When I am beginning a new project, my clients often ask why I provide so many different designs and what “best practices” are for using them. I realize that not every term I use with my clients has an obvious meaning. So in an effort to demystify some commonly used terms here at BLUEPRINT (or at another design studio/agency you may work with), today I’ll be sharing how to use your logo and brand elements to make your real estate business cohesive + clear. You’ll also get a cheat sheet for understanding logo types and formats, so you can use your files at maximum quality across multiple channels.
Why multiple logos + brand elements are important
To begin with, I am a full brand identity designer—meaning I create more than just a solo/primary logo. Instead I give my clients a full family of logos, equipping them with the widest range of versatility + potential for brand recognition. A well-rounded brand will always give you options that compliment each other AND solve different visual problems.
Much of what sets my work apart is the “why” behind each variation I create and the strategy associated with this level of intention (in an industry where most agents hire someone to create one quick, basic logo, and call it a day). This is why I build full brands, versus just a solo logo. My clients can testify that their businesses and brand recognitions are stronger as a result of this approach.
But when all you have is primary logo? You compromise the quality of your brand, rather than deliver a seamless, adaptable experience. (For instance, a large, detailed primary logo simply will not present well when shrunk down to fit your Instagram profile image). Let’s dive in…
Understanding Your Logos
The primary logo is the main identifying mark for your business and the most complex version of your logo. If you have a tagline, location info, an established date, or an illustration in your branding, they will be featured in the primary logo. I encourage my clients to use this logo variation the most, as it is the one most customers/clients will learn to associate with them.
Where to use: Your primary logo is typically used on business cards, signage, website headers, social page headers, etc.
The secondary logo is also commonly referred to as the “alternate logo.” It should look similar to the primary logo, and draw elements directly from the primary logo, but arrange those elements in a slightly different layout/composition. This gives you greater flexibility to use the logo in various design scenarios. Typically if your primary logo is horizontal in design (and wouldn’t work in, say, a square profile pic), then the secondary should come into play as a more vertical/stacked logo to fit the space.
Where to use: Your secondary logo is often used in social media profile images, on social media graphics, and in other places where a more compact logo version is required, such as collateral pieces.
The submark is the most simplified, compact mark of the logo family. It often centers around an icon (think Apple) or initials and may stand alone as an identifying mark, although it is most often used alongside the primary/secondary logo.
Where to use: Favicon, stickers/labels, profile pic (sometimes), bottom of stationary pieces, wax seal, brand pattern, etc.
Signature mark, secondary mark, or tagline
This is often an additional design element that may be used to compliment the overall brand. I don’t always create a signature/secondary mark or tagline; only if one or more fits naturally into the brand family. These elements are fun accents that can also deliver an extra touch of elegance or detail on packaging, patterns, etc. In the past I’ve created custom agent signatures, established dates or simple icons. These elements should not be used on their own, but rather in conjunction with other brand elements within the larger composition.
Where to use: On packaging, the bottom of your business card, social media images, website footers, etc.
Your logo variations, color palette, and on-brand fonts all lay a strong foundation for the visual of your brand. But why stop there?
Patterns are simple way to boost brand recognition both digitally and in print. They lend that extra dose of personality to your design pieces and support the message your foundational brand elements have already established.
I like to think of brand patterns like wallpaper: they should be balanced and subtle, accentuating your brand rather than stealing the limelight. Oftentimes custom patterns will incorporate an element from a submark, illustration, or other aspect of your brand. When used tastefully, they can deliver a layer of texture and distinction that flat colors do not always provide.
Where to use: Business cards, newsletter headers, Facebook headers, packaging, etc.
Understanding File Types + Formats
After you receive your final brand files, your next question will likely be, “So…how do I use all of these files correctly? Why are there so many different formats?”
A file can be identified by its extension: logo.png, logo.jpg, etc. Here is a handy breakdown of the various file types and what they mean + how to use them. Click HERE to download the PDF Guide.
BLUEPRINT Brand Studio is a boutique design studio for real estate professionals. Offering custom + refined branding services, I help real estate agents and teams elevate their presentation and tell visual stories that matter. Want to work together? Shoot me an inquiry at email@example.com.