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Making My Mark On Brands

WRITTEN by: Upward Brand Interactions |
categories: Branding

Feb 2014


A brand mark is the proprietary symbol that visually conveys a brand’s identity. In short, it’s the little picture that accompanies text in a logo. Now that I’ve made you smarter, here’s how I go about creating a “mark”.

1. What does the brand stand for? Many times I’ll make note of key words and phrases during the kickoff meeting that resonate with me. This simplifies the process of creating some sort of meaningful visual.

2. Sketch. Yes folks, I still sketch ideas. There can be more than a hundred of these little gems, limited only by time and my mental capacity.

3. Keep it simple. Be mindful of how the mark could potentially be used. Is it for the web, collateral or print? Who knows, but in the end it better be all things to all people. I often refer to a well-designed mark as a Johnny Cash song: simple, iconic and timeless. Johnny had a way of taking the complex and simplifying it to the bare essentials, like a good mark should.

4. Make it meaningful. There are many great examples out there like the FedEx logo with it’s hidden arrow or Amazon’s A-Z smiley face. How about Nike? Do you know what the “swoosh” is supposed to be? These are excellent examples of logo marks that have a story behind them. So look closely. Most people will only see the lady in the picture, but never the witch.

5. Illustrate. Scan a selection of these beauties into Adobe Illustrator, and see what shakes out. I predominantly use geometric shapes (pieces of circles and squares) when illustrating, which makes this process much easier and produces a more appealing, clean final product.

6. Apply color. Sounds simple huh? Do you know that floods of red can increase heart rate and blood pressure? Or that many financial institutions use navy blue to convey a more authoritative, conservative, dependable and professional feel to the consumer. Mind control. Am I a designer or your psychologist?

7. Choose a font. Varying from color, choosing a trendy font usually never lasts the test of time… that’s why they’re “trendy”. Know that a logo should last as long as the brand or you’ll be rereading this in a year or so.

8. Birth that baby! It’s both stressful and relieving to introduce your new bundle of joy to the world. Will everyone sing your praises or call your baby ugly? You’ll be the judge.

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