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© 2017 Christine McKay


Spitfire Gym

Rebrand Design

In June 2013, Gürkan Baydogan opened the doors of Spitfire Academy, a gym that specialises in Martial Arts. Spitfire’s dedicated coaches and coordinators possess years of experience in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Muay Thai, Boxing, K1 and Mixed Martial Arts codes. In addition, they welcome everybody and ensure all classes are fun and inclusive.

The Challenge

With an expanding slate of clients and a high-profile Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Team, GF Team establishing Spitfire as their Headquarters, Spitfire saw an opportunity to implement a cohesive operation that could grow along with the brand.

Spitfire had an industry-wide challenge: a sea of competition from gyms who provide similar opportunities and they also needed to create something broad enough for a German brand but still unique and identifiable. Spitfire knew they needed to overcome these challenges to remain the leading example and drive growth within the industry.

The challenge was clear; how to grow their brand’s relevance among their loyal fans while building a connection with new audiences? How could Spitfire force a reconsideration and build equity for the brand while staying true to their heritage and driving growth through their strongest assets?

The Solution

It is important that brands drive their attention or ‘obsess’ over their customers. It was time to push the envelope further: I became a customer. I practised and trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, talked to dozens of their guests and athletes, and scoured the social media landscape. One thing became abundantly clear; their most important attribute they are passionate about was their family ‘to belong’ atmosphere. To amplify that passion, we found innovative ways to bring the family emphasis closer to old and new clients as well as within the community.

Previous Logo

Proposed Logo Ideas

Custom Typeface Option

The client drew my attention towards their future prospects of production in-house clothing and equipment, and to keep this suggestion as a key component to the overall design. 

I put my focus on a custom typeface. To keep true to its origins, I decided to revisit the old logo’s typeface and subtract key elements that made it distinctive to Spitfire’s brand.

The Results

Logo Design

The client was drawn to this logo with an ultra modern custom typeface and colour palette influenced by martial arts professionals. The end result is a logo that stands out amongst the competition and also works well on sports equipment and apparel.

Logo Variations

Custom Spitfire Typeface

Building a brand hub

The brand guide gives partners and associated affiliates a central hub for the style guidelines, examples and assets. It’s comprehensive but concise. The focus is on showing examples rather than running down the rules. Users can get a quick-view at a glance or drill deeper for specifics.

The brand was designed to work across different platforms regularly curating a selection of the best work and supports these dynamics into the brand guide. Partners and associated affiliates can see their best work reflected back at them and the brand stays relevant and current.


Design & Build

Visit Website

Development strategy

I don’t just practice and preach user experience for the end user, I also keep the client CMS user experience top of mind, too, by building with WordPress to make it easier for the client to add, edit and manage content.

This made the planning stage all the more important, and by doing my tech spec homework, I was well-prepared for every site feature and custom functionality heading into the development stage of the project.

Information Architecture

Using the data gathered by working hand-in-hand with the client, we consolidated pages – taking great care on a page-by-page basis – with no ill effect on post-launch site traffic. In turn, this made for cleaner content navigation throughout the site.

SEO strategy

By examining organic search traffic and taking a deep dive into existing analytics, I explored opportunities to better promote existing content and ensured key pages remained at the forefront.

Ongoing relationship

I don’t just build websites and walk away. With a refined, collaborative process in place, the partnership with Spitfire lasts not months, but years.

The end result was a sleek and stylish website, which reflected Spitfire’s core components; dedicated coaches and coordinators across all the Martial Arts codes and their family ‘to belong’ atmosphere.Existing and potential members were able to observe and experience all the features of the gym online.


Print & Promotional

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Copyright 2017 © Christine McKay