&Walsh’s Supershe identity takes inspiration from women’s empowerment throughout history
Jessica Walsh tells It’s Nice That about her agency’s latest project, which loudly defies the pastel-dominated world of female-targeted brands.
- Jenny Brewer
- 9 April 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Supershe started out as a women’s only private island off the coast of Helsinki, founded by Kristina Roth in 2018 to offer a wellbeing retreat for women to find empowerment through community. The hefty price tag of a visit, however, excluded a huge proportion of women that might need its benefits most, so Roth set out to make a virtual version in the form of an app. And who better to visualise that world than Jessica Walsh? The designers and her team at &Walsh have created the branding, strategy and merch, taking inspiration from women’s marches throughout history, while being sure to avoid – in fact purposely oppose – any cliches of the sector.
“In our strategy phase, we found that many women's groups advocate for women’s empowerment from a prescribed angle,” Walsh tells us. “Success is often defined by being a girl boss, maximising productivity and learning how to have it all. Self-care is often defined with face masks, yoga retreats and wine. While this is what success and self-care looks like to some women, it is not what it looks like for everyone. The mission is to bring women together to help one another gain confidence in our own paths in life.” Through the early research phase, Walsh and her team found many visual identities in this sphere used pastel colours, so looked to go the opposite direction with a colour palette of red, black and white.
Likewise, the type aims to be ‘bold and loud,” maintaining a sense of character and drawing inspiration from women’s protest posters. “We started by thinking about some of the core moments of women’s empowerment during the 20th century. The women’s suffrage movement was such an incredible display of women coming together to lift one another up. In researching this time period, we were struck by the beautiful hand made posters that were used during marches and parades. Of these posters, we were drawn to the bold sans serif and italic hand-painted lettering that carried strong messages.” The branding therefore uses Bureau Grot from Font Bureau, a bold serif with lots of range of styles, paired with a custom brush script font that brings a more personal, handcrafted aspect.
Adding personality throughout is a bank of punchy illustrations by Anthony Eslick, Matthew Roop, Niege Borges, Yeji Park, Yeseul Oh and Zak Tebbal, whose characters pop up with attitude, flowing locks, muscles, stubble and excellent outfits. Though created by a group of different artists, Walsh set stylistic constraints to ensure the final group looked “united in their visual language… an illustration style unique to SuperShe”. The results are a huge resource of hundreds of illustrations and icons for the brand to deploy at their will.
One of the places they really come to life for Walsh is the merch. “The illustrations allowed us to make unique personalisations to embody different personalities or interests. With the merch, we loved playing with the duality concept, the idea that we are all multidimensional. From the copy to the types of merch, this was such an exciting way to express the brand’s overarching strategy.”
Gallery&Walsh: Supershe identity
&Walsh: Supershe identity