A simple brandmark definition is the visual elements, images, symbols, and other identifying features of a company's brand that help it stand out from other businesses and garner attention from customers.

What Is a Brand Mark?

A company's brand makes use of visual elements, images, and symbols to set it apart and help a business stand out to customers. These identifying features are known as brand marks. The most common type of brand mark used by most companies, regardless of factors like size and the industry they operate in, is logos. This is mostly because logos make smart use of visual elements that are easier to remember than typographical elements.

Symbols and icons can also be helpful in communicating supplementary information about a company or its brand. This is particularly useful when the brand itself doesn't necessarily provide enough detailed information about the company and what it does. It can take time to gain the kind of significant recognition in your market for your brand mark to be quickly associated with your company in the minds of your customer. When this association has been made successfully, though, icons and logos suddenly become extremely valuable assets for the company and carry a significant amount of equity for the brand.

Widely popular companies like Nike, Starbucks, and McDonald's, for example, don't need to include the name of their company when displaying their brand logo. Due to the fact that the logo itself is so well known, most people automatically understand what company each organization's icon is meant to represent. In other words, effectively established brands make use of logos that mean something to the customer without having to associate typographical elements with the image to get the customer to think of a specific company. Brand marks are instrumental in building and maintaining a company's brand and the associated image.

There is a difference between an effective brand mark and a logo, though. For instance, in order to possess an effective brand mark, you must first have a good brand, or at least a solid foundation for one, in place.

Examples of Brand Marks

Brand marks can come in a variety of forms, including the following:

  • Logos
  • Colors
  • Pictures
  • Icons

Logos are the most commonly used type of brand mark. These are visual representations used by companies and incorporated into their brand. When logos are properly utilized and established, their appearance becomes synonymous with the brand's name. Logos are core visual identifiers that are intended to represent a company's name and brand without having to make use of written words. When a company has an effective logo, it's normally used in every method of communication the company uses, including:

  • Written letters
  • Mail correspondence
  • Electronic communications
  • Advertisements

In other words, a logo represents the name of a company in graphic form. A few examples of effective logos include:

  • The Nike swoosh
  • AT&T's globe
  • The red and white Target bull's-eye
  • The blue eagle of the United States Postal Service

A good logo can be thought of as a graphical shorthand representation of a company's brand that people can quickly and easily recognize as something that calls your business to mind. Most logos are based on the current aesthetic trends in the market. However, smartly designed logos take the customer into account rather than adhering to industry trends.

While a good-looking logo may all you need to stand out in the short term, it's important to keep in mind that your logo will be around just as long as your company. Sometimes it's better to choose something your customer can easily identify than it is to pick what looks good. Logos can easily be acquired online for a relatively low price these days. It's worth noting, however, that these stock logos don't necessarily portray your brand accurately. In many cases, you're going to be better off either developing your own logo or paying a professional to create a custom design rather than relying on online stock logos or inexpensive logo generators.

If you need help with brandmark definition, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.