Skip Navigation
An image showing Any Distance co-founders Luke Beard and Dan Kuntz next to screens from the app.

How Any Distance created a different kind of fitness app with Sketch

The Apple Design Award-winning app blazes a trail and takes its own path in the fitness category

Apple’s Annual Design Awards (ADAs) are always exciting for us. Not only so we can see how the design landscape is changing on the platform we call home, but also because there’s every chance that an app #MadeWithSketch will end up winning.

This year was no exception, with Any Distance picking up an ADA in the Visuals and Graphics category. According to Apple, winners in this category showcase “stunning imagery, skillfully drawn interfaces, and high-quality animations.” And, luckily for us, Any Distance happens to be skillfully made with Sketch.

Ahead of this year’s awards, we spoke with Luke Beard (CEO & co-founder at Any Distance) to talk about the app’s origins, his work in Sketch, and the journey to an Apple Design Award.

Any Distance hit the App Store as a simple way to share your workouts with beautiful visuals. Since then, the small team behind it have added a whole host of features — from built-in, privacy-focused activity tracking, to Active Clubs where you can build your own community to share your activity with.

Despite growing in both ambition and features, Any Distance remains a consistent, coherent experience. And to Luke, that’s down to the goals he set for the app at the very beginning. “The most crucial factor at that time, which still holds true, is that it was fun and effortless to use,” he explains.

A person holds an iPhone with the Any Distance app running, showing the profile view.

Bringing a sense of fun through its design has helped Any Distance follow its own path in the crowded fitness apps space.

Even as Any Distance gravitates towards more traditional fitness app features like activity tracking, it still maintains a distinct design. “We often joke that we were ‘born in the dark’, but ultimately, we aimed to create something almost contrary to the market incumbents that we genuinely enjoy using,” says Luke, “We took this approach while also recognizing the need for some familiar patterns. Designing with this mindset has been incredibly fun.”

If it’s fun to design Any Distance, it certainly shows in the app itself. It’s packed with delightful touches that really do set it out from the pack and elevate what otherwise could be quite a utilitarian UI. We asked Luke for a few of his favorite details and he offers an almost breathless list: “Tilt your phone in settings to experience a fun effect on the total distance synced. Scroll to the bottom of that view to say hi to Andi, our mascot. Additionally, we have a flickering neon effect in that section of the app.”

A person holds an iPhone with the Any Distance app running, showing the Active Club view.

Another fun detail in Any Distance: the gradient at the top of your active club changes color based on the activity levels of your friends.

Luke is also quick to credit AK, their Osaka-based 3D Lead, who worked on many of these little touches. And indeed, there’s a focus on 3D and AR in Any Distance that you simply don’t see in other apps of its kind. Being able to ‘wear’ the medals you earn in the app, for example, adds a whole other level of satisfaction after you complete a workout.

Behind all the fun, there’s a serious set of values driving Any Distance — privacy, self-growth, and inclusion. You’ll see inclusivity in the sheer variety of different workout types you can track within the app, along with constant and reassuring reminders of Any Distance’s commitment to privacy, which Luke describes as, “an immovable object for us.”

When it comes to promoting self-growth, Luke explains, “our focus lies more on what we intentionally exclude,” and that, “there are no comparisons or competitions, allowing users to feel at ease.” With a focus on sharing your own achievements and progress, Any Distance creates a different environment to most fitness and activity tracking apps out there.

A person holds an iPhone with the Any Distance app running, showing the activity tracking view.

Any Distance tracks a whole host of inclusive, non-traditional activities.

So, where does Sketch fit into the Any Distance story? The answer is everywhere. “I’ve been using Sketch since 2015 so it’s just second nature to me,” says Luke. “We have one Sketch file. It’s 2GB and performs great. It houses every idea we have ever had. From our app and marketing assets, to billboards and merch. It’s all in Sketch.”

The real magic, though, comes when it’s time to hand off designs. And Luke has high praise for his fellow co-founder and Any Distance CTO, Dan Kuntz, when it comes to his execution. “Our process is very fluid as Dan (Kuntz, CTO and co-founder) is a designer himself,” he says. ”We riff quickly on ideas from Sketch to code.”

Using Any Distance, it’s clear that Luke’s designs have been built out with a serious commitment to quality. The app is fluid, easy to use, and packed with delightful touches. Despite not feeling like your typical fitness app, it still manages to remain a good citizen of the iOS and watchOS platforms. It’s not hard to see why it ended up on Apple’s radar.

A screenshot of a Sketch document showing a variety of Any Distance achievement badges.

A selection of Any Distance achievements, designed in Sketch .

With a commitment to privacy, a positive approach towards fitness and activity tracking, and a unique take on design and functionality, being nominated for an ADA speaks to the work Luke and the team have been putting into Any Distance since 2020. “When we first started working on Any Distance, we would joke about winning an ADA,” explains Luke. “It’s like being nominated for an Oscar in my eyes. It’s safe to say I called my mum as soon as we knew.”

Any Distance is available on the App Store, for free, for iPhone and Apple Watch.

You may also like

Try Sketch for free

Whether you’re new to Sketch, or back to see what’s new, we’ll have you set up and ready to do your best work in minutes.

Get started for free
Get started for free