Are Your Logos Fighting with Each Other? Discover Brand Hierarchy

Whether it’s an event or a new program, chances are you need a logo. Making decisions about how elements of your organization visually relate to each other is called brand hierarchy. The goal is to connect your program or event to your organization as a whole, and a logo is the perfect place to start.

But that’s where the questions begin.

Should I replicate my existing logo? Should I create something completely different? Should I try to combine specific themes?

There are endless possibilities in logo design. Choosing the right path can seem daunting, especially when the main goal is to create a cohesive brand.

However, when your goal is to create a logo system, there are four main routes you can explore when stumped with the daunting task of developing brand hierarchy.

Individual

Some of the most popular parent brands (think Proctor & Gamble) utilize an Individual logo hierarchy. In this system, the parent company has their own logo and each brand underneath them has a completely different logo. The logos in this system are not connected at all. They each have different elements in terms of typography, icons, colors, etc..

An individual style has proven to work well for many large companies and corporations. However, it can also cause disconnection between the parent company and their brands. People may not realize that your organization is behind your programs or brands if there is not a clear connection.

Mom’s Quit Connection is a well known resource for quitting smoking while pregnant, but few associate it with the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative that runs it. This can work perfectly for sub-brands that stand on their own, but others may benefit from a more integrated hierarchy.

Masterbrand

The Masterbrand strategy is essentially the opposite of the Individual strategy. In this strategy, the parent company’s logo is replicated for their smaller entities with little change. There may be slight differences in the colors or words but larger changes, such as in font or style, do not happen.

This strategy works well if the parent organization has an established reputation in your community. Attaching your smaller brands or projects to your organization in this way could allow for that reputation to trickle down and benefit those smaller entities. Tying everything together visually creates repetition that builds recall. The overall brand image becomes pervasive and creates greater impact.

This strategy is being used by hospitals and universities. No longer is it the Fox School of Business at Temple University, but Temple University, Fox School of Business. By aligning both the words and visual structure to prioritize the Masterbrand, these entities are working to capitalize on the idea the the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Endorsed

If you feel neither the Individual nor Masterbrand strategies will work for your organization, you may want to consider an Endorsed strategy. In this strategy, each smaller entity within an organization will have their own logo, however, the organization’s name will be attached to the smaller entities’ design.

Marriott deploys this strategy well among their various hotel chains. While each chain has their own logo, “Marriott” is always attached to the logos in the same serif font. This strategy creates both cohesiveness and individuality.

Visually Associated

Much like an Endorsed strategy, a Visually Associated strategy allows each individual entity to still have freedom in style but keeps common traits between the program and the parent organization.

In this strategy, the parent company name may not be attached but there’s one or more specific elements in the logo that connects them together. This may be a common color palette, the use of brand fonts or a graphic element. Say your organization is strongly connected to a specific icon, such as a leaf, it can be incorporated into the designs of smaller projects without being the same as the parent organization’s.

Need help deciding what hierarchy strategy is best for you? Give us a call at 267-468-7949 or drop us a line at info@iriscreative.com!