Brand Suite Break Down + What are sub-marks?
10 seconds, that's how quickly a first impression can form after interacting with a logo or business. With such a short window of opportunity, it's vital that your brand is represented in the most cohesive and visually memorable way possible, whether it's placed on printed products or experienced through digital media. In order to accomplish branding across multiple platforms, it's common for logo designers to provide a full Brand Suite of graphics. A Brand Suite can include a main logo, logo variations, sub-marks, and more! Let's dive into what and why each piece of a Brand Suite is necessary:
The Main Logo holds each component of your brand story in one place. It is the foremost element that each piece draws from. Let's take a look at "The Pink House on Thames" Brand Suite. Featured in the images above, the Main Logo displays a detailed house with a distinct border, fonts, and pineapple accents. The brand story goal here is to show the audience a pink vacation home on Thames street. The pineapples are a well known symbol of welcome especially in Newport, RI where this vacation home is located. You can read each component of that story from this main logo. If you look at the rest of the suite, you will notice how the variations and sub-marks highlight elements from the main logo in a summarized form. This maintains a professional presence and strong brand cohesion. The entire suite has a consistent tone because each piece is reminiscent of the Main Logo.
The Main Logo sets the standard for the entire suite and encompasses the visual representation of the brand in its entirety, through each component - i.e. full text and all graphic pieces. It provides an instant impression to the audience.
Logo Variations: Word Marks & Logo Marks
Logo Variations are key elements to molding a brand with different shapes and sizes. Physically, a full Main Logo does not always fit the dimension of a certain platform. For example, say you are developing a web page for your services and need to place your logo in the horizontal space at the top of the page (the Header). However, your new logo is vertical. Here's where a logo variation steps in!
Look at the image of Logo Variations above, they both resemble the Main Logo, but with varying compositions to fit in more compact places. Don't hesitate to request a specific composition of a logo variation from your designer - especially if you already know it will need to fit into certain dimensions.
Often Logo Variations are slightly simplified versions of the Main Logo - such as a Word Mark: just the text part of your logo. You could also use a Logo Mark: just the graphic icon part of your logo.
Various applications for Logo Variations are websites, brick and mortar signage, vehicle signage, letterheads, and product packaging.
Sub-marks are a bite size version of the Main Logo. Quickly becoming my favorite part of the Brand Suite, sub-marks are quaint, compact, and very trendy! They are perfect to use as image watermarks, favicons (the small icon next to the url in the web browser), or email signatures.
Sub-marks are a brilliantly subtle way to give your audience a brief reminder of who you are, while piquing interest to learn more. When we begin to recognize an icon, especially one seen in an image, we are instantly drawn to check it out and discover more information! Here's a quick example, think about the signature whale of Vineyard Vines brand - you know the one! It's small, but recognizable - even people who aren't familiar with the brand have seen this smiling pink whale with the navy blue outline and instantly recognize it. That whale is commonly used as a brand sub-mark on clothing and accessories - even without text or additional graphics!
Sub-marks are easy to use for displaying a nod to your Main Logo while still maintaining a strong brand presence. Think of it like quoting a fun snippet of your favorite movie or song to a friend - they instantly get the joke or start singing along! Sub-marks can have the same influence because of their versatility. They are excellent for stickers, apparel, stationary, business cards, and promo materials.
Here's the real question: do you actually need all these logo components?
Yes! It makes a dramatic difference in the professionalism and cross-platform representation of your brand. Each of these components contribute to building your brand's visual presence. A brand is not simply a logo graphic; it encompasses how your audience feels when interacting with your product or service. A brand is the essence of your company. A logo is the visual representation of your brand's story. Why not present the whole story? Share the complete dialogue of your brand with your audience through a full Brand Suite.
If you're interested in building your own Brand Suite, I would be happy to help!
Let's connect and develop a visual representation of your brand story together.
Lead Designer + Owner
Live Edge Graphic Design