Under Armour App Icon Redesign
In the fall of 2015 the design team at Under Armour’s Connected Fitness division set about redesigning the app icons for our UA digital products: UA Record, MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, and Endomondo. The goal: Create an icon and naming system that reflects our products and experience strategy, and a solution that unifies existing apps and brands, and can scale to meet new product launches.
The World’s Largest Connected Fitness Community
This was not limited to a visual design task. The problem highlighted that four companies—Under Armour, MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, and Endomondo—had very recently come together via Under Armour’s acquisition strategy to build the world’s largest connected fitness community. Immediately after the acquisitions, the existing app launcher icons for MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, and Endomondo were kept intact, and appended with a silver “capper” with a small black Under Armour logo (what we call the “heartbeat”). This worked as a quick fix, but didn’t accurately represent the brand hierarchy or product and experience strategy for the apps.
App Launcher Icons
App launcher icons are often the face of the brand. They are the brand element with which most of us physically interact: we have to find it and then tap it on our phones. The launcher icons become highly recognizable—truly iconic—and they must exist on a screen with other icons and remain memorable. For many companies, the app is the brand; their existence is purely digital. This is not the case for Under Armour.
While the brand is fairly new to the digital space, as a performance apparel brand, Under Armour is as hot and bold and powerful as they come. While we’ve been rising in dominance in locker rooms, on courts and on the playing field (not to mention the public psyche with championship performances by Stephen Curry, Misty Copeland, Tom Brady, Jordan Spieth, and Lindsey Vonn), that big bold brand can now be accessed on your phone.
MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, and Endomondo also each have their own brand presences that are strong with their large and loyal audiences. As a design team, we needed to consider the existing brands and ease them and their audiences forward into this brave new arena of connected fitness and Under Armour.
In addition to app icons, we needed to align product names. The existing wordmarks were varying typefaces, colors, and contained graphic elements with disparate styling. After various explorations, we proposed alignment by normalizing the typefaces, color palettes, and applying a UA logo attribute, which followed an existing system established by the brand.
The Under Armour Brand team in Baltimore had recently released a proprietary typeface, Armour, and as part of our alignment we applied Armour to the existing wordmarks for MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, and Endomondo. In addition, to highlight that these products were Under Armour products, the Under Armour logo was incorporated into the wordmark, and the property names altered to UA MyFitnessPal, UA MapMyFitness, and UA Endomondo.
App Launcher Icon Design
With naming and wordmark alignment achieved, our team then set about looking at the app launcher icons themselves. We looked at other brands that have had similar a problem to solve: aligning multiple products, multiple brands and sub brands, and acquisitions. Intuit, Adobe, Apple, Evernote, Microsoft, Google, and others all proved fertile ground to highlight the challenge we faced. Of course, Under Armour had its own unique situation, but this competitive review and design research provided formative insights into how we could build a system that would scale.
We also did a trend scrape review. What was the zeitgeist in app launcher icon design? What would work for Under Armour? Flat, simple, and colorful were some of the dominant trends that we identified and considered as we explored.
As we set about deconstructing the existing launcher icons, it become clear that we needed to retain the identifiable brand elements for familiarity: the MapMyFitness icons, the MyFitnessPal “dancer,” and the Endomondo “e.” Then we needed to consider the visual hierarchy of the brand logos and the Under Armour logo. We landed on a system that set the heartbeat in a consistent position above the brand icon or descriptor. This system can scale as we add new apps or experiences, and provides consistency and coherency for our customers as they navigate our app ecosystem.
Then we took on the visual styling. We maintained the integrity of existing logo shapes, we looked at texture, light, color, and depth, and then explored, designed, reviewed, and iterated.
Finally, after discussing with stakeholders across the organization, we established a proposal that gave the four brands the best hierarchy, consistency, and simplicity. One of our first applications of the new system was on our app splash screens. There, we were able to highlight the product names, brand hierarchy, and legacy through color and shape.
The new system debuted in January 2016 as part of the UA HealthBox launch and represents one of the many steps we’ve taken to unify our apps and experiences. The app icons are now inextricably linked with Under Armour’s product strategy, philosophy, and brand mission, declaring to all users: “everything here will make you better.”