Loved by walkers and runners alike, The Nike Run Club app is a space not only to track workouts, but to become part of a larger community. COLLINS, the independent strategy, design, and communications company, worked with the brand to develop a design system that helps with the user interface within the app. The improved user experience not only helps with the app currently, but it allows space for the app to grow in the future through increased flexibility measures.
From Bill Bowerman’s original running shoes made with a waffle iron to the Alphafly Next Nature, Nike has a long history of embracing innovation to expand human potential.
The Nike Run Club (NRC) app is a continuation of that legacy—a cutting-edge tool deployed in support of deeply personal practice. Over the years, it has evolved into space for personal growth, a community of support, and an invaluable resource for those who practice the most OG sport of all. It is everything you need to start running, keep running, and enjoy running, more.
Training Plans and Audio Guided Runs (AGRs) are two features, unique to NRC, that exemplify that promise.
Developed by the Nike Run Club coaching team (with inspiring friends like Mo Farah, Eliud Kipchoge, Shalane Flanagan, and even Bill Nye), AGRs give you motivation and guidance as you run, telling you when to slow down, how to speed up, and why it might be time to take a break. There are AGRs for everyone: easy runs for those who are just getting started, long-distance, or speed runs for those looking to push themselves, and plenty more for just about everyone in-between.
Training Plans are collections of runs organized according to your specific goals. Whether you want to run your first race or you’re out for a PR, training plans have everything you need to start off right and finish strong—whatever your level, whatever your goal.
NRC’s library of content grew exponentially, Nike found itself with two key challenges: many users didn’t realize the depth of coaching expertise available, and those that did struggled to find or identify the type of run they wanted.
COLLINS was invited to help define a new, extendable design system for Audio Guided Runs and Training Plans that would help users navigate the app while creating a compelling and cohesive experience for NRC.
We began by conducting an inventory of existing and future Audio Guided Runs, examining them in detail, and identifying patterns that could help inform a potential information architecture.
Working closely with Nike’s digital design team, we developed several options for an AGR content structure, each with its own strategy. After agreeing on a simplified framework for run types—Everyday, Speed, and Long—we developed unique approaches to all three that leverages Nike’s original design language.
Everyday runs take a pattern-approach inspired by iconic Nike running shoe soles. Speed runs use expressive typography to reflect the experience of Tempo, Interval, Hill, and Fartlek runs. And Long runs capture the trance-like state of endurance running by repeating and layering dynamic silhouettes.
Extrapolating from the AGR language, we then worked with Nike to develop a unique, but connected language for a newer feature—Training Plans.
First, we created a flexible system that works with our AGR color codes to distinguish between the types of workouts that would occur on any given day in the plan. Next, we developed an underlying architecture for current and future training plan cover cards: Numerals for distance-based plans, illustration for introductory plans, controlled flexibility for stand-alone plans. Finally, for the launch of NRC Training Plans, we designed cover cards for the first two plans—Get Started and Half Marathon.
Taken together, the system is flexible enough to account for ever evolving-content and efficient enough to be reproduced around the world, all while maintaining a unique, easily navigable expression for NRC.