Sword Performance is the antidote to a sports drink culture that prizes flash and glamour over substance and practicality. This brand’s flagship product was its drink mix, a hydration and nutrition source for people who sweat. Created by two doctors, Sword products use simple ingredients in unique formulas. They engaged us to create a brand identity, website, packaging, and other brand extensions to translate their product for a broad audience.
Gatorade, Powerade, and Vitamin Water comprise the biggest hydration choices. But endurance athletes are a choosy bunch. Sword’s true competitors include more off-the-beaten-path brands because they have cult-like status. We conducted a qualitative analysis of the full range of competition, uncovering clichés in this industry that include: overpromising, gendering, and dated “science” imagery. Think molecules on everything. The fact is that endurance athletes are savvy consumers. They know BS when they see it. So we wanted to create something not only simple but direct. We created this tagline to push the creative forward.
Our work is built from that simple practicality. With a pared down wordmark, a black/white/grayscale color set, and language that is both matter-of-fact and charismatic – this brand speaks for hard workers of all kinds. People who make difficult decisions, who forge ahead. People who sweat.
We launched their new brand in conjunction with the release of their newest flavor, Orange. Their new packaging and website we unveiled concurrently, along with newly branded swag. In the years since, we have helped Sword create new things, from branded water bottles to new products. Their next innovation came in the form of Sword Energy, chewable caffeine tablets that deliver clean energy when you need it most. We strategized the product’s messaging and launch.
Shawn Stasko, a creator and founder of Sword, moved to Denver, Colorado to start their “high-altitude office.” He serves the competitive endurance athlete market on the west coast. “Now we have some of the top US Olympic athletes and professional runners from Nike… It’s built this really unforeseen network of athletic communication,” Stasko says.
Whether it’s face-to-face communication or online networking, Sword understands how important the customer is in growing a business. Their branding and product lineup grows with their customer in an equitable exchange. While their team provides the technical expertise and development innovation, their athletes’ demand for product shapes how they grow. Stasko remarks, “Because we have pretty good core values to start with, we will go where the customer tells us to go. It brought the company into an exponential path. What we do is try to be a company that adapts to you.”