Sub-Brand Design: Three Methods
Article by Venessa Baez | February 22, 2018
Even though you want to set the sub-brand apart, you don't want to make it too different from your main brand. After all, your company name may be something that the public already recognizes. You just want to make sure people acknowledge that it’s the same great service or product, just wrapped up in a different packaging. But how do you do that?
If your company’s long term goals include any form of expansion, there’s a good chance that you may create a sub-brand. This is especially true if you’re going after new target audience, or just want to give a product or service a way to stand out.
A sub-brand is described as the child of a larger brand or “parent-brand”. It looks like the parent and may behave somewhat like the parent, but it’s still very different. As the sub-brand grows, it might want to develop its own identity and make its own friends. This is where developing well designed sub-branding can come in handy.
Even though you want to set the sub-brand apart, you don’t want to make it too different from your main brand. After all, your company name may be something that the public already recognizes. You just want to make sure people acknowledge that it’s the same great service or product, just wrapped up in a different packaging. But how do you do that?
Method 1: Color
This first method is probably the most self-explanatory. Some brands are recognizable by their color palettes. If you frequent Target, you may recognize that cherry red anywhere. Google has used the same four colors in the same sequence since it was first designed in 1999. While its daily Google Doodles may not be a sub-brand or separate company, the repeated use of those familiar colors and sequences make the logo recognizable as they’re represented in the Doodle.
If your existing brand already has recognizable colors, you may want to transfer those shades over to your sub-brand for increased recognition.
Method 2: Typefaces
Typefaces and font families are a huge part of designing for a sub-brand. As always, you’ll want to choose a font that aligns with the personality or emotion the brand should evoke in the consumer. iTunes is a sub-brand product of Apple, so you won’t see them using any heavy slab serifs. They still use the same lightweight sans-serif fonts.
Method 3: Iconography
One example of this method was used by Suncoast Credit Union. Suncoast is the largest credit union in the state of Florida. Three sub-brands of Suncoast are the Members Insurance Agency, Members Title Company, and Suncoast Realty Solutions
These three service organizations provide very specific services. But they are recognizable as sub-brands of Suncoast Credit Union due to their color palette.
Two of these organizations use the same sun brand mark as their parent-brand, but in different methods. In one variation, the mark is used as a sunset, but in the other, it’s completely deconstructed. But through both variations, the original mark is still recognizable.
Designing a sub-brand is pretty straightforward
So to keep it simple, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to designing for a sub-brand. Just take bits and pieces of what you already have and weave it through and you’ll have a recognizable sub-brand in no time.