What is a Secondary and Sub-mark Logo?

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Explore the roles of secondary and sub-mark logos in our informative blog post. Learn their unique benefits, when to use them, and how they contribute to a cohesive and effective brand identity. Boost your branding strategy today!

Using your logo consistently and frequently forms a recognizable and memorable visual identity. But what happens when you have to stretch, crop or resize your logo to fit? The answer: you are damaging your visual identity.

In this post we are going to talk about how you can create a consistent visual identity with the flexibility of three different logos: primary, secondary, and a sub-mark logo.

Your Prominent Brand Representative: The Primary Logo

The Primary Logo is the main graphic representing your brand, used most frequently across various platforms and materials. It lends potential consumers an initial impression of your brand, setting up paving the way for future interactions.

The purpose of the primary logo is to communicate effectively- who you are, what you offer, and where you operate. Often times, this logo includes your company's tagline, website or even geographical location. The primary logo prominently features the full name of the business and is used extensively. Thus, its design must convincingly encapsulate the essence of your business, remaining significant and easily legible, irrespective of how large it is reproduced.

  • Used most of the time
  • Includes full business name
  • May include tagline, website, or geographic location

Examples of Primary Logos:

Eight examples of primary logo designs

The Adaptable Variant: The Secondary Logo

The Secondary Logo is a simplified version of the primary logo. The objective behind this variant is to retain the essence of the primary logo while providing flexibility for use across diverse applications where the primary logo may not be suitable.

The secondary logo preserves the primary logo's spirit by staying true to its foundational components, but it flexes to make the design simpler and resize-friendly. The business name is, typically, still included. The secondary logo comes to the fore when your primary logo might appear overly complex or cluttered when resized, specifically for online use.

  • Simplified design & text
  • Used only when the logo is resized small
  • Includes full business name

Examples of Secondary Logos:

Eight examples of secondary logo designs

Symbolizing Your Brand: The Sub-mark or Icon Logo

Essence lies in simplicity, and that fact resonates well in the realm of logos via a Sub-mark or Icon logo. This logo strips down to the bare minimum, purging text and complex elements, leaving only an icon or a simple graphic to represent the brand.

The sub-mark usually excludes the business name text altogether, instead opting for simple graphical elements, shapes or icons that symbolize the brand. It is frequently used when the design must fit into tiny scales or when you want to establish quick brand recognition.

  • Commonly used online and on social media
  • Used when logo is resized to tiny formats
  • Includes single letter(s), number(s), or symbol

Example of Submark or Icon Logos:

Eight sub mark logo designs

Detailing with Text: The Logotype Logo

A Logotype, as the name suggests, revolves around typography. Also known as wordmark, it is a logo where the brand name itself, through its text, becomes the hero. This type of logo prominently features the brand's name in stylized typography and relies on distinctive font treatments to express the brand's personality.

Logotypes are a perfect fit when the brand has a unique, catchy name that’s easy to remember. Some world-renowned examples include Google, Coca-Cola, or FedEx. The power of logotype logos lies in their simplicity and directness. However, it's the design team's job to stylize the text to communicate the brand's ethos aptly, considering factors like font choice, color scheme, letter spacing, and capitalization.

Examples of Logotype logos:

Five examples of logotype word mark logos

Do you need logotype version of your logo?

The necessity for a logotype logo largely depends on the unique requirements of your brand. If you have a distinctive, catchy brand name that's easy to remember, a logotype logo can be an effective branding tool. It uses typography to create an instantly recognizable visual of your brand name. That said, it's important to consider that such logos require careful design, considering factors like font choice, color scheme, and letter spacing, and capitalization, to truly encapsulate and communicate your brand's ethos.

Why you need more than one logo:

We have all been there, desperately trying to squish our logos into profile images, business cards, and various marketing materials. Your primary logo may be wonderful, but if it isn’t flexible, then you may be damaging your brand identity.

A squished, blurry logo does not communicate the right message. To build a strong brand, you must have a brand identity that translates well online, in print, and on merchandise. It is rare that one logo style can meet all your needs, so consider expanding your brand to include a secondary and sub-mark logo.

Three business cards with logos on it leaning on wall

Can I DIY my logos or purchase premade templates?

It's essential to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of DIYing your logo or purchasing a premade template. While it might seem tempting to create your own logo or choose a ready-made template, these shortcuts can lead to numerous issues for your business in the long run.

  1. Legal Issues with Trademarks: When using a premade logo template or crafting a logo by yourself without any professional guidance, you might inadvertently create a logo that resembles those in use by other businesses. This similarity can lead to potential legal issues when attempting to trademark your brand. A unique, custom-made logo by design experts ensures that these legal complications are avoided.
  2. Costly Brand Identity Challenges: DIYing a logo or utilizing a premade template might seem economical at first glance, but it could ultimately result in expansive brand identity challenges. These hurdles can stem from the fact that a logo, created without a thorough understanding of your business goals, might not genuinely represent your brand's essence. Overcoming these challenges might require reinvesting more time, effort, and financial resources into rebranding and logo redesign.
  3. Delayed Brand Recognition: If your logo is generic or too similar to those of other businesses, it can be difficult to establish strong brand recognition among your target audience. This lack of recognition could lengthen the time it takes to gain a solid customer base and brand loyalty. Developing a distinctive logo tailored to your brand's ethos and values is critical for quicker brand development and market penetration.
  4. Missing Strategic Insight: A professional design team possesses experience and deep insight into crafting logos that create an emotional connection with your target audience. By DIYing your logo, you risk missing these strategic advantages. A well-thought-out design can significantly elevate how your brand resonates with your audience, ultimately driving sustained customer engagement and loyalty.

Before creating the logo, it is crucial to have a well-defined target market. Defining your target market is essential to craft a logo that appeals to the right customers and strengthens your brand identity. If you need guidance on identifying your target audience, checkout our post on defining your target market.

While DIYing your logo or using premade templates might seem more straightforward and cost-effective, the risks outweigh the benefits. Investing in professionally designed, custom-made logos ensures your brand avoids legal issues, reduces the cost associated with brand identity challenges, expedites brand recognition, and utilizes strategic insight to establish a deeper connection with your target market. A unique, well-designed logo lays the foundation for a robust and long-lasting brand identity.

Last Updated:
December 13, 2023

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