top of page

Branding: When one size does not fit all.

We love branding. But within large organizations, a “one-size-fits-all” brand doesn’t always work for everyone involved.

Umbrella brands can leave certain departments hindered by brand guidelines. These departments or segments can get left in the shadows, never truly able to connect with their audience. That’s a darn shame!

So, what can you do when the bigger brand doesn’t fit your department, needs or audience?

First of all, know that you don’t have to be stuck.

You can have a unique identity that is part of the larger brand, meets your particular needs and gets approved by higher-ups. Within even strict brand guidelines, there are possibilities for your department!

At GDLOFT, we love finding this sweet spot, and helping under-represented departments shine. Here are some situations where branding-within-the-brand was necessary, and how we helped.

You might need to get creative within the brand guidelines if:

The overall brand doesn’t really fit your department. Your department is different from the others. Yet, when the big brand got created, they didn’t really think about you or your audience. You got swept into the pile. Now your department is trying to use branding that isn’t quite relevant. Does your department get left behind inside the existing branding? Is your in-house design team not quite getting it? We can help.

The University of the Arts Continuing Education Department was getting lost within their umbrella brand, which wasn’t geared towards their audience: teens and working professionals. How could they fit within their brand and still be represented accurately? We helped them interpret their brand guidelines to fit their needs.

You need to stand apart, and raise your profile. Your department has taken on a life of its own—but it can’t really thrive under the same visuals as everybody else. Do you need to separate your department from the brand? How do you become an individual or stand out within a brand when brand guidelines encourage sameness? We can help.

The Department of Art & Design at University of Delaware is a top-notch art school. They had their own new building, and an appealing curriculum—but they were blending in, under their collegiate master brand. How could they stand out and attract art students who might not be drawn to the existing UD brand? How could they shine as an art school? We helped to set them apart.

You have something new, and your existing brand needs to expand.

Your brand was working just fine, but then you added a new initiative. How can this initiative truly succeed and get represented efficiently? We can help.

Campus Compact had an existing brand that worked, but then they started a series of conferences. How could each conference have its own identity, yet still fit into and support the larger brand? We needed to create consistency, and the ability for expansion as these conferences grew.

More examples of branding within a brand:

Housing Rutgers Newark was doing so much, but they got lost in a bigger brand that didn’t represent them. We created a micro-ad campaign for student housing that respected the bigger brand, yet spoke clearly. Go >>

PHL Participatory Design Lab was part of the City of Philadelphia, but the city’s branding wasn’t capable of clearly representing their unique department which helps other departments. Our animated logo reflects the interconnected nature of their department to others, and progresses as their involvement does. Go >>

AIGA Space was a physical gallery space. While AIGA had a brand for its chapters to use, this physical space wasn’t a chapter. How could this gallery space have its own identity? Our abstract symbols represented the usage of space, and fit within the bigger AIGA brand. Go >>

Getting approved matters! We’ve got you.

Sure, it’s great to create a brand-within-a-brand that gets you noticed—but only if it will get approved! When dealing within brand guidelines, there may be some red tape. No worries—we’ll help you navigate it.

At GDLOFT, we think within the guidelines, but outside the box! We’ve worked in agencies and in-house, so we know the fine balance that needs to be achieved, and how we can utilize these parameters to your benefit.

Time to rise above a brand that isn’t serving you—while still playing by the rules? Let’s get creative.


bottom of page