Creative Process Study 01

01.16.2010 / Project: We are Him+Her

Ruth Galloway & Glenn Kiernan

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.


The process

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.

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10 comments, please join in the discussion

  1. 01.17.2010

    Looks like we are going to have a trend for overlapping colours. Not the first logo I’ve seen recently using the technique. See e.g. Bausch + Lomb:

  2. Mavenisms

    Thanks for the peek into your process. I am curious about how you planned on using neon lighting? This is great and I love the results. Can’t wait for the next study! Keep them coming.

  3. Fernando Malen

    What a great idea – it will be fascinating exploring the different creative processes and background details from different designers. Looking forward to the next one!

  4. 01.19.2010

    I liked this identity from the moment I saw it.

    I appreciate that while Ruth and Glenn explored the idea varying color combinations, they decided on using the obvious choice. The selected colors work so well supporting the name and vice versa that I think the simple choice was the right one.

    I would like to know if the transparency is kept when used in black or is it solid? Also, when working on a personal project like this do you still write up a formal creative brief or is it more casual? Would like to know what other designers do in this case as well.

    Great first Study Ruth and Glen. Thanks.

  5. 03.04.2010

    I see someone already posted about Bausch + Lomb’s logo. I immediately thought of it when I saw the logo above. Here’s the link to an article about the B+L redesign on Pentagram’s website:

    • Ruth

      Just to clarify We are Him+Her was set up in Early 2009 and has been trading with this identity since then. We would love to think that the ‘B+L’ identity was ‘inspired’ by We are Him+Her.
      As Michael Johnson said ‘The difficulty with these cases is ascertaining whether something is the same idea that just happened to crop up twice, a well-meaning homage, or a blatant rip-off’.
      Each identity has a very different use, meaning and application, both identities have a valid creative platform for why the look like they do. You can not own an idea but you can own how you use it. Check out our website to see why it looks like it does and how it comes to life.

    • 04.08.2010

      Tristan, I know you did not imply that We are Him + Her were influenced by the Bausch + Lomb logo, you were simply pointing out a similarity. I do think if you looked though, you would be able to find a ‘similar’ solution to every logo out there. No doubt Ruth and Glenn were more surprised than any of us to see the new B+L logo!

    • 04.09.2010

      Yeah, I didn’t mean the idea was any sort of “rip off”. Just merely pointing out what seems to be a similar trend. Both logos have very different executions and evoke different emotions through color scheme, typography, and organization. B+L uses all verticals as one color, and horizontals as another, and achieves a very fresh, yet sterile look. We are Him & Her feels more chaotic, like order from chaos – the creative process.

  6. 04.08.2010

    Designing your own identity is an absolute nightmare. I think you have done a formidable job here. I think you have hit right on point what you wanted to achieve according your personal brief.
    I have found that doing identity work with a partner to be very challenging.
    I would like to know how you collaborated on this together without killing each other?

  7. Nicely done. I do agree that I have seen the trend before, so I wonder how well the logo design will age.