Logo Slapping…

What’s wrong with putting a logo on everything?

A logo is a company name in full with design elements. For whatever reason, there’s a real bummer of an idea floating around that once you have a logo, you’re all set and off you go, putting it on everything. An example of this can be seen here:

Yes, the company name is there, that’s great, but this is what sets apart having a logo and having branding. A logo alone is only the tip of the iceberg to full branding. It’s the everything else that creates the story for clients and the people interacting with your company. People want to see the care you have in your company and that you believe it in it!

You also see logo slapping when people who may have accidentally (Read: ignorantly) used one of those sites that are slowly destroying the creative industry…um *cough*99Designs, etc*cough*… A company will walk away with their new (sometimes copyright infringed) logo and start putting it on everything thinking that’s good enough.

I’m here to tell you, it’s not. Logo Slapping looks lazy. But BRANDING… adding patterns, submarks, consideration to the type, playing with colours angles (this is where your branding board is handy)… that makes a company look exciting and interesting! That’s the kind of company people are going to remember. So, if you’re thinking you’d like your logo on mugs, pens, card holders, notebooks, business cards, etc. think about how it will look as a group. Do they look like cousins, or do they look like twins? You want cousins.

Here’s a really great example of a brand that’s playing with colours, patterns, their logo, angles, fonts, but you can feel it’s call coming from the same company. Cousins, not twins 🙂

*This example comes from Fivestar Brand Agency.

Submark…what is it and why do I want one?

The word “submark” is something designers and people in the design industry use to describe a smaller icon that pairs with your logo. So, for example your company is called “Bearly There: Bikini’s for Bears.” because you live in Alaska, and bears want to get their beach on too.

Your logo for Bearly There is the word Bearly There written out in these chubby scrolled letters, “Bikini’s for Bears” is small beneath it, and there’s an illustration of a bear in a bikini leaning on the B in “Bearly.” Can you picture it?? Haha, ok a little abstract, but rather than showing allll that logo, your submark, would be the bear in the bikini.

A straight forward example is McDonalds. The Golden Archs…”M,” that’s a prime example of a company that can use just their submark of the “M” and people know straight away what the company is. Bearly There, hopes to one day be like McDonalds, where people will see the bear in a bikini illustration and straight away think “Bearly There.” That’s one way to know when your companies really MADE IT. When people recognise a company by their submark.

When would I use a submark? 

Submarks are great for social media icons, email signatures, an element to use on your business card, and any where else you want people to think of your brand, but don’t have a lot of space to show the whole logo. FB for example gives you only a tiny box as your icon. Not a lot’s going to fit there, so you’re going to use the bear in a bikini by itself, rather than the bear in a bikini, with all the whole logo name.  

Do I always need a submark?

Nope, you can definitely function fine without one. Look at FORD for example (the car company). The name is short enough that an icon isn’t necessary. If your company name is short enough, or if it makes a nice “type lock up” (stacks well), then a submark isn’t always necessary.

How can my submark feel apart of my brand?

Easy ways to connect your submark to your brand are colour and/or font. If Bearly There‘s colours are brown and tan, and the bear illustration is brown with a tan bikini, people will make the connection. McDonald’s, in the earlier days, their logo was written out with the “M” paired with the name, in the iconic yellow and red, and over time they just pulled the “M” out from the rest of the name and bam! Submark 4 eva! But that works too. Your submark can be just the first letters in your company name written in the same font or in your brand colours. People will easily make the connection thanks to companies like McDonalds who have been doing it for decades.

Example of ways Hardcopy Cartel has created submarks for brands:



Email Signatures

You might be thinking “sure I know what that is, it’s the thing that goes at the end of an email, simple.” and basically you’d be right. An email signature is how you sign off your emails. It can easily be set up to automatically be attached to the end of an email. What you might not know, is there is a wrong way to create one and a right way.


The Least Wrong Way: 

Sometimes you’ll see a name, contact number, and web address that’s blue and underlined to indicate it’s a link. Simple enough, but not that interesting. It doesn’t have a logo, doesn’t look that appealing and it doesn’t really attract people to find out more. It does the job though!

The Most Wrong Way:

It might not seem like it, but the worst thing you could do, is have an amazingly designed email signature and then save it as a .png or a .jpg and use that. This might be what a designer does, especially if they are less experienced or from say, a website that does it on the cheap… *Cough, 99Designs/Fiverr, cough* The problem with this is that when you send an email with a .png or .jpg the person receiving the email will see either a blank box or get the email signature as an attachment. It may look beautiful, but it’s not really doing a whole lot for the business. It’s actually just a pain or confusing for the person receiving the email. 


The right way is more time consuming for a designer and includes a different skill set. To make a proper, functioning… and I when I say functioning I mean you can click on a website that’s NOT underlined and blue, you can click on social media icons, there’s a logo that’s not an attachment… it needs to be coded in HTML. What’s HTML? HTML, is coding that you would normally associate with websites. Doing it this way, the links like social media and your logo are actually “hosted” online. Meaning, they live in the internet, so they aren’t just an image any more. 

It gets more complicated from here, but if you’re a new designer or you’re working with a designer who wants to send you .png for your email signature, ask them about making it into HTML. They may even be happy to do it because they’ll then be learning something new for next time. Keep in mind though, your designs are more limited when you design with HTML, but it’s better to have a basic linkable email signature, than a blank box. 

Welcome to the wonderful world of Branding!

Hi there!

Welcome to Hardcopy Cartels blog! We’ll be posting weekly about tips, tricks, and questions answered relating to all things branding. This is an excellent blog for businesses who want to know more about what branding is and budding designers who have an interest in branding, but aren’t totally sure all the things it entails.

It would be AMAZING if you wanted to submit questions that you want answered. Please email and we promise to get your question answered with in a fortnight.

Branding board…

What’s a branding board and why do you need one?

A branding board, simply put, is the visual backbone to a company brand. It keeps the company designs consistant so that when people look at the companies business card, website, social media pages, documents… they all feel like they’re coming from the same company.

What should be included in a branding board?

A branding board should include:

  • Logo (logo layout if varying)
  • Submark (stay tuned for “What is a submark?”)
  • Colours with hex codes (In design geek terms, this is usually a sequence of numbers that represent a colour. For example: #debd2c, translates to a rich dark yellow)
  • Fonts used in 3 styles (headings, subheadings and copy)
  • Patterns (if applicable)

Why should every designer should be providing a branding board to their client?

Two reasons:

  1. It allows the client to pass that on to any designer/web designer, providing them with all the details they need to create design and web elements that feel like they belong to the companies branding style.
  2. It helps the client have a guide when creating their own content, even if it’s as simple as putting type into a box with colour, the type and colour will again, be fit the companies branding style.

What’s the take away?

Consistency is super important when people interact with a brand. If I go to your website and it’s all red, then I go to your social media page and I see all pink, and then I see the business card is blue, I’m going to think “Um, this is weird? Is this even the same company?”

Basically, you want to avoid varying shades of colour, bold font when it should be italic, or right alignment when it should be left. All these inconstancies that scream “We threw this together, but hey! Promise we have a good product!”

Can I see an example of this?

Sure can 🙂

branding, branding board