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Brandmark (Best Overview: All You Need To Know)

What is a brandmark?

What are some examples?

What is the difference between a bandmark and a logo?

We will define a brandmark, look at its differences with a brand, logo, trademark, we will look at examples, we’ll see brandmark logos and more.

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What is a brandmark

As the name suggests, a brandmark is a brand “mark”, image or symbol representing a brand.

A brandmark is not the same thing as a logo although the difference between them is not properly understood.

A logo is a visual representation or an image used by organizations along with their brand name.

Logos typically include words, colours and images to convey your business purpose and values to your customers and the world.

The colours evoke your audience’s emotions whereas the images evoke memories. 

Logos use a combination of images and words to fully describe your company and provide a complete description of your brand.

Let’s look at an example of a logo: 

Nike’s logo is the word “Nike” presented with a specific font and colour (eventually this logo was replaced by a “swoosh” that we’ll explain later in this article).

Brandmark - 3 Nike's logo

AT&T has a famous image of a globe recognized by millions used with the “AT&T” acronym.

Brandmark - 4 AT&T logo

Target has a red and white bulls-eye used with the word “Target”.

Brandmark - 5 Target logo

On the other hand, a brandmark comes in a variety of forms and can include parts of the logo, colours, pictures, images, icons, symbols, or other visual representations associated with a brand.

Consider a brandmark to be a logotype that speaks to your audience without using any words or text.

With brandmarks, you convey a meaning, message or feeling to your audience by stripping all text, letters and words from your logo.

Brankmarks are visual depictions conveying a message about your company, who you are, what you stand for or what you do without the use of any words or text.

Let’s look at Amazon’s brandmark example:

Amazon logo has a combination of its brand name written as “amazon.com” along with the image of a yellow arrow depicting a smile going from the letter “A” to “Z”.

Brandmark - 6 Amazon logo and brandmark

This logo was introduced in the year 2000 by Amazon and it allowed people to recognize the company back then.

Now, Amazon can only present the yellow arrow (stripping the brand name text) and it will still be immediately recognized.

The yellow arrow used alone is Amazon’s brand mark. 

The “yellow smile” or the “mark” is associated with the brand “amazon”.

The yellow smile conveys a message but not in words.

Let’s look at Nike’s brandmark example:

Nike’s famous brand mark, the “swoosh, “ has become its primary logo

The company has been so successful in building its swoosh brand mark that they no longer need to use text to be recognized around the world.

Nike’s initial logo:

Brandmark - 1 Nike logo

Nike’s brandmark (now its main logo):

To summarize what we’ve been discussing so far, the visual images used by a company conveying a message without using words is know as the company “marks” or “brandmarks”. 

Brandmarks are used along with the company logo and other identifiable text or images to build and maintain a company’s brand. 

A brand is more than just an image but an emotional connection with your audience or a feeling conveyed. 

As humans, we process images thousands of times faster than text and most of the information we consume in a day comes from images.

This makes it crucial for organizations to invest in their logo, brand marks, brand symbols, brandmark logo and so on.

Brandmark definition

To define brandmark, it’s important first to define a brand.

A brand is something over and above a logo, image or a visual depiction of a company.

A brand is what connects us with a particular company.

When we have an emotional connection with a company or when a company’s brand makes us feel a certain way, we are dealing with something profound and deep.

An athlete’s favourite brand may be that of Nike or Puma representing who they are instead of what just a product they have purchased.

When a company’s brand brings back memories to you, evokes emotions in you, makes you think or feel a certain way, you know that you are dealing with a brand and not just a product or service.

A brand can include a mark logo, brandmark, tag line, caption or any other visual or typographical element.

Now, a brandmark is the use of an image, visual representation, graphics or design that conveys the same feelings, memories, emotions and values as the brand itself without the use of any words.

Consider Apple’s brandmark:

With this image along, you can immediately recognize Apple as a computer or technology company.

To have a successful brand mark, you must have a strong brand.

Logo vs brandmark

A logo is a visual shorthand, image or graphical image associated with a brand helping people quickly associate the logo with a company.

Logos are designed to be permanent although they may be modified over time.

Effective logos are neatly designed and are visually appealing.

Many companies design their logo based on the current market trends, some are minimalistic, basic and others purely aesthetic.

A brandmark is the part of the brand that cannot be spoken.

It’s the unique combination of lettering, design, symbol, picture, image or visual representation associated with a brand.

A brandmark represents images, part of a logo, supportive elements to a brand name that conveys a message to your audience using just an image.

In some cases, a brandmark can be entirely different from a company’s logo and in other cases the brandmark is part of the logo’s image or characteristics.

Let’s look at Facebook as an example:

Facebook’s logo is the writing of the word “facebook” in blue and non-capitalized letters.

Brandmark - 8 Facebook logo

Facebook’s brand mark is something different allowing people to instantly recognize the company (the letter “f” in a blue square with round edges).

Brandmark - 9 Facebook brandmark

Successful companies with lots of brand equity can present their logo or brandmark and we’ll be able to make the association between the image and the company quickly.

Some companies have globally recognized logos or brandmarks such as Nike, McDonald’s, Apple, Starbucks or Amazon.

A new company like a startup will not have enough market recognition and brand equity to effectively be recognized using an image or brandmark alone.

To effectively use brand marks, it’s important to have a brand foundation without which a brandmark strategy may not give the intended result.

Brandmark features

You are dealing with a brandmark when you see the following features:

  • You only have an image, design or visual depiction of a brand
  • You do not have any text or words such as brand name, tag line or other information conveyed in words 
  • The image conveys an emotion
  • The image conveys positive feelings 
  • You can make a personal association with the brand such as values or meaning 
  • You immediately recognize the company by seeing the image alone

Brandmark vs trademark

A brandmark is the representation of a characteristic of a brand conveyed through an image or graphics alone.

Some companies have both a logo and a brandmark such as Facebook where its logo is the company’s name written in low caps while its brandmark is the letter “f” alone or in a circle or box.

The most successful brands have even adopted brandmark as their primary logo such as Nike using the swoosh as its primary logo (we call that a brandmark logo).

A trademark is any symbol, image, design, words or other visual depiction of a company legally registered and protected.

A trademark can include an image, phrase, word, symbol or insignia denoting a specific product and differentiating it from another product.

Typically, a trademark refers to a specific product or good owned by a company.

A trademark can include a corporate logo, slogan, tag line or branded product offered by a company.

The same explanation is true to nuance a logo vs trademark.

A logo is a combination of images, words, text or designs used by a company on a more permanent basis to represent the company to its audience.

The difference between a logo and a brandmark is that logos typically use a combination of text and images whereas brandmarks may be more often just images or little typographical representations. 

You can trademark a logo to afford it legal protection and prevent others from using it in a similar way using the same patterns, colours and design.

Brandmark FAQ

Brandmark FAQ

What does brandmark mean

A brandmark is how a company uses a visual element such as an image, symbol, graphics or any other type of visual representation to convey a characteristic of its brand, feeling, emotion or sentiment.

It’s the part of the brand that speaks to its audience without the use of words.

For example, Nike’s primary logo used to be the word “Nike” written using a specific font and with specific colours.

Its brandmark was the famous “swoosh”.

The swoosh is a visual representation of Nike as a company.

When you see the swoosh, you immediately recognize the company behind it.

Nike has successfully gained global recognition with this brandmark that it has turned the swoosh into its main company logo.

As such, Nike’s main logo is its brandmark.

To understand a brandmark logo, we need to understand the difference between a logo vs brandmark.

Typically, a logo includes the company name along with an image representing the company.

On the other hand, the brandmark is generally just an image and does not include any words or text.

The logo is usually the primary image used to identify a company or brand and a brandmark is like second in line.

However, in some cases, the brandmarks become synonymous with the brand and the companies in question have adopted their brandmark as their primary logo. 

A case in point is Nike who now uses the swoosh as its main logo.

In essence, a brandmark logo is when a company uses a brandmark (an image without text) as its logo.

Business blog - Brandmark
Editorial Staff
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer by trade and an entrepreneur by spirit. I specialize in law, business, marketing, and technology (and love it!). I'm an expert SEO and content marketer where I deeply enjoy writing content in highly competitive fields. On this blog, I share my experiences, knowledge, and provide you with golden nuggets of useful information. Enjoy!

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