Carlos Whittaker is an Author, Speaker, Moment Maker, Spider Killer, And Hope Dealer. Carlos got his health back as a father of 3 in his early 40’s, and created a fitness movement that is designed for people who don’t join fitness movements: Fit By First: The 30 Day Fitness Challenge For NORMAL PEOPLE


I had emailed Carlos in February 2015 after he put out a call for help designing something. He found someone else for that project, but reached back out in November for another project. I felt honored he remembered me and kept my email handy!


Carlos was creating the Fit By First program and launching it in 2 weeks. He needed some fitness journal pages designed and also asked if I had time to do a logo. I said yes even though at the time I had a full-time job and was freelancing on the side, and 2 weeks was pretty intimidating! I wondered if I could turn around something good that quickly.
First I wanted to get into Carlos’ head, so I asked him to send me the names of brands he wanted FitByFirst to be like, and also to give me words that described what he wanted people to feel about the brand:

I got to work on some initial sketches. Sketching is an important part of my process because it is an efficient way to get my ideas out quickly and and I can keep track of my iterations better than if I iterate digitally.

“Brand: On par with Nike, Adidas, and Puma.
I want them to feel and think… PRO. Not cheesy fitness. But PRO. 
The vibe: sexy, clean, Apple, simple, people, winner.”

Draft 1:

After sketching a ton of concepts, a few of which are pictured above, I created vector versions of a select few and sent them to Carlos to get his thoughts and further refine the direction.

This stage was the most productive in moving the project forward because Carlos could see where the brand could go and could give better feedback. Carlos gave me some great direction and I got to work on draft 2.

Final Draft

After sending a just few more concepts in Draft 2, we had our final logo. Carlos knew right away it was “the one” and we got to work on determining color.

Carlos described himself as “clueless about colors” to use for the brand so I had an an opportunity to teach some color theory and make some suggestions. Because this brand was one about power and fitness, I suggested red or orange, but I as it was a health endeavor I also thought green or blue could work. We tried both options and it was immediately clear the brand color should be red. Sometimes something just looks right!


Fit By First has been a successful program (Over 4,000 people have gone through the program now!) not because of the logo I designed, but because of the quality planning by Carlos and the community that has formed around it. #FitByFirst has never been about launching a brand or selling merch, but about bringing together community and giving them hope (which is exactly what Carlos is about.) I consider the logo a success because it provides something visual to tie everything together, but more than that I am happy to see the program succeed. Read more about FitByFirst here. 

What I learned:

  • Sometimes my clients don’t know what they want until they see it. I can try to get them to describe things and make them do the work of knowing what they want, but isn’t that why they came to me, a design professional? The more efficient thing I can do to help my clients find words is to sketch concepts. These sketches take less than a minute or two and can help the client say “yes, like that.” or “No, more like this.”
  • I was able to do this tight turnaround project and all of my fears of not delivering something good or useful were unfounded. My client and his assistant communicated efficiently and were really great at giving feedback and direction.

Working with Emily was an absolute delight. As a small business owner I work with many freelancers and to find one with a great personality, incredible design, AND great business integrity is almost impossible to find.  I found them all with Emily.

Carlos Whittaker

Author, Speaker, Disruptor,