As a designer, I often have to remind myself to not use design jargon when speaking with unfamiliar clients. Not every term I have used is familiar to clients so I am here to today to help bring clarity around logo variations and why they are important for you business.
The primary logo is the main identifying mark for your business. It’s like a trunk of a tree with the other types of logos and variations branching out from it. This is the one that is used the most and often is placed at the header of your website.
This is often referred to as an alternate logo. It uses elements of the primary logo arranged in a different composition. This provides your brand with more flexibility to use your logo in different design settings – such as in black and white or when you need something that will show up nicely in low resolution. It is also often more simple and compact than your main logo.
A submark can also be referred to as a watermark (especially if the brand identity is being created for a photographer). This final type of logo is the most simplified, compact mark of the logo family. For example, it often pulls in an icon or initials that can stand alone as an identifying mark. Submarks are handy to use as favicons, social media profile images, watermarks on images, and footers of websites. It is also great to use on interior pages for a pricing guide or ebook, so you are not pasting your logo on everything.
Each logo serves a unique purpose in how you are presenting your business. When you only have a primary logo, you’re sacrificing quality of design (because a big primary logo just isn’t going to look good shrunk down to fit your Instagram profile image) instead of having a seamless brand experience. The fact of the matter is this: having a full brand identity with a family of logos will serve your business much better and much more effectively for much longer.
I hope it helps you learn more about branding and how having several logo variations will make your branding versatile across all platforms, from digital to print.
Have any other terms you’re confused about? I’d love to help you understand those, too! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.