Brand marks are visual images, elements or symbols used to identify a brand and contribute to building and maintaining its image. Examples of marks include a company's logo, coloring, design or picture. In essence, visual elements require that the target customer interpret the meaning, whereas copy expresses benefits more directly.

A logo is often one of the first visual elements a company incorporates into its brand. A logo is a core visual symbol that is intended to become synonymous with the company name and brand image. Typically, the logo is included in all forms of communication. The logo sometimes includes the company name as part of the graphic. The Nike "Swoosh," AT&T globe, Target bulls-eye and United States Post Office eagle are examples of prominent logos.


Color themes can also become closely tied to a company's meaning or theme. Blue is a major component of the visual branding for Walmart. It is a major color throughout the store and in employee uniforms. Red is the major color theme for Target. Technology icon IBM is commonly referred to as "Big Blue," and the company's logo includes the letters IBM spelled out in striped blue lettering.


A variety of other pictures, graphics and visual characters are used by companies in brand-building promotional efforts. McDonald's has long used its golden arches to attract attention and maintain its brand. The character Ronald McDonald has also been a prominent historical figure in the company's promotions. Camel brand cigarettes notoriously built its brand image on the back of "Joe Camel" from the late 1980s to late 1990s. The character serves as an icon as of 2012 of the negative connotation of traditional cigarette ads from the past.


Companies sometimes use intricate designs and stylistic features in marketing as part of brand development. Bathroom and kitchen product manufacturer Kohler has long used abstract artwork to present what it calls "The Bold Look of Kohler." Its bold strategy has been integral in building the companies image of luxurious and sophisticated toilet bowls, sinks, faucets and showers. Apple has used ads with bright coloring and silhouette characters in print ads to promote variations of the iPod.