“It’s rumored these ideas are ahead of the curve, regardless, feel free to jump on at anytime” Cuoco Black
  1. Concept Inspired Design (Above Image) — Design savvy fitness consumers voraciously consume curated pictorial platforms Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, and are dialed-in on HGTV, countless e-zines and lifestyle magazines. To say they’ve seen it all, well, they have. Gym developer’s raise your orbit and challenge fitness consumer’s intellectual sensibilities. Acting on this strategy the iconography of Disney’s TRON Legacy (image right,) inspired the aesthetics of Trainerspace (image left,) resulting in an innovative new gym model. This is conceptually inspired gym design. There are no comparisons to other brands in this marketplace. Their are no shared design attributes, fixtures, finishes or features to other brands in this marketplace. A lot of editorial is dedicated to subjects promoting differentiation. This IS marketplace differentiation executed at 10X.

2. Futurisim (Above Image) — Elon Musk has his A Game on with the Design of the V2 Dragon Space Ship Interior. Architecture, Automotive, Aviation, all of the preceding are rapidly adapting futurism in the development of their business models and brands. Gym design is light-years behind the movement. Hopefully a few developers will start to get in on the ride.

3. Back-Link Reinforcing Brand Initiatives (Above Image) — Leave no branding opportunities on the table I say. Back-link and reinforce every feature of your facility to reflect your brand. In the case study above; paint colors, architectural geometries, lighting fixtures, graphics, finishes and furniture coalesce in an uber-cool composition for Source Fitness of ST Clairsville Ohio. The combined aesthetic perfectly segue’s with the owner’s logo and business model upstaging the less detailed and less branded competitors in the marketplace.

4. Retail and Juice Bar Game Up (Above Image) — Style conscious fitness consumers will respond to marketing strategies already employed in the luxury markets. Upscale “high-style” merchandising systems raise the prestige of your retail offerings but can also double as display for the many pre-mixed protein beverages, juices and water brands which are widely available to consumers. The grinding-jarring-blurring-protein-shake-bar will forever be synonymous with legacy gyms; however for those new models poised to enter fitness markets, I argue for a lounge style juice bar. Present members with a leather bound menu describing the characteristics of the beverages, displayed nearby on shelves, chilled by an under-counter cooler stocked with inventory. Not necessarily ground-breaking, but it certainly results in a cache beyond that of those competitors delivering protein shakes in paper cups.

5. Lighting As Theater (Above Image) — Lighting design should amplify and beautify a gym in breathtaking panoramas. Attributes of select visibility, mood, effect and composition can unite in arresting environments which trigger consumer admiration. Mark This Comment > Consumer admiration should be a gym owner’s paramount objective because “that admiring consumer” will share their infatuation with your brand across their social networks. Intelligent lighting design can cause the eye to move from one part of your facility to others. It can highlight important programming areas of your facility and elevate the pedigree of your brand. Remember, fitness consumers are now design savvy arbiters of taste. Lighting design is a marketing strategy that should become more predominant as a design effort as we move into the future.

6. Innovative Reception Desks (Above Image) — I think we’ve seen them all. The elegant wood boutique designed desk with hanging lighting pendants above. The utilitarian rectangular desks of the franchises and the industrial diamond plate surfaces of the muscle gym desks. Absolutely nothing wrong with these features. It’s all good reception desk design, successful, attractive and reflecting the brand. Unfortunately these are standardization’s adopted by countless other gyms in their own market segments. Better strategy following. Create an innovative reception desk that entirely shifts the reception desk paradigm. Integrate new finishes and geometry as a tool of differentiation. Most importantly. The desk must reflect the branding platform, the concept inspiration, and the business model. (Image Credit: New gym franchise reception desk in development).

7. Design Driven Marketing (Above Image) — Gym developer’s must demand compelling design from their creative teams as a facilitator of brand awareness. Press worthy design — editorially engaging, intellectual, cerebral, innovative and differentiated. Anything less is a B game gym design marketing effort. Fitness editorial, editorial in general, is in perpetual flux in pursuit of the newest and coolest and hottest trend, fad and story. The greater the caliber of your brand or story, the wider influence and sway it has over an editor’s prejudice. One matrix of design driven marketing can be measured by paying close attention to social commentary that reflects a gym design posted to social media platforms. Is there engagement, are there shares, likes and inquiries to leading to networking or prospecting opportunities for new members? Design Driven Marketing provides gym owners with ancillary marketing collateral which elevates consumer awareness of a club in any given demographic.

8. Technology Mix (Above Image) — I have a love-hate relationship with technology yet believe the optimal blend could provide gym brands with benefits that usurp detraction’s. I argue that gym owners become virtuous stewards of members privacy and harness technology, and in turn, the information gleaned from it to help move their members to greater health and wellness. We’ve all seen both the benefits and failings of technology. On one hand granting us great advances in information, yet on the other, failings of privacy and sequestered data breaches are becoming commonplace. That is one thing. Greater for me is the disconnect of the human element. I believe it’s the human element which reigns supreme. That emotional connection between trainer and member, the smiles, pats on the back, and personal relationships that your staff cultivates with their members. Don’t forget. We’re all inundated with technology, I’m specifically inferring this to mean your membership. Perhaps your gym environments become technological havens of refuge for your members? I don’t know the answer, yet. But I trust my instincts. There’s a lot on the subject. You might find some useful data here on this one Podcast produced by the people at the Fitness Industry Technology Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEoALxSKIFI&t=705s

9. Loose The TV’s (Above Image) — TV’s are an antiquated obsolete gym requisite popular with the muscle gyms of days gone by. I would present it to prospects and members as the following…”If you want real fitness results we’ve removed TV’s from our club because we want you to focus on fitness and your success”. Conversely argue “TV’s are placed in old school gyms to give you a mindless disconnection from what you should really be focused on, intense focus on your training”. In addition state…”Fitness is mind and body. The toxic nihilistic content on TV is counterproductive to health and wellness”. In closing summarize by adding…”If you want the fastest return on you gym membership (ROI) we offer that here. If you want social hang time, here are the names of the other gyms who can provide you that experience”. The KEY here is TIME. Consumers value TIME. If you are selling Fitness, Health, Wellness and Time, you are of exponentially greater value to fitness consumers then the obsolete mind set of old school gyms.

10. 80/20 Rule (Above Image) — Known as the Pareto principal, the 80/20 Rule was advanced in 1896 by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto as an observation (or criticism) of a social construct in which he argued that 80 percent of the land in Italy, was owned by 20 percent of the population. How does this 80/20 Rule segue into the development of a gym brand? I contend theoretically that 80 percent of a gym construction budget should be invested in 20 percent of your gym’s footprint…that would be your reception and locker room areas. Theoretically is the keyword and it should go without saying, but I will say it to be clear. The argument is not how much you invest in the construction of your reception area and locker rooms, but rather, what is the resultant outcome of applying this strategy to a gym build-out? Arguably your reception area provides potential prospects the first impression of your club. That first impression should have a resonating power, a dynamism, an attitude which seduces prospects to buy into your brand on an emotional level. (Image Credit: Mid City Gym, Times Square, NY)

Never, never, never forget it’s about the fitness consumer. Appeal to the intellects and emotions of your target demographic. Build a conceptually inspired beautiful gym that dominates a fitness marketplace as a strategy causing consumers to abandon their own brands, for your new uber-cool brand. With those defectors come revenue streams and accelerated ROI. And remember.

“Gym Design Is Marketing First” Cuoco Black 2018

About: Cuoco Black is a trusted and respected master fitness facility designer, gym brand architect, design academic and natural bodybuilder. A former faculty member of the New York School of Interior Design, Black advocates for the development of conceptual and theatrical gym models that dominate consumer attention in any fitness marketplace. The designer promotes an ideal that fitness facilities must embrace design attributes which embrace luxury, telegraph fitness, motivate fitness consumers to exercise; and most importantly, amplify the brand. His work includes independent gyms, personal training studios, women’s only facilities, residential fitness centers and new franchise models.


Website: http://www.fitnesscenterdesign.com/

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Fitness-Center-and-Gym-Design-105365056322370/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cuocoblack1


TRON Legacy: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1104001/

Trainerspace: http://trainerspace.com/

SpaceX Dragon V2: http://www.spacex.com/news/2014/05/30/dragon-v2-spacexs-next-generation-manned-spacecraft

Futurism: https://futurism.com/

Source Fitness: http://www.sourcefitness247.com/

New Gym Franchise Reception Desk: http://www.fitnesscenterdesign.com/new-franchise-model.html

IHRSA 2018 F.I.T. Commercial Fitness Guide: http://www.ihrsa.org/fit-buyers-guide/

Styku 3D Body Scanner: http://www.styku.com/

Fitness Industry Technology Council: http://www.fittechcouncil.org/

Pareto Principle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

Mid City Gym: http://midcitygym.com/

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