When a UFC fighter steps into the cage, they stand and fight alone. But when it comes to athlete branding and marketing, it’s a different story. We got a unique chance to work beside Drakkar Klose, UFC fighter, on his brand. To get in the cage with him and support his fight for the championship. Because for Drakkar, just becoming a UFC fighter isn’t enough. He wants the title.
Brandis just as memorable as strong fists—
and Drakkar already has the fists
Athlete branding and Marketing elevates the game
In the UFC, the guys at the top get the media coverage and the best fights. For up-and-coming fighters, it can be hard to break into the cage. Because without recognition, it’s hard to get fights. And without getting fights, you can’t get recognition.
Drakkar’s climbing his way up the rankings, but his story’s no different. That’s why we decided to work together to elevate his brand and spotlight his fights in the cage.
Branding the person, not just the fighter
Athlete branding and marketing isn’t a 1-2 punch. In preparation for branding work, we sat down and had a lot of great conversations with Drakkar, both about his road to becoming a UFC fighter and his roots. We realized that Forte and Drakkar share the same hometown—Kalamazoo—and we even have some mutual high school friends. We heard about how he rose through hardship into a successful UFC career.
And, of course, we watched him fight, win, and stand up again—time after time in the cage.
Drakkar is so much more than the 15 minutes in the fight. He’s an incredible father, friend, and fighter 365 days a year. So we decided to brand his entire identity, not just his presence in the cage.
Sports Logos with Meaning
Our team took what we learned from our conversations with Drakkar and sketched over 100 logos. We took many different perspectives, from exploring the Norse etymology of Drakkar’s name to taking’s Drakkar’s Michigan roots by the horns (er…antlers).
The top nine sketches got polished up and presented to Drakkar, and he chose the three that he liked the most.
From here, our designers fleshed the logos out further. We played with slight variations in shape and color, refining each logo into a completed design. The logos faced up against each other in a final round, and Drakkar called the victors.
Branding that Fights
Designing athlete branding and marketing means creating a story that the fans rally behind and the competition fears. This means once an athlete brand gets done right, it needs to stay right.
A style guide is a simple and straightforward way to put Drakkar’s brand into action and keep things real. It guides Drakkar’s brand consistency, making his brand easily recognizable for coaches, fans, and fellow fighters.
And building a style guide isn’t just about listing brand rules, it’s also about creating emotional resonance. This means designing and writing in a way that captures the fearless authenticity of Drakkar Klose.
Putting the Brand in the Cage
A fighter’s not a fighter until he’s proven in the cage, and it’s no different for a brand. We worked closely with Drakkar and his team to create athletic clothing that could showcase his brand and hold up against his intense training regimen.
After we launched the brand, our team traveled down to Anaheim to capture some photography of Drakkar (and his brand) in action. As a bonus, we got to see Drakkar face off against Christos Giagos, one of his biggest fights to date. And in a move that stunned the crowds, Drakkar slammed Giagos into the mat, seizing an overwhelming victory.
Together with Drakkar Klose, we built a brand that represented both his day-to-day and his fights in the cage. Most importantly, we created a brand that Drakkar’s proud to represent. One that’s helping him advance his career, get more fights, and close in on the championship. And (of course) we love to see our stuff on all the swag.