Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar initially formed their partnership in the late 1950s, over the following years their work has remained consistent in their approach in design. They have sought to humanize that ideal through humour, artistic invention, and an entrepreneurial spirit. As their firm evolved over the years, they have operated under various versions of the Chermayeff & Geismar name. Many exceptionally talented partners and associates have contributed greatly to the projects undertaken. Finding relationships, as Ivan Chermayeff has said, is what graphic design is all about. It is also what poetry is about—analogy, simile, metaphor, meaning beyond meanings, images beyond images. In the work of Chermayeff and Geismar, images are words, have meanings, communicate. They make visual images that are graphic poetry.
Michael Wolf and Wally Olins founded the company in 1965. From 1965 to the early 1990s, Wolff Olins played a central part in developing the art of corporate identity. From the 1990s onwards, Wolff Olins focused more on branding, particularly corporate branding. Wolff Olins has a very polished veneer, it does not let you in to see the under workings of its company, it is faceless most likely due to its size, as it employs up to 180 people. Wolff Olins approach to design stems through the idea of being inventive which then follows through with expression, transformation, brand-led innovation and ambition. Wolff Olins believes in helping clients break away from the competition and becoming unique, not one of many but one of one.