What is a primary and secondary logo

When you think about branding your business you’re likely thinking about logos which includes a primary and secondary logo (sometimes called a logo mark). So, what is a primary and secondary logo and why do you need both? Before I explain, it’s important to remember that your branding is so much more than a logo. It’s an overall strategy, voice, feeling your customer gets, recognition, logos, color palette, font selection and sometimes patterns. A logo is so prominent, but it’s not the only piece of your brand.

What is a primary brand logo

A primary logo is main logo containing all the elements you find to be important for your customer to know at-a-glance. For example, this is your business name, a tagline, established date and maybe some sort of design. A primary logo doesn’t have to have all of those things; some have the business name and tagline with a design. It’s completely up to you & your designer what is best for your business. A primary logo is typically seen upon first landing on a website or on a brick and mortar storefront.

A simple example we can all easily envision is the Target logo. We know those big block letters in red that read TARGET with the bullseye paired with it. This is their primary logo.

See this example of a primary logo for Heather Anderson Photography that was done between a collaboration with The Wells Makery.


What is a secondary logo

A secondary logo can sometimes be confused with a logomark. A secondary logo is a more condensed version of your primary logo but still contains important information. Going back to our Target example, their secondary logo would be TARGET without the bullseye.

I’m still admiring this hand-drawn logo for Heather Anderson by The Wells Makery. I knew this fantastic, wild elopement photographer needed something so unique so while I was dreaming up her brand & website strategy I reached out to Annie from The Wells Makery to get this custom drawing for Heather and she did not disappoint! It provided us many logo variations, like these secondary logos


What is a logo mark

Finally, branding can also contain an even smaller version of the logo, called a logo mark. This is used as further brand recognition in places where your customer already knows who you are. Examples of places you’d see a logo mark might be: on social media, in a website footer, on a wax seal or stamp. A logo mark is often an element taken from the primary and / or secondary logo and it stands alone. It usually doesn’t have your business name in it all. Think of the Target bullseye. As it stands alone you still recognize that and know what brand it represents but it doesn’t say the business name on it.

Below are a couple more examples of a logo mark that were drawn for Heather Anderson Photography.


How are each of these logos used

Skip straight to the bottom for a little summary? It’s okay, I do the same thing 😉

A primary logo: Contains your complete business name and can also include a design and tagline. It’s used on your website or any other first impression marketing.

A secondary logo: A simpler version of your primary logo, but still contains your business name. This can be used on an address label, website or print collateral.

Logo mark: A very simplified version of your logo, often taking just the design element from the primary logo and using it alone. They’re used in website footers, on social media, stamps, packaging and more.

Ready to book your brand design project?

There is a misconception when it comes to branding that logos can easily be DIY’d. This is true now more than ever with platforms like Fivver or Etsty. But please remember that branding is not simply a logo. It requires heavy research and strategy. It requires a deep understanding of who you serve and why you serve them. Your entire brand identity is not only a logo but an entire brand strategy & complete brand guidelines. If you’re ready to create a long-lasting, high-converting brand design then let’s chat!

More branding and web design examples

If you want to see more examples of brand design and how it was used across creative websites, head over to my portfolio.


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