Imagine yourself in this scenario: You are opening a new business and you need a logo. You are on a very tight budget so you research crowdsourcing websites to have your logo designed. After opening an account with 99Designs, you carefully craft your design brief, being sure to include your color preferences, design notes and of course your business name. The submissions roll in and you are head over heels for one of the designs. You purchase the design and walk away with your logo in a few different file formats. When it’s time to upload your shiny new logo as your business Facebook profile photo, you realize it is barely readable when scaled down to fit within the square profile image box. You try it on Instagram to find that it looks only worse. It doesn’t work well on your company name tags either.
You need a submark.
A submark is a variation of a logo, used in situations when the main logo is not the best fit. It is visually similar enough to be associated with your main logo, but more simple in design with somewhat proportionate dimensions making it easier to use on things like social media, stamps, website favicons and any other small applications your specific industry might require.
I think one of the best ways to explain this concept is with a visual example. The logo below is a well-designed logo. It is simple and unique and with a few color changes, it would work on a light or dark background and in one, two or three colors. This logo would look great on an outdoor sign, at the top of a website or even on giftcards. Without a submark, this is how the logo would appear as a Facebook profile image:
Did you notice exactly how small the logo looks in the news feed (where it shows that they updated their cover photo)?? This is how most people would see (or not see) the logo every time it appeared in their news feed. Instagram is even smaller! At the end of the branding package, my clients go home with a brand board (among many other resources and files). It usually looks something like this:
Not only are my clients prepared to consistently use their brand colors, fonts, patterns and other elements across various mediums – they also have more than one logo file. Yes, that is right. You need more than one logo. Do you have files that will work on a dark background? In a square box? On all of the other places you need to put your logo? If you are going to make an investment into a professionally design logo, be sure you are paying for the tools you need to make your logo visible. What good is a logo and all of your social media efforts if no one is able to read/recognize your logo on something like Facebook?
Here is the same Facebook account with the submark applied to the profile picture area:
The bottom Line
Not every logo requires a submark, but most do. It depends on the length of the name, the font/lettering, and overall shape of the logo. Are you wondering if you need a submark? Feel free to contact me for a free brand consultation.