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Marketing Defined: Brand Marks vs. Logos

Identifying marks in your branding allow people to easily identify your business. You’ve most-likely heard of a logo, but what about a brand mark? Here we’ll break down the differences between brand marks vs. logos.


Your logo is a representation of your business using graphic elements. It can include icons, images, text, colors and any combination of such. You’ll use it on multiple mediums to represent your brand, including digital, print, tangibles (clothing, promo items, etc.) and more.

Once a brand establishes a logo, it may undergo slight updates and modifications throughout the lifespan of the business. However, typically it’s wise to maintain some recognizable elements. That’s to avoid confusion and promote brand recognition among your clientele.

In addition to the brand recognition component for existing clients and customers, your logo serves to attract new ones (a process called establishing brand awareness). That’s why when crafting a logo design, it’s important to consider exactly what you want the logo to say about your business. The design of a logo should represent what you do, your values, the industry you’re in, etc.

Brand Mark

So that’s a logo, but what about a brand mark? When it comes to brand marks vs. logos, consider the brand mark the “abbreviated” version. A brand mark is often one singular component of a logo that takes up less space and does not incorporate text. The goal of it is just that—to be used in spaces where your full logo would be too much or unnecessary—while still supporting your brand and promoting brand recognition.

In other words, a brand mark should still be recognizable as part of your logo family.

Brand marks vs. logos

To visually understand the difference between brand marks and logos, we’ll mention a few recognizable examples.

The Nike swoosh. The swoosh is the brand mark (abbreviated version) of the more comprehensive Nike logo.

The McDonald’s Golden Arches. The arches, when they stand alone, are the brand mark as compared to the full logo.

Social media icons. Think the Facebook “f” in the blue square, or the Twitter bird.

Which should I use?

The examples we just named are companies that are so prominent, they can be identified by their brand marks alone. As a starting-out or smaller business, you’ll likely need to rely more heavily on your logo for brand recognition.

Your brand mark can be useful in some instances, however, like your social media profile pictures or your app icon (smaller pieces of real estate). It can also be used as a supporting element in conjunction with your logo.


Sometimes people use the words brand mark and logo interchangeably. In essence, they do both serve the same purpose—a graphic element that followers can associate with your brand and what it stands for.

How do you represent values using just images and text? That’s where the experts come in—aka, us!

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

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