Design Process: SlimGym Transformation

June 8, 2020
Minute Read

Finding SlimGym

Back in 2016, trainer and super-mom Vera Stepina opened up SlimGymTransformation in Escondido, CA. With the help of her staff, her clients are educated on living a healthier lifestyle through nutrition, fitness, a supportive community, and personalized coaching. She is proud to say they have a 90% success rate in their programs (City of Escondido). How many people can really say that? #boss

I came upon SlimGym, on a random Google search in June 2019. I had gained a ton of weight after giving birth to my daughter 2 years before. Long story short, none of my clothes fit and I hated how I looked, so I was on a mission to lose weight. On my 32rd birthday, I promised myself that I would dedicate the next year to focusing on ME. 

So I Googled “local bootcamp gyms,” and several gyms, including SlimGym, came up.  

After looking through several websites, the reason SlimGym stood out to me the most was that: 

  1. They had an inclusive clientele. 
  2. They were mostly women and mothers.
  3. The owner and trainer had gone through her own weight loss journey.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was totally out of shape, I always failed at diets, and I hated exercising. The only type of athletic experience I had was hot yoga and high school marching band.

Fast forward 11 months, and so far, I’ve lost 34 pounds and have ran two 10K races with the help of Vera and the SlimGym family. 

During that time, I had the privilege to learn more about what Vera does, who she is as a female entrepreneur and mother, how she helps her clients, and why she does it. One day she asked me to design a new website for the gym, which eventually turned into developing a new logo.


Vera was ready to level-up SlimGym, and I was totally prepared to help her out.

Elevating the SlimGym Brand

So, before we could work on the website, we had to establish a new visual brand and logo because those elements were going to drive the look and feel of the new site. 

The Mood Board

You know why I love mood boards so much? Because it’s a quick snapshot of everything! It inspires creative thinking, concepts, trends, and reveals what’s working and what isn’t. It’s just so helpful!

SlimGym's initial mood board and market research

While the original brand and logo did its job when the gym initially opened, we saw three issues based on the business’s latest goals and vision. 

  1. It lacked scalability. Vera found it challenging to apply the brand and logo to different marketing materials. There wasn’t much she could do with it, and the logo had only one orientation. 
  2. It didn’t express the characteristics that made SlimGym so unique from the rest of its competitors. 
  3. The logo was not created to attract her ideal clients, which consisted of women and mothers between the ages of 30 to 40 years old. 

I needed to make sure I addressed and resolved these three main issues when it came to rebranding and redesigning her new logo.

Visual Research

The visual mood board

Visual Mood board

Vera is a huge reason why SlimGym is so unique. I wanted to put a little bit of her eccentric personality into the brand. She is known for her different hair colors, bold one-liners, no BS attitude, and bright workout clothes and manicure. So I wanted to take the yellow from the original logo and expand upon it. 

The feeling of the original brand was dark, so I was going to flip that and go towards something light, open, personable, energetic, and vibrant with a sense of motion. 

I researched the market and her competitors, and I saw many generic, masculine, hardcore gyms out there that lacked a personable experience. They were totally missing out on a specific demographic: women! Therefore, we were going to take advantage of that and fill in this giant gap with HOT, ELECTRIC, FEMININE colors! This approach was going to make SlimGym stand out!

The Concepts:

Concept 1: Human, Tactile, and Feminine 

Concept 1

Vera wanted to play with a hand-rendered font because it really resonated with her. I liked where she was going with this because it gave a human and tactile characteristic to the brand. It reinforced the human and personable experiences of SlimGym. The logo may be feminine, but like its clients, it was bold, resilient, and powerful.

Concept 2: Getting out of your comfort zone and growing as an individual

Concept 2

The coaches at SlimGym encourages everyone to get out of their comfort zone. As a result, they grow for the better as individuals. The “S’ icon is transforming and shifting. It’s growing and breaking out this white space. A similar process that members of the gym go through.

Whether it’s a personal meal plan or training for a Spartan race for the first time, the coaches are always setting the next goal for you. Not because they can, but because they believe YOU CAN DO IT, even when you don’t think it’s humanly possible. It’s pretty amazing what a person is capable of when ONE person believes in you.

The Final Design

When I presented my initial concepts, Vera really liked both ideas. She asked me what it would look like if we combined the font from Concept 1, and put it together with the icon from Concept 2. And you know what?? That idea effin worked!

To make the two concepts cohesive, I found a way to grunge up the icon. I loved how the two elements told the story of SlimGym:

SlimGym is a human and tactile experience that pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps you grow as an individual.

It didn’t stop there! When I added the electric colors to the design, it took it to the next level. Why did I choose a gradient for the primary logo? Because it depicted a process, a transformation, and to be honest, it reminded me of Vera’s hair.

We were delighted with the new brand and logo because it achieved the three objectives we established at the beginning of this process. 

  1. The brand and logo were scalable. We had a great story to tell, a strong theme and concept, a unique color palette, and a set style guide.
  2. We had established brand characteristics that were true and authentic to SlimGym goals and vision. 
  3. The brand and design catered to their target audience.

We are currently working on their new Home Page, and it’s going to be effin amazing! 

SlimgGym's Final Style Guide

The Take-Aways

So what can you take from SlimGym’s Design Process? Ask yourself….

Is your visual brand helping you achieve your goals or holding you back?

As a business owner, your tools should be working with you, not against you. You have 100 other things you need to get off your To-Do List, marketing yourself shouldn’t be a hassle.

Are your brand visuals a true representation of your business?

Just like people, your brand grows and evolves over time. And while you may start at one point, because of what you’ve learned and discovered, things change, and that’s totally normal. Take the time to re-evaluate yourself and your business. Has your vision and goals changed over time? Did your business model change? Did you pivot at some point and need to update your visual brand?

Are your brand visuals catered to your target audience?

I ask this a lot to my clients. Are you designing or choosing your visuals because you personally like it? Or because it will resonate with your audience? The answer should be your audience.

Listen, there’s nothing wrong with choosing things based on personal preference, I do it all the time. You are part of your brand and the reason why it is so UNIQUE. So you should incorporate yourself in there some way, somehow. BUT you should always keep your people in mind FIRST. What will pull them in and make them stop and say, “Hey, I can relate to that. They get me, and they know what’s up. They are definitely speaking my language, and I need them!”

If you need extra help to evaluate your brand visuals, check out my FREE workbook, “Does it Match?: Aligning your messaging with your brand visuals”. I’ll walk you through three sections of your brand to help you evaluate whether everything, from your core messaging to your brand visuals, are all cohesive.

What do you have to lose? You may discover something new!