Creating Brand Systems

New life for a brand based on heritage.


XO Agency partnered with the elite Multnomah Athletic Club - the largest private club of its kind - to modernize the design approach for communications throughout the community. Since its founding in 1891, The MAC has developed a unique internal culture that supports athletics, wellness, dining and event services for its 22,000 members. Each of these services has their own communication needs, but all must come together under one larger MAC design system. Finding the unity within a necessarily diverse system was the challenge offered to XO.

We began with a wide exploration of design languages that could serve the needs of each audience individually, before identifying how to simplify them into a useable system by the organization.

Initial Style Exploration

Design System Flexibility Examples

A Clear View of the Audience


A good design system brings forth the value of the brand in a way that consumers feel intuitively. It's a translation of features and benefits into evocative elements. Our exploration began by workshopping with the MAC team to fully understand the 5 key service areas, and the communities that support them.

The club is large enough that these service areas have developed specific needs and internal cultures to support them - and each of those areas needs to be able to see themselves in the designs as they walk the halls and experience the brand.

By understanding what made each service area unique, but also what overlapped, XO was able to make a 3-tiered modular design system that was efficient for creators on the marketing team, but displays as individual solutions for each marketing need. By narrowing the system in strategic ways for the audience, but adding flexibility and modularity for the creative team, we were able to both unify the brand, but make each internal community feel heard at the same time.

Working with XO was a great experience for my team. They took the time to understand our brand, the variety of audiences we serve, and the breadth of offerings we promote. They developed a design system that elevates our brand visually and creates a consistent look across the club and our communications channels. The work has already made a positive impact on our members and I look forward to working with them again in the future.

Jen Scott, Director of Marketing

Omnichannel

Integrating Digital Marketing


The club was rebuilding their website in tandem with the new design system. A user in a digital ecosystem should have one common experience across all digital channels, so we created special guidance and solutions for how the brand system can apply to digital channels to maintain consistency with the context of the user in mind.