The best rule to follow is to keep the image simple. Simple brand designs are easier to read and are less painful for the livestock.
A brand design consists of two or more symbols. Many brands have three units in the design. Few brands have more than three units.
Brands records include the design of the brand and its position on the livestock.
Left or right:
Brands are based on four kinds of marks, used alone or in combination.
- Letter of the alphabet
- Lines and circles
Tilting, tumbling or Toppling
Walking, with legs and feet on the bottom, but seldom on round or square-bottomed letters
Winged or flying
Running, denoted by curves
Lazy letters, lying face-up or face-down
Crazy, upside down
Combinations of letters may be joined
Lines and Circles
Bar: a short horizontal line that can be used at the top, bottom or middle of a brand
Rail: about twice as long as a bar, may have letters sitting or resting above it
Three rails are read as stripes
Four rails are read as pigpen
Diagonal lines are read as slashes
Diamond and a half
Open A, not half diamond
Box or square
Circle, or with letters, read as the “O”
A letter inside a circle is read as Circle Letter, such as Circle K, not O K
Mashed O or goose egg
Quarter circles can point in any direction as long as they stand by themselves
A quarter or half circle attached to the top of a letter or figure is read as swinging
A curved mark attached to the bottom of a letter is read as “rocking letter,” such as a rocking H
If reversed, lowercase h is attached at a curved mark, it is read as rocking chair
A letter above a quarter circle is read “letter quarter circle,” such as H quarter circle
The letters C and U often look like horseshoes
A cross with quarter circles at the ends of all 4 arms is called a “cross wrenches”
Three Cs joined by a bar is read as a “chain C”
Two Cs joined by a bar can be read “C bar C” or “lazy wrench”
Brands are read from left to right, top to bottom, from outside in.
Sometimes when the letters or symbols are joined, the word “connected” is included in the reading.
However, often the symbols are read as though they were separated by space.
For more information, please call the law enforcement department of Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, 800-242-7820. For Oklahoma, go to www.okcattleman.org.