How to create a successful visual Dental Brand in 2020?
Building a brand isn’t easy, yet it is essential to creating a successful practice.
Every aspect of your company and services tell your brand story. From office design and layout to your employees and the language you use. Most Dental Practices don’t have designers with MFA degrees on staff to create beautiful logos, website graphics, ads, and collateral.
Additionally, most offices do not work in a meritocracy and so key decision-makers may not be the most artistically gifted. Often times this means the loudest and powerful voice makes the calls (even if they are color blind and use the font, Comic Sans).
If you are the decision-maker take note; unless you are professionally trained as a designer you should step back from the design process and work with someone you trust or else you will be doing your team a disservice.
For the sake of brevity in this article, we are going to ignore office politics and most-things-brand outside of the creation of graphical assets that are professional and stunning.
We are also going to break down how we get great results, hire great freelancers, and avoid bargain sites that make $5 logos. You get what you pay for, and much like dentistry, you are paying for the decades it takes in education and practice it takes to make sound design choices, not just something that you think looks pretty.
In fact, picking something purely on looks is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in creating a brand. In this article, we will look at getting high-quality assets one step at a time.
Vector images for logo NOT raster
What does this even mean?
Well in easy terms it means a few major things for your future. Raster images don’t scale vector images do. A raster image is like a jpeg photo (think Adobe Photoshop).
Have you ever tried to enlarge a photo and it looks pixelated and terrible?
This is the problem with these type of images (like a hand-drawn logo or a photo logo). Raster images are not versatile and therefore won’t scale small enough for a business card and also work on a billboard.
(this photo is a raster image)
- Vector images (think Adobe Illustrator) are based on coordinates, and properties so that they can scale HUGE or tiny and it simply does not matter. If it looks great at one size it will look great at all sizes.
An experienced designer knows there are many other steps to take to protect the image so that it does, in fact, stay intact upon scaling.
This includes creating outlines for the strokes and text of the logo. If this basic information is already making your head swim then you NEED to find someone who already knows this very basic stuff since you have already disqualified yourself as the person to have the final say on the design.
Design isn’t very expensive anymore but it isn’t $5-50 cheap either.
Imagine if your logo is one of the most important accessories/jewelry to your outfit.
Would you want your hallmark piece of jewelry during a gala or special event to be $5 earrings, or would you prefer jewelry with more timeless value?
My advice, skip budget design sites (or even their pro services), you can do much much better at comparable prices in regards to design. If you do choose a company like Fiverr (we have successfully used them for voice-over in our videos) make sure the most artistic person on staff (or not on staff) are your eyes for the whole project.
A gifted artist in the family/friends willing to take the time to help is better than the boss when it comes to searching and narrowing the field of potential designers.
Use an artist to pick an artist.
This is the biggest and most obvious rule and probably the most often overlooked. Just because someone makes business collateral or knows the basics of Photoshop does not make them an artist.
Find the person whose design-eye everyone trusts.
Even if it is just the way they dress or style food, or have the most beautiful and consistent Instagram, the attention-to-detail eye is exponentially more important than someone who makes local graphics. Picking the best person may be tricky, as is radical transparency and meritocracy, but at the end of the day, the results without hurt feelings are what matters.
Read Ray Dalio’s book Principles for more of this essential wisdom for your whole business. He is one of the worlds richest people for a reason.
Now that you have 1,2,3 rules down and are ready to go with your trusted artistic team member willing to find your ideal logo designer you need your name and concept honed in.
This takes a bit of work to find an SEO-friendly brand name, URL, and more that we will discuss in future articles but here is the 1,2,3,4 on this.
1) Make it easy to search
2) Don’t make a name be a pun or a fad
3) Make it short yet unique
4) Do trademark searches so you know you own your name.
Next is the concept.
What is YOUR BRAND at the core?
You get 1 to 2 values that you get to share with the world. Make that sing in everything you do, starting with design. With Wonderful, our goal was to own the adjective “Wonderful” because we are proud of our quality and price. In the larger consumer space Wonderful would be very hard to own, but since we are direct to business we have the ability to rank.
Our brand ethos was to build a classic brand like feels has been in dentistry for 50 years (like Dr. Epstein) and will be in style 50 years from now. Our goal is to live by the idea of doing something wonderful for dentists. As Dr. Epstein states - his core mission is to give back to the dentistry profession that gave him so much joy and a wonderful career.
For us, the choice of a simple bold text wonderful in Helvetica is perfect.
a) It is the most timeless fonts and used many times the world over
b) It is a mid-century modern font that fits our history. Legendary mid-century modern designer George Nelson designed the original interior of Dr. Epstein’s office and all our main design complements this design-era framework.
c) Our secondary logo is the ice cream cone smiling face that is both mid-century nostalgic and modern enough to iterate from as a design element.
It speaks to our flavors and the concept that better taste is the spark that created and is the hallmark of our company. When it comes to your office you need to demand values that you live every day and then express it in your logo from this high-level viewpoint. That way all future designs and choices can fit your brand.
Now comes looking for a professional designer.
Two major resources are Behance.net
Behance.net is the portfolio site by Adobe that displays work from designer artists from across the world. Simply set up an account and message the designers who build great logos.
it’s as browsing by keyword logos, logo design, illustration, etc and reaching out to 20-30 people across the world about your design directives and goals and your budget. Many (if not most) will come back to you to let you know if your budget will work for them and the details and timeline of the project. This we recommend is the absolute best way to find affordable designers.
Upwork.com is an all-purpose freelancer site great to find programming, marketing, and design help. Make a fixed-budget job proposal that requires a portfolio and see many talented people bid on your project.
This is less ideal than using Behance because you have to wait for designers to come to you and hope you like their work instead if actively seeking artists that fit your brand. It is less work for prospecting, but ultimately ends up being more work in managing.
Working from Upwork requires someone on your team to vet and creative direct the designer more than Behance, but the prices can be quite lower. You know your team and the ability to make this a smashing success. Choose wisely how to proceed.
Just remember, use your best artistic minded employee and a professional designer.
Having a professional brand makes your business stand out from all the ugly designed dental office non-brands, adds social validity and professionalism. All of this you can convey before patients even step inside the door. Good luck!