Nike Free is a minimalist running shoe that was first developed in 2005 to replicate the experience of running barefoot. This year saw a brand reset for Nike Free with the focus shifting towards elevating both the science and natural benefits of the brand's footwear. Collaborating with the global team out of Portland, M35 redesigned the entire visual identity system for Nike Free including logo lockups, grid systems, a bespoke typeface, art direction, colour palettes, and materials. The design system resulted in a set of modular brand assets that enable flexible local implementation by all of Nike’s territories around the world.

With a proven track record, it seems the Sydney based design studio are now regular collaborators with the Nike design team. From their disruptive Nike Running Global campaign to their recent packaging design for the Nike React Seeding Kit, M35 have demonstrated their expertise for creating strategically led brand projects. With each project, M35 help the Nike brand reconnect with its challenger roots by using bold graphic language, typography, and dynamic visuals. Only this time they’ve gone one step further. As well as the core brand lock ups, M35 have created a bespoke typeface for the Nike Free campaign. Imperfectly stretched and distorted across the range of posters and visuals, the typeface reflects the shoes ability to adapt to the wearer’s needs.

Nike Free shoes are for what Nike calls 'lower-mileage runs’. The foam cushioning in the midsoles is firmer, flatter, and lower to the ground, so that rather than feeling like you're in orthopaedic shoes with pillows strapped to the bottom, you have a greater connection with the ground and a more natural, flexible feel. Hence, their powerful slogan ‘Engineered for natural range of motion.’ Nike’s stunning photography sees athletes running through wild rainforests in the new shoes. The dynamic colours of these shots beautifully contrast the brand’s black and beige typographic posters.

So once again, M35 have created a bold and powerful campaign for the Nike Free running shoe. With a few obscure elements thrown into an overall minimalistic campaign, M35 have shown yet another stunning example of chic execution for the sports brand. What are your thoughts on their new project? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below!

Written by

Dawn Broadbent

28.04.19