Winner of the 2016 GOOD DESIGN™ Award
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Market Shift Defined and Satisfied
DDSTUDIO’s relationship with Hoist Fitness spans 15 years, during which we have worked closely with the CEO and his team on designing distinctive experiences. Hoist delivers training systems known for innovative excellence and aesthetic appeal. Each new system must meet their high demands.
We have embedded our expertise at a platform and individual product level, striving for continuity across the Hoist brand.
For the recent project, the Mi6 Home Gym, we helped Hoist re-enter the home gym space as a market leader by offering not just unique products and services, but the right ones for today’s dedicated fitness training.
Our initial activity was to look at fundamental consumer patterns for purchasing and using home gyms. Through field research at retail locations with competitive equipment, we saw that couples 35 -55 were viewing gyms at retail stores after conducting online searches. We found that women typically made the buying decision. Often one of the partners had experienced a health scare and knew they needed a lifestyle change, but didn’t want to join a gym.
Studies further showed a movement away from competitive workout towards general personal fitness. We noted the change from “strength,” or body-building, to “toning,” or general healthy activities. The equipment was moving out of the garage and up to the spare room, or even the bedroom.
There is a vast array of competing activities and products for this group of consumers: health clubs, other work-out equipment and systems, as well as outdoor activities and sports. The new fitness consumer also wants to be connected and track their progress digitally. To bring this piece of equipment into the home, it would have to be appealing to women, fit compactly and attractively into the home and home office environment, be ultra-simple to understand and be connected so consumers would be able to view and track personal activity. The system needed to not only be visually appealing to women but easy to adjust for size and strength with no bulky weights or tricky adjustments necessary between users.
The Design Thinking Process
Our initial workshop brought together Hoist Fitness management, marketing and engineering teams in an alignment exercise. We brought the research summary from our sensemaking space and engaged participants in a positioning exercise. We exposed them to evolving consumer patterns and helped a group of industry stalwarts become more empathetic to a new consumer profile.
Visual Brand Language Exercise
After the first Visual Branding exercise, we gathered the desired changes to the existing approaches that would result in clean lines and simplicity of use (remove all visible fasteners, pulleys, cables, hinges, moving weights). The weight system also needed to be quiet and smooth, no clanking or jarring. We then engaged Hoist’s in-house product developers in brainstorm/sketchstorm sessions to generate creative approaches to groups of problems. This helped us generate significant new directions, while becoming a closer knit team.
Parallel design activities included generating a new Visual Brand Language (VBL) with a feminine bias in form and color with smooth edges, and a softer, upbeat feel. The VBL permeated all aspects of the final product, referenced at every stage through engineering detailing.
It is important for DDSTUDIO to embed a deeper level of design expertise with the aim of making a more balanced and desirable image to support the experience. We ensure that proportion and focus are dialed-in and the color palette is refined. Each prime moment sings in harmony—the ease of changing positions, comfort of grabbing the hand-grip, the complete rotation of the upright member, the convenient location of the tablet, and watching the weights move up and disappear.
The relationship developed with the engineering team boosted confidence in the outcome. We resolved and patented novel approaches and inventions.
The Product Experience
The Mi6 is a simple and effective gym system that replaces a visually and functionally complex multi-gym. The users instantly feel the benefits of Mi6 as they hang up their towels put their tablets in place, set the resistance, position the hand-grips, and go.