Creating Logos for a Brand Family

May 1st 2018

Take a look at the process and strategy behind the new branding of Adpearance and Foureyes and pick up tips on how to design logos for your brand portfolio.

This month, our internal marketing team revealed the culmination of several months’ work in developing a brand foundation for Adpearance and additional design for our intelligent sales platform, Foureyes. As luck would have it, the new branding rollout corresponded with our move from teams dispersed across several offices into one large space and our new digs, Field Office. The physical re-unification of our teams mirrored many of our internal marketing goals. Adpearance and Foureyes are now under one roof—literally and figuratively.

The Brand Relationship Spectrum

First, a bit of history. In the beginning, Adpearance was a digital marketing agency that was also creating a proprietary technology, Foureyes®, in-house. In order to develop Foureyes and focus on bringing the product to market, Foureyes went through an incubation period. During this period of isolation from Adpearance, Foureyes came to feel like a stand-alone entity. It didn’t help matters that the team behind Foureyes also moved to a separate office space. At the beginning of 2018, we made it our goal to reunify Adpearance and Foureyes. Where previously Foureyes was a small portion of Adpearance, today both brands are weighted equally and are much like the flip sides of a coin.

The brand relationship between Adpearance and Foureyes isn’t a new one, and if your company has a similar structure of a parent brand and sub-brands, you may also be aware of the challenges of trying to establish and scale a cohesive brand strategy. Perhaps your company is a capital equipment company that recently merged or acquired a new brand. Or you work for an auto group with separate dealerships for each OEM.

In his paper The Brand Relationship Spectrum: The Key to the Brand Architecture Challenge, Erich Joachimstaler explains brands become increasingly more complex as they develop over time. In the graphic below, Joachimstaler outlines 4 strategies and 9 sub-strategies for how parent brand and sub-brands are associated.

Image Source

Identifying where your brand would fall on this spectrum is one of the first steps in determining how you can establish recognizable, distinguishable brand identities that lend themselves to the experience of the customer.

What's right for my company?

Some questions to ask yourself as you develop a branding strategy for multiple companies include:

  • How do the objectives of each of my brands relate? How are they dissimilar?
  • How strongly should sub-brands be associated with the parent brand?
  • How important is it for a customer of Brand A to know about Brand B?
  • How will changing the branding of a business impact its consumer awareness?
  • Will the visual branding and marketing messaging be inclusive enough to scale in the future should the company expand?
  • What differentiates you from your competition? Does your branding need to follow certain aesthetics of your industry?  

Brand Family Logos

In our own story, we asked ourselves, “How do the Adpearance and Foureyes brands relate? How do our clients and customers interact with each brand? And how do we express that visually?

When it comes to setting the visual identity for a suite of brands, the logo is the first thing that comes to mind and can often be the most challenging. How similar should each sub-brand logo be? Should the sub-brand logos include the parent brand logo or name in some way? How will the visual identity scale if new brands are added?

Brands like FedEx and Virgin established a highly similar set of logos for their family of companies.

With Adpearance and Foureyes, we wanted separate but complementary branding for each one. The old Adpearance logo was updated with the same font used in Foureyes’ logo and each brand was given a new logomark the same shape as a container.

Not only did the end result lend itself to a more cohesive visual identity, but it also established a framework for future sub-brands or brand extensions.

Creative examples of Airbnb's Bélo icon

Creating a Scalable Icon

Inspired by the creativity fueled by Airbnb's redesigned icon, our team also looked to the shape unifying Adpearance's and Foureye's new logo as a way to further extend our branding. 

In 2014, Airbnb released a redesign of their logo and the introduction of a new icon, nicknamed “The Bélo”. The icon is an abstraction of three principles—People, Places, and Love—that have been blended into a single “A” shape. As part of the new branding relaunch, artists generated dozens of graphics based on the Bélo, echoing the brand values of the company.

Similarly, we use the shape that creates the logomark of each to generate additional branding for Adpearance and Foureyes. Through repetition, scaling, and rotation, we can now make graphics and collateral that build brand recognition.

Examples of graphics created using the Adpearance/Foureyes shape

Take on Your Logo Re-Design

When re-designing the logo for your family of dealerships or companies, starting with an honest conversation about the past, current, and future company goals and relationship between brands will aid in setting the strategy and goals of your new logo or logos. Then, focus on developing and rolling out your brand guidelines for the best results.


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