt to get a sliver of thumb-scrolling attention. Even though we are awash in pulsing, non-stop screen imagery, we have not lost our ability to discern quality. At least not yet.
And so the challenge (which some describe as a problem): how to visually represent a high-end weightlifting brand in the name of a Russian Olympic and World Champion Weightlifter in the worldwide market? How would the brand appeal and accurately communicate the company’s intentions, especially since we can’t rely on many specifics of culture norms, because the culture is different in different markets.
There’s a lot to consider here, and we uncovered many questions during the process, questions that we didn’t even know to ask at the start. We couldn’’t make the brand look like one specific country or area, and we chose to communicate with potential customers on the basis of what they shared in the sport. The team working on this was small, but experienced enough in the space that they knew the basics of the training, the sport and what to ask about it.
Let’s start with the visual identity – what people will see and (unconsciously) react to when they see it. Remember that our goal here iwasnot to successfully sell Chevrolets in China, as American automobiles, even if they were “designed for the market.” Our goal, instead, was to speak to the common values and experiences within weightlifting. So one question here was if weightlifters of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, languages and genders saw what we produced, would they (mostly) react in a similar fashion, and not respond to some company specifics.
To start what would become the logo, our designer tackled the issue of type – what font would work?
We looked at everything, modern fonts that were supposed to communicate strength, Russian propaganda posters, old text in many different languages, including announcements and literature about the Olympics. We sent versions and mockups back and forth – between the US, Russia, China, and Europe. Internally, the designer worked with design engineers to figure out what would – and most importantly – what wouldn’t be able to be molded, engraved, or printed.
The identity went past what little collection of pixels we were going to show on the top left corner of the website. We asked ourselves how the product could be made, and how that functionality would represent both quality and heritage.
This was not a $15 overnight logo.