Finding inspiration that stand out from the crowd in medical and health care branding can be difficult. Practices often find themselves gravitating towards familiar symbols, colors and font types. It’s your job to be sure that your client is represented accurately and uniquely. That means the end result of medical and healthcare logo design may not necessarily come to you over a single meeting or brain storming session and it shouldn’t be rushed. Going forward this brand mark or logotype can play a role of immense proportions for their business, whether it is in the local market or on a national scale.
Experienced designers have a few tricks up their sleeves that will help you launch a successful brand or redesign your business image into something that fits your practice, medical device company or healthcare organization. While you should always start with The 5S of Logo Design, these are the Top 5 Things to Consider When Designing a Medical Logo.
1. The Theme
One of the most important measures to take into consideration in healthcare design is the theme of the company or the specialization. Fully embracing the theme of the company or the specialization of the company can provide an outlet of potential ideas. For an example, if your company is in the Dentistry field, a common route that many companies tend to take is to include a vector design of a molar and a wrapping of text. Often times you will find the use of negative space and movement in the design that subconsciously set the mind at ease. Portraying comfort, calmness and a relaxing theme is advisable for medical practices in a field that patients may have an aversion to or a fear of.
In more specific cases, a company may be a dentist office for children. One may look into designing an animated tooth character that resembles some sort-of super hero. The goal is to keep kids attention and reflect a feeling of a fun environment that elicits a positive response in children and make them want to return even though they may have left with a mouthful of Novocain. Here are examples of contrasting themes within the same field of medicine.
2. Choosing an Icon, Logotype or Combination Mark
As a brand consultant for global medical companies, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is, “Will a logo made of only words, an image/creative work, or both resonate best with our clients entire market?” This will determine the type of logo design one must undertake in order to create a medical logo. Many brands often opt into the idea of a simple and yet creative work with the initials or slogan beneath the design. When considering a global brand often times it’s advisable to simply utilize a symbol that can represent your brand to audiences of many languages. However we often see practices and health care facilities that serve only a local market and are often named after the practitioner. In these cases combination marks are going to best represent the specifics of the brand while utilizing an icon or symbol to invoke the emotion that you wish to project from your business. Often times in health care, trust, cleanliness and professionalism are the emotions that resonate most. Therefore considering minimal font styles in a combination mark might be a good place to start.
Here is an example of a simple clean logo utilizing a combination mark vs. an internationally recognizable icon logo.
Just like picking out the colors for a home, the coloration of a medical logo is vital! There is importance in choosing colors that are not brash or bold – especially given the nature of being in the medical field. However, this needs to start with the audience and work back to the company. In other words, you are not going to want to design an all pink logo or font for your company – it may in fact deter individuals from seeking any product from you. That is unless you are a breast cancer care facility.
Proper color choice can create the feeling of trust that medical brands seek. Popular colors include many shades of blue as a basis for many logos. In an interview referencing different color schemes for medical logos, Chris Chase, CEO of Chase Design San Diego, who focuses on health care design and branding, says “A medical logo is an image that embodies the brand of the organization. It must be approachable and easily recognizable. One thing to consider in a medical brand is the colors you choose. For example lot’s of medical logos use the color blue. The reason for that is the color blue creates an immediate psychological response that is comforting, calming and trust worthy. The sea and the sky are blue, and the natural human reaction causes a reduction in stress. Understanding the psychological impacts of the artistic details and making decisions that impact the first impression for each brand is a key element in creating a successful medical brand identity.”
Essentially the color of your medical logo can potentially be the determining factor of how successful your “medical brand identity” will be. In the process of designing your medical logo, make sure to wisely and creatively decide which colors will be most beneficial for the market you are entering and the desired psychological response. You may also want to consider the current design trends to be sure you are taking advantage of the freshness factor of color trends. Chase also offers more on their perspective on medical industry branding in this medical branding blog post.
The fourth thing that you need to consider when designing your medical logo is to make sure that you are making a statement. It needs to stand out from the crowd, however, that crowd of brands can often help provide inspiration for a brilliant logo. Ultimately, you need to create a logo that is going to be imprinted in people’s memories. If you are planning on becoming a successful medical company – your logo is where it begins. For example, if you walk down the street and see someone wearing a t-shirt with a half-eaten apple, what company is that? If you walk down the same street and see someone wearing a t-shirt with a golden M, what company might that be? Do you see the trend? Make sure that the icon you choose is recognizable, unique and is in line with your corporate message.
If you are in the process of developing your own medical logo you are a business person. That means that you inherently value your time and the time of others. The fact of the matter is that logo creation or a rebranding project should take both time and money. By being forward thinking and creating a sustainable brand, you can the chance that you will need to take on this project again in the near future. This reduces long term costs greatly. For instance, the city of San Diego recently spent over $45,000 to rebrand the city logo.
However, it is not just a financial cost issue. There is also an inherent cost incurred with brand confusion during a business identity redesign. Your medical logo has to be of such caliber and quality it can spark interest or gain trust from anyone in the market. As your customer base continues to see this logo in every email, newsletter, web visit and office visit they will gain a better sense of your company identity. When this changes it starts the cycle over again and requires your customer base to create new associations when viewing your logo. Creating a sustainable brand can extend this lifetime and allow for strong associations far into the future.
Your Logo, Your Brand
As you are in the process of developing your medical brand, make sure to take these 5 things into consideration, as they will provide an outlet for ideas, inspiration and eventually the audience perception that you have been looking for from your logo. My only bit of advice is to never get discouraged along the way – it’s in those moments that the raw ideas will come to you. Just continue focusing on your customer, their needs and the emotions that are most important to associate with your brand.