Design studios Williams Murray Hamm (WMH) and Identica have announced a merger to create the newly formed WMH&I.
The new consultancy, which opens today, will be led by a board comprising members of the two former studios. WMH’s Garrick Hamm will be creative director, while Wybe Magermans will act as growth and development director.
Identica’s Carol Lavender will serve as managing director, while Chris Cleaver will take up the position of strategy and planning director.
The two studios have worked collaboratively over the past few years; they are both members of cross-agency network Branded group. The new consultancy will work from WMH’s studio at London’s Dallington Street.
“Having worked together successfully over the past four years we are now cementing our relationship and look forward to this next exciting chapter for us and our clients,” Lavender says. “Both agencies have a long tradition of creating truly iconic brands.”
The combined team comprises around 30 team members, and there will be no restructuring for existing staff. WMH&I is looking to recruit more staff in the coming period, according to Lavender.
Skill sharing and future focus
The merger aims to broaden both studios’ output. “There were elements within Identica that WMH didn’t have, for example craft and production know-how,” Magermans says. “The way we approached [those projects] was sometimes different, and that was where the marriage was great.”
Designers from both studios have previously been seconded to either studio. Magermans adds: “It’s a future-looking merger – and the sensible and exciting thing to do.”
WMH’s Adaptive team – which focuses on broader identity roll-outs and packaging – will be integrated into the new consultancy. Future areas of focus include social media content creation and moving image design, according to Magermans.
“When we can’t be in stores and out in the real world, there’s been a great focus on social media content,” he adds. “We’ve done a multitude of shoots to give brands assets and content during this period.”
As well as growing these sectors, the new studio will be focusing on digital. Recent projects for Identica include the rebrand of crystal company Waterford, while WMH created the identity for e-fluid Castrol On.
The two consultancies last year worked together on a pitch for two Network Rail campaigns, where WMH focused on moving image and Identica more on production.
Recently, WMH won the pitch to rebrand Chinese phone company Honor, which was previously owned by Huawei. The new identity will seek to distinguish the brand from its past owner as it expands its profile in China and Russia, according to Magermans.