Health is the New Indulgence
December 13th | 2017

Hedonism can infect health care and that’s a good thing.

For years, people have self-sorted their daily activities into two distinct buckets: fun-but-bad-for-me and miserable-but-good-for-me. It was black and white — a world of nutrient-dense smoothies vs. calorie-dense pizza — PBS vs. TMZ — indulgence vs. restraint. Blindly, we seemed to accept this false dichotomy, happy to yoyo from “healthy” to “not healthy” activities, striving (hopefully) toward some kind of balance.

But at some point — during the rise of wearables, the gamification of spin classes, and the evolution of Under Armour to the de facto uniform supplier of business travelers on their way back home — “healthy” became fashionable. It became cool. And regularly engaging in your own health became the ultimate act of self-indulgence.

But could this cultural swell of excitement for health, fitness, and wellness be extended to include one of the most universally loathed experiences? Could thoughtful branding, experiential design, and optimistic humanity spark a joyful affinity for health care?

Life Time is on the forefront of a new approach to health care.

When Life Time approached us to help update the LT Proactive Care brand, we knew we had an opportunity to answer that question.

Life Time has already created a lifestyle brand around health, but the expansion of LT Proactive Care locations and services displayed a deeper commitment to riding this cultural wave of passion-motivated self-improvement. And their brand promise — that you can “do it all in your life time” — was about to get even bigger, loftier, and holistic.

What if dreading a doctor’s visit wasn’t a forgone conclusion?

LT Proactive Care is a group of practices that are owned and run by local physicians. They're located inside a growing number of Life Time clubs, and offer everything from chiropractic services to multi-disciplinary medicine. Their teams offer services like plussed-up annual physicals, concierge medicine, nutrition coaching, and lab testing. And while Life Time customers are already making healthy decisions — driven by determination, data, and optimism — seeing a doctor at a health club was an entirely new proposition.

To extend excitement for proactive wellness, we reevaluated health care norms and brought the tenets of the wellness revolution to a health care offering — without losing a sense of trust and authority. Because health care has an opportunity to capitalize on this fundamental shift in what “self-indulgence” can mean.

We opted for a restrained two-color palette. The warmth of the cyan keeps the colors from feeling too cold while the deep, royal blue feels more elevated.

Design is a powerful weapon for redefining premium experiences. And while many health care organizations have brought a sense of candid humanity to their branding to increase accessibility, we had a unique challenge: striking the perfect balance between accessible, premium, and trustworthy. On top of everything, we had to create a thoughtful experience that people would not only trust but also want to engage with.

So we looked inside and outside of both health care and fitness. What we uncovered is that in most areas of culture, premium design was being transformed from cold minimalism to warm, approachable, maximalism. Stone slabs and deep wood grains — the austere and intimidating steely palettes of traditional premium experiences — were out. Joy, expressiveness, and optimism were in.

The marbled pattern added some nice texture and was an unexpected way to give things a feel that’s both scientific and luxurious.

Tonally, LT Proactive Care needed to be an empathetic guide — infinitely excitable by progress. Now, in some ways, more casual language has become table-stakes for modern health care. But we also needed to establish a sense of legitimacy, so we focused more on warmth and approachability than workaday slang. And our content stemmed from a shared belief with our customers: the simple idea that their day-to-day could be even better.

With more and more people marching in step with the cultural shift toward health-as-indulgence, the companies and organizations that create the best experiences — experiences that feel human yet elevated, that promote meaningful connections and evoke a sense of modern luxury — will become their collective destination. They will be the businesses which the next generation of hedonistic health fiends frequent, support, and evangelize.