3 Guidelines for Creating an Effective Brand Mark

March 29, 2022

Many colleges and universities struggle with brand marks that were established decades ago and no longer reflect the spirit of the institution or set it apart from others. If your institution is looking to update, or even wholesale change your brand mark, there are a few time-honored rules to keep in mind as your team embarks on this sometimes overwhelming task.

As a rule of thumb, a good logo should be ownable, memorable, and practical. Here’s what we mean, along with examples of our work.

1. Make It Ownable

Your mark needs to be unique and distinct from other logos in your competitive set. Whether it’s simple or complex, steeped in history and tradition or on the cutting edge of creative innovation, the viewer should immediately know that your logo is a symbol of your institution and no one else. 

Wheaton College logo

2. Make It Memorable

Your logo is a shortcut between viewers and all the experiences they’ve had with your brand. A memorable logo makes that shortcut more efficient and easier to access. If the viewer can instantly recognize and remember your mark, your brand no longer has to introduce itself—it can skip right to building memories.

3. Make It Practical

This doesn’t mean your logo needs to be boring or plain, but it should work effortlessly and effectively across all media. Does it look good when it’s printed 40 feet tall on the side of a building? Is it just as identifiable when it’s reproduced in black and white in a newspaper ad? How about when it’s only 20 pixels tall in an online ad? “Any size, anywhere” should be your goal. 

Hilbert College logo

The ROI of a Brand Mark

If done properly, the ROI on a well-executed brand mark is well worth the initial time and resources. Your school will be able to amortize this investment over decades by making its brand clearer to audiences and distinguishing itself from the sea of higher education institutions.

Want to chat about your institution’s brand mark?

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