Brand Glossary | What is a ‘Submark’?

Your logo comes in many shapes and sizes. Some are more like a variation of the logo. If you see the word submark, it is very much in line with that. Let’s dive into the specifics.

What is a submark exactly?

Submark is a term that refers to a specific type of image that is derived from the logo. It’s more commonly known as an icon for your brand. It’s a version of your logo that’s more flexible in different design uses when your full logo can’t do the job. 

These icons are typically elements that are pulled from the original logo, but they can take on other looks that are within the brand style guidelines. 

When and where do I use a submark?

Picture it. You’re getting your brand started, you just got the logo designed, and you’re setting up your social media profiles. Your Instagram account is set up, your Twitter account is set up, Facebook, etc. etc. Over the years, these social media platforms have changed their interface to have a smaller profile picture in a circle crop parameter. When you upload your full logo you might run into one of two issues: 1) the logo gets cropped out of the thumbnail view because it doesn’t fit within the parameters of that circle or 2) the logo is too detailed to be used as a profile picture. 

The detail part that caused the logo to suffer as a profile picture is attributed to any of the following:

  • Elements are too intricate
  • There’s a lot of text involved
  • The text is too long
  • It looks busy when compact

Here are some examples of where you would see submarks in public or online:

  • TARGET – Instead of the full words, you might only see the red circle imagery.

  • American Express – Rather than reading out American Express, they’ve shortened image uses to AMEX.

  • Starbucks – The mermaid imagery they’ve utilized in their branding is a dead giveaway that people almost know immediately.

 

Here are examples from previous branding clients.

 

MARCI ZAROFF – LOGO

MARCI ZAROFF – SUBMARK

The element that’s used as the “M” in Marci is used as the submark, or icon.

 

LIQUID MOTION – LOGO

LIQUID MOTION – SUBMARK

If you’re having your website designed, submarks are especially useful as favicons which is the image used in the tab of your internet browser when visiting a site. 

That about wraps up submarks in branding! Want to catch up on other brand terms? Visit our blog to find more from our Brand Glossary series and check out our brand package for details on services!

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