HBO asked us to build a brand for Human By Orientation — their platform for queer communities.

We partnered with them to create the brand from the ground up; developing a new strategy, visual identity and tone of voice — all designed to help people celebrate their proudest, queerest selves.

HBO came to us with a name, and an idea

To start, we delved into the landscape the brand needed to sit in. We carried out visual and verbal audits of brands who speak to the same audience. And, unusually, we didn't carry out a competitor audit because Human By Orientation currently stands alone in what it offers.

Understanding this landscape helped us shape how Human By Orientation could stand out and capture the attention of queer people in the US.

HBO Human by Orientation brand rainbow scale
HBO Human by Orientation brand discovery deck

We compiled all our findings and insights into a discovery report that showed HBO where the opportunities were — including a detailed exploration of how various brands use Gilbert Baker’s iconic rainbow flag.

The queer community is fluid — our brand welcomes anyone and everyone who is part of it

Next, we developed the strategic foundation of the brand

The growing COVID-19 pandemic forced us to rethink our plans for the next phase of work — in particular, our plan to hold in-person workshops. We changed tact and ran a series of digital workshops with the HBO team instead. We nailed down answers to fundamental questions about the brand, including defining their personality, values and purpose.

During the workshops, we hit upon a key insight. In the face of significant challenges, queer people in the US are increasingly confident about living their lives in public. This led us to our brand purpose: “to celebrate our proudest, queerest selves.”

This purpose became the rallying cry for everything that followed.

HBO Human by Orientation event
HBO Human by Orientation live event

The team were all so warm and kind. The result exceeded my wildest expectations, and I eagerly await the chance to work with them again.

Blaise Preau, Director of Multicultural Marketing at HBO

HBO Human by Orientation event poster designs

Human By Orientation events bring queer audiences together to celebrate who they are and build a community around the brand.

HBO Human by Orientation billboard poster design

We developed a celebratory sound and look — with a rainbow-evolving feel

After exploring what visuals Human By Orientation’s personality, values and purpose inspired, we presented four creative concepts. Ultimately, we settled on “blurring the lines”: a route that celebrates fluidity. It symbolises how you don’t need to define your orientation or gender. You can be proudly queer without giving yourself a label.

The colour palette is an evolution of the rainbow flag, blurring the defined lines that usually separate each colour. The idea of fluidity and energetic movement is reflected in the upward angle of the rainbow gradients, which give a sense of momentum.

HBO Human by Orientation Instagram stories

With the visual identity in place, we explored Human By Orientation’s tone of voice. We created a celebratory voice that was built from the same guiding principles as the visual identity — linking back to the personality and purpose.

Then we created a system for both the visual identity and tone of voice to make sure the brand had the adaptability it needed to exist in lots of different contexts, while always staying true its sense of celebration.

HBO Human by Orientation branding designs for t-shirts, lanyards, totes, phone covers
HBO Human By Orientation Spotify playlist on a mobile device
HBO Human by Orientation branding bike design
HBO Human by Orientation typography design
HBO Human by Orientation mobile icon design
HBO Human by Orientation website design

Human By Orientation launched with HBO’s 2020 digital Pride celebration

The Human by Orientation campaign was covered by Deadline, Fast Company and Variety, notching up over 1.4 billion impressions within the first 24 hours after launch. Our work for HBO was also the subject of a feature article in Creative Review.

HBO Human by Orientation screens showing the virtual pride activation by Lupine Creative

Some scenes from Human By Orientation’s virtual pride activation, produced by Lupine Creative.

HBO Human By Orientation streaming on HBO Max
HBO Human by Orientation tote bag branding
HBO Human by Orientation pin badge designs
Brand playbook for HBO Human by Orientation brand developed by Human After All

We created an inspiring brand playbook to empower future teams to build on-brand campaigns and communications.