Do you know what submark logos are? This is a brand asset that many of our clients get confused about. In episode #44, we broke down all the crazy brand jargon out there, like submarks, brand assets, and collateral… so tune into that to hear more because today, we are just focusing on this one.
We’re going to chat about what a submark is, the benefits of having one, and our rules around creating submarks.
What is a Submark Logo?
A submark logo, as its name suggests, is a less detailed version of your main logo… a Sub. Mark. Your main logo may not fit comfortably in every situation, and that is where your submark comes in. A submark is designed to maintain brand recognition and consistency but is often used in situations where the full logo might be too large or detailed. It doesn’t replace your main logo; it’s meant to add a little more fun to your brand.
What are Some Benefits of Having a Submark?
First, it gives your brand consistency when your main logo can’t fit in certain spaces. An example is Instagram. The profile picture is tiny, and sometimes your main logo doesn’t fit in that space. A submark can be used there and still represent your brand.
They’re also so fun! Submark logos can be animated and playful, and enhance your brand’s personality. You can break some rules when it comes to your brand! Your main logo needs to be professional and be the face of your brand, while a submark can be a fun, playful thing that comes in and elevates your brand. You don’t usually get that from a main logo.
Our “Rules” for Creating Submark Logos
Before you go off creating fun submarks for your brand, think about these “rules” for submarks we created. Don’t worry; we don’t have too many because submarks are meant to be fun!
1. Have fun, but don’t go overboard.
Your submarks should still absolutely leverage the same colors, fonts, and patterns defined within your brand, but they can be more playful. You can use abbreviations and taglines. You don’t need to communicate everything in these marks like you might have to in your main logo.
You don’t need to use everything in your brand kit. Although it can be a fun element to your brand, overdoing it will have the opposite effect: overwhelm! It can be seen as inconsistent and confusing for your brand.
Also, be careful with how many submark logos you have. That can also confuse people. We recommend having no more than five, then use them strategically and playfully throughout your brand.
2. Your submark needs to compliment your main logo.
They shouldn’t feel like two different things. It should feel like your logo had a baby. We’ve already said this, but it needs to be consistent with your brand. This includes colors, fonts, shapes, patterns, etc. If someone were to go from your social media to your website and see the submarks, it would make sense for them. They understand it’s the same brand.
3. Don’t overuse your submark.
There is a time and place for your main logo vs. your submark. Your main logo is for people who are meeting you for the first time. They’re just meeting you and understanding your brand, so you don’t want to give them this crazy submark where they can’t define who you are. Don’t ignore your main logo because of how much you love your submarks!
How can you use your submarks in the everyday?
Once you have your submarks, how do you use them? This is something we see people struggle with! So here are a few ideas of how you can use your submarks in your everyday business life.
- Branded apparel and collateral
- Social media profile (however, we love to see your face on Instagram if you are a solopreneur or Duo!)
- Website favicon: This is now pretty loud when you visit a search page like Google. Tune into episode #81 to hear how the search engine experience is changing.
- Wallpaper in your office
- Course content
- Business cards
We’ve even had clients use their submarks for beer cans, food paper, and flyers. A party brand we worked on used it to wrap their trailer and for branded “uniform” apparel from hats to shirts!
Main Logo and Submark Examples
Brittnie Renee | Photography & Coaching
Brittnie was aiming to portray a sense of adventure through her rebrand. We included fun elements like the stars to achieve that goal. Then, in the submarks, we kept the stars and added rays to compliment her main logo. Containing submarks in circles helps to keep things simple and easy to read. We condensed her name to “BR” so the submark can be used in smaller spaces.
My Pop Up Party | Party Planning
This was such a fun brand to work on! We played with a lot of colors in their submarks but kept the main logo simple and easy to read. Waves and repeating words can be a fun and easy way to create a submark. Circle text is a visually interesting way to bring in the brand name, plus a tagline. The stacked brand name in multiple different blocks of colors is also a fun way to bring in color and make the brand name bigger.
What Sara Said | Website Copywriter
Because she is a creative copywriter, one of the playful elements of her submarks is incorporating the speech icon with her brand name in it. This is very unique to her and her business and makes her stand out. This is another example of a wave of multiple colors to compliment the fun personality of her brand. Stacking her brand name initials while incorporating multiple brand colors is yet another way to make the submark large while still on brand with her colors and the short version of her brand name.
Now, you might be asking yourself… “Shoot, I only have a main logo. Can I add a submark now?” Absolutely! We love building on main logos and have done this before, but we also will always tell you to have an open mind. If your brand hasn’t been built yet and you only have a logo, give the branding experts the breathing room to explore beyond that main logo. We promise you won’t regret it.
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Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are Minnesota-based marketing experts, educators, and co-founders of boutique marketing agency Duo Collective, which specializes in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. To learn more about Duo Collective or to inquire about working with our team, head over to www.duocollective.com.
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