In-house versus contractor

I work for a large organization as the in-house designer. We are required to follow guidelines for our identity put forth by an external design agency that they made for us 4 years ago. However now we have certain needs that weren’t considered in the guidelines. Specifically, we now have a large department that requires an identity that’s more kid and family friendly rather than the very sleek and professional identity that has been put forth. My question is, is it alright for me as the in-house designer to play off the larger identity’s elements and create a kid-friendly identity including a new logo? We can’t hire the design agency again (they initially helped us pro-bono) and the original agreement doesn’t say anything that covers any of this. Any help is appreciated, thank you!

The only answer is to talk to your boss. If you feel that putting together a presentation will help, maybe that as well, but be careful of what you do on and off the clock until you have some idea how receptive the boss is to spending the time. If they can’t hire the design agency, they may not want you working on billable time either.

If you are asking if you can use elements of YOUR OWN corporate identity without consulting the original designers, in the US, that usually goes without saying. Not sure what kind of design company does a branding package pro-bono, nor do we know what the terms of the agreement were and what strings might be attached to that. Most designers do not hold identity graphics hostage against future work, but I’ve seen some strangely written contracts. If you are a large organization, perhaps there is an attorney available?

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