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What Is a Brand Mark? 3 Examples of Brand Marks

Graphic Design Shapes: How to Use Shapes in Your Design

For many companies, brand marks serve as the primary identifier for products and services.

Effective brand marks are easily recognizable by target audience groups, helping businesses confidently and seamlessly market new products.

What Is a Brand Mark?

A brand mark is an identifying image or symbol that a brand uses to market its products. The brand mark builds a reputation for the company and contributes to the development of its brand identity.

A brand mark can be any of the following elements:

  • The company logo
  • Identifying shapes and colors
  • A widely-recognized branded picture
  • A pattern or design
  • A simplified branded icon

The only requirements for a brand mark are that it represents the brand well and helps the company stand out from its competitors.

Brand marks that successfully resonate with audiences are simple, easy to remember, and dynamic. To help customers commit your logo design to memory, you should aim to keep it consistent over time.

Several companies have used brand marks to propel themselves to new heights. Many brands have become household names by employing identifiable brand marks that win over consumers’ trust.

Successful Brand Marks: Nike Swoosh

Nike has been hugely successful in using its brand mark to support its athletic products.

The Nike Swoosh has its own Wikipedia page that documents the evolution of its design alongside the company’s history.

Nike Swish - brand mark

Source: Nike

Graphic design student Carolyn Davidson created the simplistic logo in 1971. Initially, Nike displayed the logo in many different colors, specifically red and white. Since then, the company has moved to a more straightforward black color palette.

Nike has leveraged the Swoosh in athletic endorsements as a means of building brand awareness for years. Since inking their first deal with tennis star Ilie Năstase in 1972, the company has paired its brand mark with some of the greatest athletes in all of professional sports.

The Swoosh was accompanied by the word “Nike” for 23 years after its inception. However, as a part of one of the first major corporate rebranding initiatives, they removed the text in 1995. This decision put the firm’s brand mark at the forefront of all marketing efforts while giving their business a more personal feel.

The crisp, fluid appearance of the Swoosh, combined with Nike’s forward-thinking commitment to advertising excellence, has brought this brand mark to the apex of notability.

Successful Brand Marks: McDonald’s Golden Arches

Another brand mark with its own Wikipedia page, the McDonald’s Golden Arches are a part of one of the most well-known logos in the world.

McDonalds - brand mark

Source: Logos World

McDonald’s has employed the Golden Arches in multiple forms throughout the company’s history.

They were initially conceived by the McDonald brothers as additions to the restaurant buildings that would grab the attention of passers-by. Architect Stanley Clark Meston helped refine the design, delivering parabolic fixtures that conveyed movement and energy.

The Golden Arches were used at McDonald’s locations starting in 1953, achieving the desired effect of attracting customers for the next decade.

Starting in 1962, the company began to move away from the physical arches. At the same time, they started incorporating the Golden Arches into their logo, harnessing the brand awareness the arches had driven.

The current McDonald’s logo, solidified in 1968, features the Golden Arches prominently. This logo has become a mainstay among consumers, with even the term “Golden Arches” becoming synonymous with McDonald’s.

With little change over the past several decades, the McDonald’s Golden Arches brand mark has helped the multinational fast-food giant maintain its competitiveness within its industry.

Successful Brand Marks: Apple Silhouette

Tech giant Apple Inc. has utilized the Apple Silhouette as a part of its logo for most of its existence as a symbol of the simplicity they bring to the consumer tech market.

Apple - brand mark

Source: Apple

The brand mark, first seen in 1977, replaced a more intricate depiction of Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree. The Silhouette was rainbow-colored for over 20 years, with founder Steve Jobs opting for a more monochromatic look not long after his return to the company in 1997.

Apple has always been an advertising trendsetter, mainly through the incredibly popular “Think Different” and “Get a Mac” campaigns. With the Apple Silhouette in tow, the company has used these campaigns to carve out a unique brand positioning built around creativity and humanity.

By pairing their brand mark with these successful marketing ventures, the firm has made the Silhouette synonymous with their cutting-edge personal computers, phones, and other products.

The Apple Silhouette has remained essentially unchanged for the duration of its existence, much like the Nike Swoosh and the McDonald’s Golden Arches. The maintained minimalism of this brand mark has helped perpetuate the company’s niche within the consumer tech sphere.


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