More than an Image: The Five Rules of Effective Dental Logos

More than an Image: The Five Rules of Effective Dental Logos

When beginning to build a dental practice, logo design is usually the last thing on a dentist’s mind.  You have so many other things to worry about, like purchasing equipment, leasing office space, and hiring a great staff. Yes, it’s true that your logo is just that “thing” you put on your website, building signage, patient bills and on the right pocket of your scrubs.  But if done right, your logo can (and should) do so much more for your practice’s brand.

The process of designing and choosing a logo is important, so much so that there are successful businesses that do only that.  Smashing Magazine says a typical logo design should include researching market trends in your industry, sketching and designing multiple logo drafts, taking multiple breaks to reflect on the drafts and then finally choosing the final logo.  That’s quite a process; a process that a dentist probably doesn’t have time for.

While it does seem easy to just throw something together and call it a logo, it probably won’t do your marketing any future good.  Fortunately, you don’t have to spend all of your time designing the perfect logo.  There are some simple and finite rules that can guide effective logo design and by following them, you can be sure to create a logo that will last the lifetime of your practice.

Rule #1 – It must NOT be literal.

It’s important to understand that your logo shouldn’t be literal.  Many dentists think they need to incorporate a tooth, mouth mirror or some other dental image into their logo.  That’s not a good idea for a couple of reasons: First, it doesn’t say anything about your style of dentistry or your unique dental niche.  Do you want to be branded as the caring family dentistry office?  The cutting edge dentistry office?  The sleek and modern dentistry office? An eco-friendly “green” dentistry office?  This is a decision you probably made even before you decided to go into practice, and it should influence the way your logo looks.  Also, using literal dental images lumps you in with every other dentist in your community and does nothing to help you stand out from the crowd, online or offline.

Rule #2 – It must be simple.

The best logos are simple.  Think about the logos that you remember…chances are they probably didn’t include much writing, small images or tiny details.  One big bold image usually fares best.

Rule #3 – It must be versatile.

A dental practice has many moving parts, more than most businesses.  When designing your logo, think about what it might look like on your scrubs or a promotional pen. A logo with tiny, intricate details or letters may look good when blown up on a billboard along the interstate, but won’t translate as well when sized down.

Rule #4 – It must be memorable.

With simplicity comes memorability. Take a moment and think about the products or services you can immediately identify by glancing at the logo.  Nike?  Apple?  These logos are simple, clean and are recognized by just about everyone, whether they have ever purchased the product or not.  Interestingly, the Nike swoosh was created in 1971 for just $35, proving that effective logo design doesn’t have to take up a large chunk of your marketing budget.

Rule #5 – It must represent YOU!

A big part of a dentist’s brand…is YOU!  So, if your logo doesn’t represent you, it probably won’t last very long.  While it may be easy to just play it safe and do what every other dental practice is doing, your logo should be a reflection of you and the practice you want to create.  You aren’t like every other dentist out there, so why should your logo look like anyone else’s? Before you create a logo, ask yourself, how do I want my patients to feel when they first see my logo?  What do I want them to assume about me?  Set the tone of your logo (and practice), by considering these three design elements:

  • Red – Energy, strength, power, determination and passion
  • Orange – Enthusiasm, happiness, creativity, success and encouragement
  • Yellow – Cheerfulness, lightheartedness
  • Green – Growth, harmony, freshness and safety
  • Blue – Depth, stability, trust, confidence, intelligence and loyalty
  • Purple – Luxury and ambition
  • White – Goodness, light, cleanliness and purity
  • Black – Formality, elegance and authority
  • Grey and Light Blues – Modern and cutting edge
  • Circles – Comprehensive, complete and protection
  • Geometric Shapes (Squares and Rectangles) – Order, structure, stability
  • Flowing Lines – Artistry and comfort
  • Spirals – Creativity and transformation
  • Flowers – Femininity and earthy
Typography (Fonts)
  • Serif  – Traditional and stable
  • Script – Artistic and free-flowing
  • Sans Serif – Modern and cutting edge

Based on what we know about the connection between psychology and imagery, a new dentist who wants to build a modern and cutting edge dentist office would probably design a logo that is grey or light blue, contains geometric shapes and uses a sans serif font while a dentist who want to create a family friendly or children’s dental practice would use yellow or orange, flowing lines and script font in their logo.

Your logo can be a great asset to your practice brand if created correctly.  Contact our skilled team today to find out how we can help ensure that your online brand, including your logo, is conveyed the way you want.