Last month the team at Ashcraft Design spent the day at IHRSA catching up on all of the latest trends and products in the fitness market and met up with clients to talk about where the industry is headed and how design can be used to facilitate that move. IHRSA is where the “global health and fitness club industry come together to share ideas, network with peers from over 70 countries, and experience a world-class exhibition of products and services from the leading manufacturers and providers in the business”.
There is a lot of opportunity within the fitness industry to use design as a unique competitive advantage to grow and increase sales. Not just specifically through industrial design but design as strategy and its all encompassing facets; branding, products, graphics, packaging,. Each of these elements must work together to form a cohesive and consistent message that resonates with the consumer.
The sea of elliptical machines, treadmills, etc. was endless and the need to stand out among competitors is great. There was an obvious gap in the use of design as a differentiator that seemed only filled only by a company called Technogym. It was evident that Technogym was the pioneer in using design to elevate their products through the use of innovation, colors, materials, details, as well as form.
Fitness machines are extremely dependent on their form reflecting it’s function and because of that there is little difference between different brands machines. The true differentiating factor lies in execution of the details, how the texture on a seat or handle engages me as a user, how clean and smooth the weld is between two bars of steel, or how the use of color is applied to different parts of the machine. The execution of these details and using design as a strategy to create a cohesive story will propel these companies to the top of their market.