Pick the Brand – the Power of Brand Marks

The Power of a Brand Mark
A client once asked me; ‘what do I have to do to get a logo that’s as recognisable as Nike’s?’ The answer is you need at least thirty years or $30 million, whichever comes first. Some markets are global, some are hyper local, some markets cut across broad demographics, some are so segmented they’re almost underground. For businesses of any size, and in any market, a well designed brand identity is the cornerstone for building brand recognition.

So what makes a memorable and recognizable brand mark?
The answer is a combination of:

Good quality design – few things are more forgettable than poor design. Often we will not even notice a poorly designed brand identity, much less remember it.

Unique Visual Languagethe most recognisable brand marks reflect the visual code of their industry, but look unique enough to stand out from the crowd.

Continuity and Consistency – given how simple it is to use your brand identity consistently across all your brand communications, it’s astounding how many businesses do this poorly.

Saturation – the most easily recognised brand marks are those we see the most. Put simply, get your brand mark out in front of as many of your market as you can.

Test yourself with our Brand Picker Quiz
Below are twenty of the worlds most recognisable brand marks, cropped ultra-tight to demonstrate the power of a well designed brand mark and test your brand radar.

Logopic01 brand strategy brand identity

Logocrops graphic design Melbourne Corporate image
The answers
01. Heineken
02. Adidas
03. Apple
04. British Airways
05. BP
06. Citi
07. BMW
08. Vodafone
09. Ford
10. Jack Daniels
11. Coca Cola
12. Olympic Games
13. Windows
14. Obama Campaign
15. Nike
16. Pepsi
17. Playboy
18. Qantas
19. Twitter
20. Virgin

So how’d you go?
18 or more correct: You’re brand obsessed (you’d fit in well around here)
15-17 correct: You’re pretty brand aware (and probably addicted to TV)
10-14 correct: Observation skills are not your strength – likely to leave home wearing odd socks
9 or less correct : You’re suffering brand avoidance – rare condition often accompanied by high levels of sanity

If you’d like to talk to some people who spend way too much of their life eating, sleeping, thinking about and creating brands or about how to develop a highly recognisable and unforgettable brand identity give us a call. If you have the $30 million ready to go, we’ll even send a limo.

David Ansett


  1. I have seen croppings like this before but never really thought about what makes them memorable and recognizable. I think saturation has a major role to play, get it everywhere, people will know your mark.

    Oh yeah i got 19 out of 20 – I’m awesome!

  2. A really fun view – all brands that would aspire to have longevity

    Given he’s young, and will probably be in the Whitehouse 8/9 years it’ll be interesting to see where the Obama campaign evolves to (1) In 4 years when its the focus of another election (2) When he moves on from the presidency..

  3. Zak, that’s the power. Unique graphic element x repetition. Interestingly there’s a new trend in brand identity visual language for the big global companies that is starting to make their visual language less unique – more consistent – I call it Globular Blanding. I’m working on a paper on that as we speak.

  4. Mal, the Obama brand identity is the interesting one which is why I put it in there. As important a man as he is in the global scheme of things, it’s a bit crazy that we would recognise his election campaign graphics. You’re right though, his personal/political brand will evolve from here, it’ll be interesting if his visual language follows.

  5. Great pick-up Cassie, Spot-on with the red and blue colour palette. I wonder if green is fashionable due to the environmental issues we face – certainly accounts for the BP colour palette. The predominant use of Red is interesting when we consider the western cultural cues typically associated with it: Danger/Warning, Heat, Medical/Pain, Stop, even Embarrassment.

  6. Great post as usually.
    Although Adidas seems like the only weak link here. Even though some of the factors mentioned above like saturation and visual language are present, consistency is called into question, especially after the merger with Salomon. Not sure the brand marks Adidas now uses for the different sports lines / bars, trefoil, circle/ bring its A game. Such a powerful brand can do way better IMHO.

    Apart from that, I got 20 out of 20 🙂

    • Thanks Veneta. Firstly congrats on your score. 20/20 makes you a brand tragic just like us.
      The point you make on adidas and their evolution of brand mark design is a great one. As these brands with youth appeal follow the trends towards more informal brand communication to remain relevant to their market, they do develop a real tension between staying cool, and being consistent in order to build ongoing brand equity. This is a tough balancing act for all these brands.

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