Logo. The very word tends to make graphic designers cringe. “Yeah, uh, can we get a logo please? Just work something up, we need it Friday, ok?”

In design we talk about identities. A corporate identity for a company, a product identity for a logo. One crucial thing, though: a brand is not a logo. A logo can be a part of a brand. In fact, the logo or marque is a subset of the identity, and the identity, the visual manifestation, is a subset of the brand.

A brand is collection of feelings that you have about a product or company. As such it’s a function of all of your senses, not just the visual, over time. Branding involves thinking about personas, personalities, emotions, loyalties, hopes and fears.

An identity is the visual entity representing your product or company. It might be a logo, which could be the name plus some graphical element, and perhaps a strapline, reproduced consistently as a collection of elements using the right colours, typefaces, sizes and white space surrounds. Like a brand, it has goodwill embedded in it, both emotionally in terms of how we feel about it and financially as a valuable balance sheet item.

A logo can be worth a fortune, like the Coca Cola name in the cursive script and the flourishes. But a logo is a like a city, whereas a brand is like a nation.