The article takes a deeper look at the process around our recent branding for the fitness and recovery bootcamp.
This is nature’s gym
Based in the woodlands of England, Primal Roots is a pioneering fitness and wellbeing bootcamp rooted in a pursuit for external and internal strength, endurance and natural movement. Working closely with charities, they offer fitness services and training to help the recovery of people tackling homelessness, mental health conditions and those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to such services. The team approached Lantern to create a brand identity for the social enterprise, promoting their holistic approach to a broad audience including local authorities, healthcare commissioners and away-day organising HR managers – not to mention fitness fanatics.
Better outside, better inside
Come rain or shine, the key challenge for the brand was convincing people that exercising outside was an activity worth pursuing – thankfully, science was on our side; “Exercise anywhere is a good thing but exercise in natural environments has a greater benefit for physical and mental health. Woodlands and parks have the greatest effect” – Prof. Richard Mitchell, University of Glasgow.
To further address the challenge, we suggested changing the original brand name of Nature’s Gym to something far more emotive – capturing the primitive, raw attitude of the workouts. From a long list of over 100 names, Primal Roots was selected and the development of the visual and verbal identity began.
Stick it to the gym
The identity was developed to reflect a drive and animal instinct present in all of us, when interacting and connecting with the natural world. Two sticks positioned as deer antlers, create a mark synonymous with the wild, the lower branches hinting at two eyes, poised to move.
Photographic in form wherever possible, we also designed a vector version of the logo, to be used in single colour scenarios, such as when screen-printed on team t-shirts. This was complemented by a suite of icons and typographic statements, reflecting the core values of the brand.
A manifesto for movement
At the heart of the identity system sits a verbal style designed to capture the spirit of outdoor fitness. We began the process of defining this attitude with a manifesto for natural movement, challenging the conventions of a traditional gym by subverting the monotony of indoor fitness and the magic of woodland exercise.
The manifesto formed the springboard for all creative messaging, which has been paired with a rich, often textural photographic style, showcasing the beauty of the natural world. From fitness fanatics to healthcare commissioners and corporates to charities, a library of headlines exists to flex and focus on the wealth of benefits offered by the brand. Stories are told using the primitive, skewed characters of the typeface Aekid – a nod to the primal nature of cave paintings and parietal art created by our wild ancestors.
A collaborative process
From initial workshops with founders and bootcamp participants, as well as attending our own training session in the woodlands of Kent, the collaborative nature of the brand development ensured we captured the true spirit and attitude of the business. The results have been incredibly well received, with one bootcamp member tattooing the logo on their leg!