A Case Study


Bridging the Gap
Case Study

Co-founders Amy and Astrid and I worked together on a website to mark the launch of their first fitness and wellness gym. The website introduces their unique combination of community, strength training and physical therapy while making it easier for anyone—at any age or level—to join.

We wanted the website to not only to establish a virtual homebase, but to convey their expertise and generate new leads thus taking some work off of their extremely full plates. In the early days while Amy and Astrid spent their days securing their gym’s new address, I started the process. We aimed to make a website that would be at once beautiful, easy to use, and future proof. 

(We updated it in 2023)

Brand Strategy, Art Direction, UX/UI, Web Design, Graphic Design
Brianna Marico

“We had spent hours trying on Squarespace experimenting and found ourselves frustrated and overwhelmed by how many options there were. We had done branding exercises, but had no idea of how to communicate these things in a cohesive way that said who we were and what we offered.

That's when Wendy saved the day.”

Astrid Casteneda
Co-Founder of Bridge Performance

In The Beginning
Before any designing began, I reviewed their branding and facilitated conversations where we took a deep dive on their mission, vision and approach to training while paying special attention to what qualities make them unique.

One of those qualities was the way that Amy and Astrid strive to make an inclusive business where their clients feel seen and cared for. They founded their gym because they saw a common issue in the fitness industry where coaching and workouts often force people to conform to unrealistic and unsustainable standards that lead most people to burn out or give up. They had a different approach to completely change that.

Bridge Performance uses a community based and holistic approach to training and they prioritize their relationships with their clients. They take the care and time to learn about their clients and explain things. If someone wants to lose weight, they don't want to just give them a diet and workout, but instead try and change their relationship with food. If someone struggles with accountability, social group classes are there to encourage, motivate and support them. If someone is experiencing pain, they don’t make them opt out of movement, but give them tailored exercises they can do to get out of pain.

In Amy’s words:

“It’s in the way we coach, communicate, educate, we don't want to just send you away sweaty, we want to make sure we are pushing you towards wellness autonomy.”

Their passion, methodology and approach broadened my understanding of their work and left me genuinely inspired. After we had these early conversations, Amy and Astrid understood their business in enlightening new ways. Together, we were able to define objectives like what is the purpose of their website and what is most important to communicate through it.

Learning more about our audience
Just as Amy and Astrid cater to the unique needs of their clients, the website was designed to address the specific needs of its visitors. The main mission  of the website is to attract new clients. This started with identifying exactly who their audience is and what they look for in a gym.

I started by conducting a workshop to create personas (fictional representations based on different types of clients) to understand their audiences' different needs. Amy and Astrid already had a group of very dedicated clients, majority of which identified as female. These individuals were ready to join Bridge Performance, so we created one persona to represent them, another for semi-regular clients and a final persona for new potential clients. The potential clients would ideally include everyone, but to get specific, we developed this third persona to represent people over 50 years old who have heard of BP through word of mouth and were interested in learning more. Through the workshop, we discovered that they view fitness as anti-aging and are very keen to have a workout routine. They have a fitness mentality that “an object in motion stays in motion and an object at rest stays at rest”. However, the overwhelming majority of this group find weightlifting very intimidating and want to feel comfort, safety and very personalized instruction. 

The goals for the website really took shape after the workshop and we made it an objective to be inclusive of older individuals especially because much of the fitness industry either overlooks or completely erases them.  We believe that when you see yourself represented, you feel seen and welcomed so we gathered authentic testimonials from clients over 50 and used inclusive language and photography.

We showcased their client Shelly–a 72 year old woman who had two total knee replacements–and used her image and testimonial on the homepage. We set up a photoshoot where we used Amy and Astrid’s real clients who spanned all ages and backgrounds. We featured older clients working out in group classes amongst younger clients and participating in all aspects of the gym culture.

“Wendy took the time to get to know us, our business and where we wanted the business to go.”

Astrid Casteneda
Co-Founder of Bridge Performance

Bridge Performance’s existing branding had attributes like fresh, strong, energetic and vibrant. While we kept to those adjectives, we wanted to position the brand as warm, inclusive and welcoming.

After a quick market analysis of 12 national and local fitness gyms, we conducted a positioning workshop to understand how Bridge Performance could stand out in the market. We found that on the national level we were strongly aligned with a brand like Classpass whose website felt modern, friendly and easy to use, while we opposed brands like LA Fitness which felt dated, uninspiring and conventional. On a local level, we were felt closest to Crowncity Crossfit and Sancuary Fitness and furthest from Hardcore Fitness Pasadena. We gravitated towards Crowncity Crossfit’s messaging and photography which felt uplifting and inclusive. Meanwhile we were polar opposite to Hardcore Fitness Pasadena which felt extremely aggressive, intimidating and intense.

Next, we took what we learned from the positioning and moved to clarify our approach through moodboarding. We collected visual examples of branding, photography, typography, color and graphics that resonated with the BP brand. These examples served as our Northstar–they inspired us, aligned us and most importantly influenced our website’s look and feel.

Site Structure
We put our target audience of prospective clients into two groups and tailored the website to suit both of them. Since the majority of the website was designed for newcomers, we placed a “Get Started” button frequently throughout the website. The homepage served as both a landing place and a filter for both audiences to find what they needed. Those who want to dive deep and learn more about Bridge Performance before they make the decision to join, can read about the various programs, the backgrounds of Amy and Astrid and the philosophy of the gym itself. We categorized this group as “divers” because they would likely take the time and read everything. The second group we referred to as “swimmers and skimmers”, these were people that were interested and perhaps had specific information they were looking for, but wouldn’t spend the time to read everything. Because of this group we kept to strict word counts, used large titles and succinct summaries followed by detailed descriptions for efficient browsing.

From their brand colors, we selected the energetic lime green as an accent color to draw attention to titles and links. We paired this with background colors like white and a neutral forest green.

For typography, we went with a large modern bold font for titles and statements. For body copy and details, we contrasted the title font with a friendly, round, wide font. We kept all buttons large so they command attention and feel prominent.

The Bridge
All prospective gym members would likely be local residents of Pasadena, thus it was important to make reference to Colorado Street Bridge–which is featured prominently in the logo and in the story of the Bridge Performance. The bridge not only was a metaphor to bridge training with therapy, but Pasadena locals feel a sense of belonging and ownership after seeing it. For example, after seeing the Bridge Performance logo, they would say things like: “This is my city, this is my gym.” To subtly make reference to the bridge, we used an arched shape to house some of our images.

Photography did a lot of the work in communicating Bridge Performance’s brand values, especially those of community and positivity. Working with photographer Brianna Marico, we captured people who represented a diversity of age, body type and race. We focused on capturing people in action, smiling, and interacting with each other. One of our objectives was to make ordinary people look momentous and powerful through the use of perspective, breaking the mold of unrealistic fitness standards.

We focused on getting images of Amy and Astrid working directly with their clients–making hands-on adjustments and encouraging them– thus capturing their coaching abilities and their love for what they do.

We Are In the Active Process of Becoming
Case Study

We Become is a bold new collective that uses somatic design to increase wellbeing for mission driven businesses, governments and nonprofits. Somatic design (also known as embodied design) is a healing centered method that focuses on the mind, body and spirit. Through coachings, consultations and courses, We Become works hard so people can experience more happiness, agency and belonging.

After going through a few iterations their first year, We Become was ready to grow, but they needed a hand. They were at a place where their mission and vision were refreshed and clear, but their branding was confusing, inconsistent and difficult to use.  This misalignment was stressful for founder Em, who wanted their brand to feel more professional. Em felt they knew how their brand should look and feel, but couldn’t articulate how to get there or create it on their own.

We Become was about to launch the Embodied Action Lab, a community based six week course for working professionals to slow down, learn body centered skills and realign their ways of working. Participants were united on environmental and social justice values. Time was of essence because We Become was quickly moving into their next phase as an organization and thus wanted a rebrand to communicate to new audiences in an attractive, efficient and accessible way.

Over the course of 8 weeks, founder Em Wright and I collaborated and designed elements of the new branding system such as a logo, fonts, colors, graphics, photography, and iconography.

Brand Strategy, Brand identity, Art Direction, Brand Design, Graphic Design

“Our initial conversations and workshops in particular were incredibly illuminating—the questions and activities helped surface information and ideas that may not have come up otherwise, which set us on a somewhat unexpected course toward exactly where we needed to go for the final design.”

Em Wright
Founder of We Become

We started with a 4 week discovery phase where I conducted workshops in which I got to know Em and understand the goals and vision behind We Become. Our first workshop consisted of both standard questions and creative abstract ones that asked Em to describe We Become in new ways so we could generate a wide net of ideas to work with.

Core Concepts
Early on, we landed on the following core concepts to ground the brand in:

1. We are in the active process of becoming. We believe that We Become represents a flexible process rather than a hard destination.

According to Em:

“Humans have an inner drive to do and become more. We Become evokes possibility, improvement and growth towards goals around equity, justice, sustainability, repair.”

2. We–not you or me alone. The concept of “we” means we can’t do it alone, that we depend on one another. We Become believes in the power of symbiotic relationships and that the best growth happens in community with one another.

3. We Become’s work is multifaceted. It uses methods and tools from a variety of disciplines. The work is also highly collaborative with other design practitioners, partners and communities. Because of this, qualities like being highly adaptive, observant, open and intuitive are essential.

Sample of adjectives generated from a workshop

Focusing the Brand
At the end of this stage, we made a list of 48 adjectives that captured We Become’s new look and feel. From those 48 adjectives, we landed on these five to characterize the new We Become brand: connected, transformative, visionary, accessible and practiced.

Design samples from Black Womxn Flourish, Pause + Effect and Slow Grind

Brand Literacy
Next we practiced our brand literacy by researching and discussing organizations in the same space such as Black Womxn Flourish, Pause + Effect and Slow Grind. Looking at their work sparked ideas and gave us insight on the approach we wanted to take. It also aligned us as creative collaborators.

We found that we visually gravitated to the combination of flowing forms and futuristic design rather than design that looked static and conventional. We liked the play between graphics that looked at once soft and organic yet bold and contemporary because we felt they inspired curiosity while feeling inviting. The malleable shapes and gradients that we liked conveyed flexibility and adaptation–important brand concepts we established in an earlier workshop.

Left: Slow Grind, Right:Pause + Effect

Being Accessible, But Not Didactic
Pause + Effect’s branding started a productive conversation about where on the spectrum from visual ambiguousness to visual explicitness do we want to fall? How can our brand feel accessible without being too didactic in our design?

In designs pairing text with graphics or images–some were more minimal and vague, while others took a clearer, more literal approach. For example: on the left–the design by The Slow Grind visualizes the word “resilience” with a vibrant shape encased by two rings while on the right, Pause + Effect uses a collaged photograph of a person who appears to be meditating to express the words “Pause as a practice”. The forms and colors in the first design are more open to interpretation–perhaps the word “resilience” is communicated through the large strong red donut form, while the word “redefining” could be represented by the hoops holding the red donut. On the other hand, the second design takes less time to understand, the meditating person is in a clear moment of pause, out in nature with their eyes closed.

We discussed that while some We Become clients may want the certainty one feels with literal visualizations (like Pause + Effect)–we didn't, we wanted to give audiences more to chew on. While Pause + Effect’s design was effective in communication, the design felt too static and dated for the We Become brand. We needed more fluidity, poetry and intrigue. During workshops and classes, We Become’s clients are encouraged to be present in their bodies and practice new ways to connect to others in the workplace–something a lot of people may find new and uncertain about. We wanted our brand to include the often intangible and unfamiliar nature of somatic design, but in a way that wouldn’t turn off new audiences.

Sample of We Become’s moodboard

The ideas and insights from our discovery phase set us up for our moodboarding exercise. Here we collected inspiration that ranged from illustration, graphic design, fine art and photography. Together we created boards based on our five attributes of connected, transformative, visionary, accessible and practiced. We searched for examples that looked and felt fluid, futuristic and inviting. We kept in mind the early concepts of “we are in the process of becoming”, “we are not alone” and “we are adaptive and intuitive”.

These examples served as our guide–they inspired us, aligned us and visually expressed some challenging concepts of somatic design that we were trying to give form to.

During this process, we explored how we can use branding to position We Become as an expert in somatic design? As we went we asked ourselves, what vision of the future are we designing for and how does that look and feel?

Using the moodboards for alignment and a jumping off point, we next aimed to create an identity that could act as a timeless and universal symbol–something we could see existing now, but also in the distant future. After many ideas and a lot of refinement, we landed on an identity that we felt captured all of our most important brand concepts all while looking friendly, contemporary and simple.  

The design embodies the organic nature of somatic design, with two round shapes. To show the process of becoming, we made it so the first shape appears to be morphing so that it will eventually become the second shape. The identity implies change and adaptability.

Early sketches

DM sans is the primary typeface used in the logo and throughout the brand. As a low contrast geometric sans serif, it is utilitarian, but still extremely friendly and inviting. We chose it for the logo particularly because of the circular nature of the letters like ‘o’ and ‘e’ which mirror the forms in the logo.

Meaningful quotes or stand alone statements however, we wanted a font that had an inviting element for newcomers of somatic design. We looked for fonts with a craftsmanship quality and found Kavivanar. Kavivanar is an unique handwritten font that is slanted, graceful and textural. The letterforms have a calligraphic pen stress that brings a fun rhythm and intriguing aliveness to the letters.

Color and Gradients
To modernize the brand, we embraced energetic colors that felt warm and inviting. We used soft, but confident, attention grabbing gradient backgrounds. These gradients communicated the fluid and intuitive nature of our brand and were designed primarily for digital applications.

To show how the brand could be visualized, we applied the branding to a website, socials and presentations.

At the core of We Become’s brand is the desire for connection, belonging and collaboration. We showed this through evocative photography using hands and gestures between bodies. Diversity of people matter in our photography because it communicates equity, belonging and accessibility.

To demystify somatic design, we showed our participants actively engaging in the work together–through in person or virtual meetings. We opted for relaxed, casual images of people are best compared to overly posed, forced stock imagery.

The nature of We Become’s work is often messy, and creative. While the materials we use are often pen, paper and sticky notes, we use imagery like artistic mediums and hardware tools as metaphors to communicate the laborious and inventive process we go through.

Brand Guidelines
Finally, we made a branding guidelines document with simple, easy to follow design tips to create new We Become branded materials.

“I absolutely love our new logo and identity, and the materials and guidance Wendy provided gives me the confidence I need to apply our style to products and materials. I recommend working with Wendy if you want to build an enduring brand based on a solid foundation of your vision, values, and purpose—and have a lot of fun in the process!”

Em Wright
Founder of We Become

Rebranding an 40+ Year Old Reputable Organization
The Prisoners’ Legal Services’ visual rebrand was created to reflect exceptional work that PLS has done–not just for their clients–but for society at large.

Over the course of 3-4 weeks I conducted a comprehensive discovery phase complete with branding workshops, discussions and an organization survey in order to carefully craft their visual brand system. With their clients, board and NY State in mind we uncovered meaningful messages that we wanted to tell through our design choices. Along the way, we focused in on three powerful traits that PLS embodied: trustworthy, dedicated and experienced. In the end I designed elements of the system such as a new logo, fonts, colors, hand writing, photography, and photographic treatment.

Art Direction, Branding Strategy, Brand Design, Graphic Design

“Wendy was patient, thoughtful, creative and very easy to work with. She was also extremely prepared and timely in any promised deliverables. We are very happy with the final product. If you are looking for someone who will take the time to work with your organization to come up with a unique branding that conveys your purpose and mission, I would highly recommend Wendy!”

Karen Murtagh
Executive Director at Prisoners’ Legal Services

What we uncovered:

1. We bring justice to New York prisons. PLS focuses on the New York State prisons and the incarcerated individuals within them. We bring the courthouse to our clients and focus on addressing the issues they face. We were created out of the Attica uprising because, at that time, no one else was responding to the issues that led to the uprising. A big part of what drives us is to prevent another Attica.

2. Many small actions lead to big change. PLS engages in direct action. The majority of our work focuses on our individual clients. The letters we receive from our clients and the critical issues we work on are the core of who we are as an organization. The result of working on many individual client cases is broad systemic change that benefits all incarcerated New Yorkers.

3. We believe in humanity. We believe that PLS acts as a lighthouse– lighting the way for those that may find themselves in rough waters. We respond to our clients when no one else does, even when our answer is “I’m sorry, we can’t help you.” This is because we believe that they matter–that they count. We believe in their ability to raise themselves up and we try to give them every opportunity we can.

Before & After

Two major goals of the logo redesign bring PLS into 2021 and make something that was simple and easy to reproduce. The new logo uses the abbreviation ‘Pls’ which is set in sentence case (the first letter is capitalized and the rest are lowercase). The use of sentence case tells the story of the actual letters PLS receives from their clients as nearly all of them written in sentence case.

‘Pls’ also can be read as a shorthand for the word “please”– a polite adverb embedded in correspondence from their clients. Finally, the sentence case design echos the often cordial tone and relationship PLS has with those writing to them.

By using traced excerpts from the actual letters PLS receives, we could visually and emotionally communicate the central part of their work. By reading the words and seeing the handwriting of PLS’ clients, audiences get a direct window into the human side of incarceration. We chose to include this because it shares one of our most important values: we believe in humanity.

Every design decision was made with great care and color was no exception. We selected the colors white and navy as the primary pallete. We chose white because it references the courthouses and thus the idea of justice. Additionally white, along with yellow, symbolizes PLS being the light/lighthouse that shows the way while the navy blue represents the ocean. The light blue represents the sky and the idea of looking up while teal is energetic and represents positivity.

The tone of PLS imagery is clean, optimistic and hopeful. We opted for bright, uplifting imagery over somber, dark imagery of law libraries, courthouses or prisons. In images of the courthouse, we chose images that direct the eye upwards especially if there is a blue sky visible. When it came to showing people, we used deeply compassionate and inspiring images instead of indifferent, depressing or hopeless ones.

Modern Exhibit for a Timeless Designer
Decade by decade, follow the rise of Oscar’s de la Renta’s career and learn how he became one of the most influential designers of the century. This responsive site features archival images and interviews with the exhibition curator, memories from fashion editor Andre Leon Talley and of course, Oscar de la Renta’s timeless designs. Designed at Double Space, we aimed to create a web experience that captured de la Renta’s optimistic spirit, the beauty of his work and legacy he left behind.

Art Direction, UX/UI, Graphic Design, QA Testing

Double Space

Working with the de Young museum, I worked on the site’s architecture, UX, interface and performed QA testing on the final product. The most exciting part of the project was the art direction. We had access to the images from an incredible photo archive of Oscar de la Renta’s work and life.

Development Guidelines

Mobile Navigation & Lightbox Desktop Navigation & Decade Pattern

waʊ, ɪts ˈwɛndi!︎
:an expression used to express a strong feeling such as pleasure, delight or surprise.
︎ ︎

Wendy Qi is a New York City based freelance art director, designer and educator specializing in branding, strategy and visual design.

She has 10+ years of experience and works with small businesses and large organizations alike on a range of projects. She consults, creates brand identities, builds websites and provides ongoing design support to teams. 

Email to begin!

︎︎︎ Background
Wendy was one of the first designers at The Public Society: a small group of creatives leveraging the power of design for the greater good. As both a designer and studio manager, she worked to establish the company’s culture and design processes.

Wendy was also an adjunct instructor at Cooper Union where she taught a course on translating 2D collages into web experiences with code.

Throughout the years, her work has been featured in The New York Times, nominated as a finalist for New York Design Awards, shown in Hong Kong Design Centre's deTour exhibition and published in the international magazine TLmag.

Wendy’s side project is naturally dyeing textiles using food waste, flowers and foraged dye plants.
︎ Clients by Sector

︎Social & Environmental Justice
The Atlantic Philanthropies Fellowship for Racial Equity
Civic Hall
Housing Court Answers
Interpublic Group
Narrative Initiative
Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York
United Nations Environmental Programme
Urban Future Lab

︎Educational & Cultural Institutions
Asian American Writer’s Workshop
The Cooper Union
de Young Museum
New York University Tandon School of Engineering

︎Studios & Agencies
The Public Society
Spitfire Strategies

︎Small Business
Amanda W. Timpson
Arezu Persia
Bridge Performance
We Become

IMG Models
The Interpublic Group
New York Road Runners
Unilever Brands
United Technologies

"I can't recommend Wendy Qi enough—we worked together on a major graphic design project this past spring and Wendy's work was beautiful, effective, and easy to use and update. Wendy started the project with research and discovery work to understand the needs and design direction. For example, she audited our organization's past designs, talked with us about what we liked/didn't like, and did a workshop to build brand literacy. She was incredibly thoughtful about designing for our specific audiences and concepted out the storytelling ideas that were important to us. I loved the process and the result. Wendy was easy to work with and very organized as well."

Nikka Landau
Director of Communications @ The Paul and Daisy Sorors Fellowships for New Americans

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Wendy on our rebranding. The whole process was fun, creative, easeful, and accessible. She made accommodations to fit my needs and made me feel like we were truly partnering together to co-create our new brand, rather than being in a more transactional consultant-client relationship. Our initial conversations and workshops in particular were incredibly illuminating—the questions and activities helped surface information and ideas that may not have come up otherwise, which set us on a somewhat unexpected course toward exactly where we needed to go for the final design. I absolutely love our new logo and identity, and the materials and guidance Wendy provided gives me the confidence I need to apply our style to products and materials. I recommend working with Wendy if you want to build an enduring brand based on a solid foundation of your vision, values, and purpose—and have a lot of fun in the process!”

Em Wright
Founder @ We Become

"We were about to launch a service based business and didnt have a website. We had spent hours trying on Squarespace experimenting with layout, content, images, font and found ourselves frustrated and overwhelmed by how many options there were. We had done branding exercises, but had no idea of how to communicate these things in a cohesive way that said who we were and what we offered. That's when Wendy saved the day. She took the time to get to know us, our business and where we wanted the business to go. She worked patiently with us until we were satisfied with a website that not only met our picky expectations of aesthetic and flow but really captured who we were. She was accommodating to our timeline and flexible with the tasks she charged us with. Her professional yet personable expertise made us feel confident in her abilities. In the end she gave us exactly what we asked for, a website that was not only beautiful and clean but easy to navigate, and user friendly."

Astrid Castaneda
Founder @ Bridge Performance

“Wendy was referred to us by Spitfire. We were looking to adopt a standardized visual brand that would convey to others our mission, our vision... who we are. Wendy worked with us for approximately two months–scheduling weekly meetings where we spent time delving into our history, identifying stakeholders and defining the qualities that sets PLS apart from other non-profit civil legal services organizations. Wendy educated us on the need and purpose of a standardized visual brand and helped us adopt a new logo, fonts and a color scheme that communicate through digital, print and yet to be created materials, who we are and what we do. Wendy was patient, thoughtful, creative and very easy to work with. She was also extremely prepared and timely in any promised deliverables. We are very happy with the final product. If you are looking for someone who will take the time to work with your organization to come up with a unique branding that conveys your purpose and mission, I would highly recommend Wendy!”

Karen Murtagh
Executive Director @ Prisoners’ Legal Services

“I cannot recommend Wendy enough as a website designer! She worked closely with me and my business partners to create something that felt like our vision with her expertise. She knew the right moments of when to accommodate what we wanted and when to push for an alternate approach. What emerged was something that still felt like it was ours, just... better.

Most importantly, Wendy went above and beyond in terms of making sure everything was both looking and working perfectly in the final result. Mistakes I never would have caught, or bits of code that weren't perfect–Wendy kept checking and refining even after I had what I thought was a great result. She definitely holds her work to the highest standard!”

Gary Benton
Partner @ Arezu Persia

“Wendy did a fantastic job developing my brand and redesigning my site. From research to process and execution, Wendy did a fantastic job visualizing my brand in a unique way while staying true to its core identity. On a personal level, she was a joy to work with–thoughtful, organized, and reliable. I highly recommend her and can't wait to work with her again!”

Itzett Romero
Founder of A Modern Meditator & Director of Digital Marketing @ Babbel

“Wendy supported Civic Hall on various graphic design projects. Not only did Wendy help us create thoughtfully designed, visually beautiful, and on-brand pieces, she did so while maintaining exceptional organization and project management, clear communication, and thoughtful curiosity to better understand our need. I very much enjoyed working with Wendy and would highly recommend her for any individual or organization in need of brand, design, and/or user experience support!”

Fiona Teng
Strategic Communications Lead @ Beloved Economies

“Wendy is a fantastic designer, seamlessly balancing her own creative ideas with the (sometimes finicky) needs of her client. I collaborated closely with Wendy a number of visual design projects for the Narrative Initiative, including establishing the visual identity of the brand new organization itself. Receptive to feedback and joy to work with. I hope we can work together in the future!”

Nima Shirazi
Vice President @ Spitfire