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Among Equals cooks up new identity for ready-to-eat meal brand Frive

Frive – formerly known as Lions Prep – was originally targeted at gym goers, while its new brand looks to open the menu to a variety of people needing speedy, nutritious meals.

Among Equals has collaborated with ready-to-eat meal brand Frive on its new identity as it moves to improve how we eat in the UK.

When the meal delivery service launched in 2016, it was called Lions Prep and set its sights on challenging the ready-to-eat food delivery market. Naturally, its initial audience was gymgoers and fitness lovers, as it offered healthy meal options that were quick and convenient.

It wasn't long before the brand became the UK's highest-rated ready-to-eat meal delivery subscription, thanks to success as a health and fitness social media sensation and rave reviews from the likes of Vogue, GQ, and Cosmopolitan.

The rebrand – which began late last year – came about when Lions Prep saw an opportunity to go beyond the fitness crowd and give more people a new way to eat well. The company's CEO, George Taylor, says: "We recognised that to take our brand to the next level, we need to embrace a proposition that works for millions of people who want to eat well and look after their holistic health but who don't have the time to sacrifice convenience".

Preconceptions of the food category often lead consumers to think that quick and easy means ultra-processed and that healthy means time-consuming, but Frive wanted to change that. Its new name was developed by the brand's in-house team and is an abbreviation of the phrase' food to thrive', summing up its guiding principle and tagline.

Taylor adds that Among Equals was "the obvious choice" when it came to helping Frive make the leap from the gymgoer niche to the mainstream market. According to Among Equals co-founder and creative director Emily Jeffrey-Barrett, the idea was to make the brand accessible to as many people as possible, from busy nurses working a night shift who need a healthy option to parents who want something quick and nutritious at the end of a hard day.

To communicate Frive's product in what is already a saturated market, Among Equals took a bold approach, tapping into the health-conscious and purposeful elements of the company.

Since the old identity was very targeted at gymgoers – who already put a lot of emphasis on health and nutrition – Among Equals had to find a way to take it further without losing its loyal customer base, which ultimately helped it to grow so quickly. The name change was already a huge step in the right direction, as Jeffrey-Barrett explains how Lions Prep carried a very specific message - "meal prep, power, gym-going-energy" – and didn't align with Frive's ambition to become a household name.

While the identity still references health and nutrition through the colours, art direction, and logo, the aesthetics and brand voice have been designed with the new, broader target audience in mind.

A new distinctive asset that takes centre stage in Frive's brand is a simple food tray based on those used in Frive's deliveries. "As well as differentiating Frive as a 'ready-to-heat' meal brand, not a meal prep business which some could mistake it for, this bowl gave us a solid basis for the entire graphic system", says Jeffrey-Barrett.

The tray device appears as the dot in the 'i' in the logotype and is also used as a cropping device for imagery, as a pattern, as a UI element, and in icons. "We put this bowl absolutely everywhere," says Jeffrey-Barret, "but the iconography is probably my favourite part of the whole system because every single icon contains the bowl device.

"They feel so playful and satisfying, but they're also incredibly functional and communicative." The design team thought that this device would be easy to execute, as is necessary with a fast-growing business, and that it would build "mental availability" as this singular asset can be used again in different ways.

Frive's new logotype is based on the Old School Grotesque by Kilotype. Among Equals edited the letterforms to seamlessly integrate the bowl device into the 'i', rounding the other characters in line with its shape.

For the rest of the brand typography, the studio worked with type foundry Displaay, resulting in Frive Jokker. Minimal changes were made to the foundry's original font, Jokker – which Jeffrey-Barrett describes as having "personality and punch" – as it already embodied the same roundness of the plate in many ways.

She explains that these tweaks helped to make Frive Jokker "100% ownable", which is important as typefaces are "such a powerful, distinctive asset for brands".

"In our experience, they're even more important for rapidly growing brands that might not have millions to spend on design and production," Jeffrey-Barrett adds.

"You use your headline typeface absolutely everywhere, so for us, it's up there with the logo in terms of the most important elements to get right."

When the brand was Lions Prep, its colour palette was pretty stark and so Among Equals added earthier tones into it to make it suitable for a broader audience. Jeffrey-Barrett describes the primary palette as "fresh, natural and sophisticated, evoking an organic but modern aesthetic".
It comprises dark green (kale), cream and white, with added pops of other colours for variety, such as tomato, earth, aqua, mint and squash.

The design process was free of any challenges or blocks, according to Jeffrey-Barrett, who believes these things only happen when there is "misalignment or a lack of clarity somewhere in the process" or when there are "multiple decision-makers with opposing views".

She says: "We had a great relationship with the team, and there was a lot of trust and good energy on all sides. We moved at pace but had the time to go deep and finesse, and we had a shared ambition: to build a brand that would create a new era for the business.

"Designing an effective brand is never easy, but having that kind of connection and collaboration can be gloriously simple."

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