Communicating collaboration by We are Him+Her
We are Him+Her was formed in October 2009 as an independent creative partnership that specialises in identity, packaging and branding.
Prior to founding Him+Her Glenn Kiernan (him) was Creative Director at renowned UK branding agency jkr for over 10 years. Ruth Galloway (her) has worked for the industry’s leading design agencies delivering award-winning creative projects for world-leading brands.
Together they form a dynamic creative partnership that offers bespoke services to the client, whatever the challenge. Collaborating with a halo of inspiring creatives, from copywriters to photographers, illustrators and web designers, We are Him+Her use specialist expertise to achieve the best solutions for every project.
A personal brief
Designing your own identity is a very personal project, and possibly the hardest job you can accomplish as a creative. The pressure of unlimited possibilities, working with the toughest client – yourself – and under the gaze of your peers’ critical eyes: it has to be right. It has to be bombproof.
We wanted to create a future-facing, flexible, bespoke creative agency, a world apart from the large international agencies we had experience of working within. Embracing a modern, collective way of working, we are passionate about collaboration. A collaboration that isn’t only with other creative talent but in the way we work with our clients. We truly believe that the sum is greater than the individual parts, and this is what we wanted our identity to express.
True to our nature, establishing our identity was a completely collaborative process. Both partners worked on the project from start to finish, bouncing a flurry of ideas back and forth for several days, and when our initial experiment with neon lighting proved too costly for a restricted start-up budget we decided to develop something we had a little more control over. The initial concept of overlapping pieces originated from playing around with the letter forms of Him and Her and experimenting with ampersands. We knew we wanted a clean, modern architectural feel to the identity, but not something that was too derivative of a standard font. We desired the ability to evolve, change and develop our visual iconography just as we did as an agency.
The initial elements of the typography were cut out of paper and overlaid, giving depth to the identity. The letterforms for HIM and HER are formed predominantly from straight lines, so we decided to ditch the ampersand and concentrated on a more structural and modern ‘plus’ sign.
These straight forms quickly developed into a group of separate solid blocks, which we started to use as transparent elements, experimenting with light and tone. Allowing the colour to change where the ascenders and bars overlapped, we started to create the feeling that something different happened when these pieces came together, reflecting our collaborative approach to creativity.
After experimenting with various weights, physical manifestations and thicknesses we refined the final elements for the letterforms that form the identity.
The initial identity appeared in a variety of colours, reflecting seasons and disciplines, using a different bright spot of colour every time the elements overlapped. After playing the live application we settled on a simpler, more refined colour palette. This would help us retain consistency when printing, but also allow us to explore print mediums such as screen printing to help us achieve the best results. We wanted to use colours bright enough to give the effect of movement when put together: our final palette of pink, grey and blue reflected the customary and accepted male and female aspect, but also had the desired movement.
We have already started to flex our identity, bringing it to life by animating it on our website, and we’re looking forward to seeing where we can take it in 2010. We think the measure of success for an identity is its ability to live as a brand, changing and adapting to different environments, applications and media while not losing its initial creative thought. We have plans to construct the identity in large blocks of acrylic for our signage, and once established we will begin to play with the colour palette again and the structural nature of the identity.
It’s firm, bold and familiar at once, but more importantly, it reflects the nature of our work and practices: able to overlap, to collaborate and to create entirely new facets from simple inputs. Our agency is all about targeting our work to meet client expectations through bold and creative collaboration – and our identity was the first place where that belief begins to shine.
Check it out wwww.wearehimandher.com
Give us a call +44(0)20 7378 5712
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