IBD Project 5: Brandmark 2

0 Commentsby   |  04.07.11  |  ART 353, Assignments


This project continues the exploration of different types of brandmarks, specifically those that incorporate the brand name in their creation. The challenge, besides designing a visually striking brandmark, is to discern which type of mark is most effective for the client. The following list describes each type of brandmark to be considered for this project.

Wordmark (or logotype) is a freestanding word or words. It may be a company name or an acronym. The best wordmarks imbue a legible word(s) with distinctive font characteristics, and may integrate abstract elements or pictorial elements. The distinctive tilted “E” in “Dell” activates and strengthens the one-syllable name. The IBM acronym has transcended enormous technological change in its industry. – Designing Brand Identity, pgs. 54-55 (also see pg. 126 for logotype definition)

Pictorial Mark uses a literal and recognizable image. The image itself may allude to the name of the company or its mission, or it may be symbolic of a brand attribute. The eagle of the U.S. Postal Service is both a symbol of America and a symbol of speed and dependability. – Designing Brand Identity, pgs. 58-59

An Abstract Mark uses visual form to convey a big idea or a brand attribute. These marks, by their nature, can provide strategic ambiguity, and work effectively for large companies with numerous and unrelated divisions. Abstract marks are especially effective for service-based and technology companies; however, they are extremely difficult to design well. – Designing Brand Identity, pgs. 60-61

Signature is the specific and nonnegotiable designed combination of the brandmark (symbol) and logotype. The best signatures have specific isolation zones to protect their presence. A company may have numerous signatures, for various business lines or with and without a tagline. –Designing Brand Identity, pg. 50

Emblems are trademarks featuring a pictorial element inextricably connected to the name of the organization. The elements are never isolated. Emblems look terrific on a package, as a sign, or as an embroidered patch on a uniform. – Designing Brand Identity, pgs. 62-63


  • Investigate the use of words and symbols to communicate meaning
  • Understand different types of brandmarks and their distinctive characteristics
  • Explore the relationship between a name and its symbolic representation
  • Increase typographic skills (letter spacing, word spacing, leading, scale, proportion, etc.)
  • Continue to explore the use of figure/ground to distill information
  • Utilize color as a stimulus for brand recognition
  • Develop design process
  • Refine drawing skills as an integral part of design thinking
  • Increase proficiency of using software to manipulate and integrate type with objects


Each of you will design two marks for a client you know fairly well – YOU! Imagine that you are starting your own design business. You can use your name (ex: Brandon Young) or part of your name (ex: Young Design), or you can create a completely separate name for your design business (ex: Graphic D). You have an upper hand here in one sense, because you have an intimate knowledge of the client. However, it can be a challenge to move away from fine details and see the big picture. “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” As in the previous brandmark assignment, the goal is to communicate the brand (you and your design business) clearly and concisely through the use of words, symbols and color.


Requirements of Final Brandmarks:

  • Design two marks for your design business
    • The marks must be of different types (wordmark/logotype, signature or emblem).Do not create two marks of the same type.
    • Symbols (pictorial or abstract) must be used with a logotype or wordmark to create a signature.
  • Design both black & white (no mid-tones or gradients) and color versions for each mark.
  • Each mark needs to fit within an 8″ square with 1″ margin on each side.

Final Deliverables

Final Composition:

  • Arrange each mark (both b&w and color versions) on individual black matboards
  • Matboard size (for each mark): 21″ x 12″ (landscape orientation)
  • Place 8″ x 8″ b&w mark on the left and 8″ x 8″ color mark on the right
  • 2″ margin around entire piece, 1″ between b&w and color versions
  • Put your name on the back of each matboard

Process Documentation:

Place photocopies of sketches (15 min. for each mark) in a report binder with your name on it.

Digital Files:

Combine all marks into a single PDF* and upload to the class dropbox in the myACU files system.

*prefix file with your ACU username followed by an underscore (ex: bly95s_brandmark 2.pdf)

Schedule & Deadline

  • Fri., Apr. 8: Introduce Project
  • Mon., Apr. 11: 10 sketches complete (5 p/mark)
  • Wed., Apr. 13: 20 sketches complete (10 p/mark)
  • Fri., Apr. 15: 30 sketches complete (15 p/mark), Group critique
  • Mon., Apr. 18: Blog post due, 20 sketches complete (10 p/mark), color exploration
  • Wed., Apr. 20: Project complete – Final Presentation/Critique

Grading Criteria

Project = 15% of final course grade

Link to grading criteria.


Student Examples

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