News / Graphic Design

Pentagram gives human performance company Barwis a suitably strong new identity



Pentagram partner Michael Bierut and his New York based team – which includes project manager Tess McCann and designers Aron Fay and Daisy Lee – have given American holistic human performance company, Barwis, a new visual identity.

Founded by Mike Barwis, the strength coach at the New York Mets, and presenter of the Discovery Channel’s American Muscle, the company is set to expand into new initiatives, including gyms and fitness products, and accordingly has sought out Pentagram’s expertise.

Fittingly for a project based on strength and performance, Michael and his colleagues have honed in on a dumbbell-embedded “B” monogram as a central component of the identity. “I think we were interested in the idea that the dumbbell is a very fundamental object in any gym,” Michael tells us, adding, “We were also interested in making the B and the related letterforms and icons all feel like an engineered system, very much the way that the Barwis training regimen is interconnected.”

Michael and the team were keen to incorporate the mind-body connection that’s at the heart of Barwis as a brand. “I’ve never put myself through the kind of rigours that they’ve perfected at Barwis,” Michael tells It’s Nice That, “but I try to run three miles every morning, no matter the weather, and I can testify that it really helps to get my mind set for the day. So in some modest way I experience that mind-body connection that they champion.”

That aforementioned monogram is accompanied by a word mark which has been set in Fort Middleweight, a custom version of Jeremy Mickel’s grotesk Fort that Barwis use as a brand typeface. Oh, and they also redrew Mike Barwis’s personal mascot – a dragon.

Michael says that while the curvature which is evident across the newly produced visual assets may remind some viewers of Lance Wyman’s work on the 1968 Olympic Summer Olympics in Mexico, “our design team weren’t going for anything retro, but I suspect that Aron, Daisy and I were inspired by the same things — the markings on sports fields and athletic uniforms, among other things,” that may have inspired Lance.