Not to put any pressure on you, but selecting the right logo (along with the right name) can be the toughest part of branding your dental practice.
Your logo will appear everywhere from signs to stationery to ads to billboards. And, much like a bad tattoo, a poor decision will haunt you for a long time.
If you need some help walking through the process, here are some answers to the most common questions we receive.
What are the different types of logos?
In dentistry, there are three types of logos that are commonly used. Finding the right logo for your dental practice will depend on several factors.
A wordmark is, literally, a stylized version of the name of your business. This type of logo relies on text, typeface, and unique typographic treatments to express your brand’s identity.
Wordmarks are most effective when the name of your practice is well-known or easily remembered. Because they are often simple in design, they can sometimes be viewed as plain or unimaginative. A skilled designer will use font and color choices that complement your overall brand and create something visually memorable so you can let your name do the talking.
If you happen to have a name that is lengthy or doesn’t work well as a wordmark, a lettermark may be better for you. This type of logo uses a single or multiple initials to represent your brand. Lettermarks also make sense if there is a tendency to abbreviate your business name in conversation.
Even though you are still basing your logo on letters, a lettermark will tend to look more “designed” than a wordmark. Standard fonts can be used effectively, but designers will often customize the letter shapes to create something truly unique for your dental practice.
A brandmark uses a unique image to represent your brand. It can be literal, like a tooth, or abstract to convey a feeling or concept.
This type of logo can be the most visually appealing (and most memorable) of the three options mentioned here. Whatever you do, don’t settle for clipart or $5 designers. Not only will it come across as unprofessional, but you can also bet there are other businesses or dental offices using the same image. A reputable designer will determine the style of image that best captures your practice, and doesn’t look like it was thrown in as an afterthought.
Lettermarks and brandmarks are typically combined with a wordmark to strengthen the association with the name. (Getting brand recognition for a standalone lettermark or brandmark usually takes the kind of advertising budget that only big corporations have.)
The advantage of combining logo types is that the elements can still be separated and used individually in certain cases. (e.g., You can use your brandmark or lettermark as a favicon for your website, profile image for your social media page, or watermark for your office stationery.)
What should I look for in a dental logo?
Once you know what type of logo you’re looking for, make sure your final decision takes some important factors into consideration.
Is it unique and memorable?
Your dental logo design needs to help people understand how you’re different from everyone else, and help them remember that difference when it comes time for them to choose a dentist. That won’t happen if your logo blends in with everyone else’s.
Is it clean and simple?
Logos can get over-designed in a hurry, especially when you try to make them say too much. Don’t forget that you will also have a tagline that can add meaning to your branding. Don’t try to make the logo design do all the work.
Is it adaptable and timeless?
Your logo needs to be usable in a variety of formats, sizes, and colors. Either decide on a versatile design that works in any situation or develop a few variations that can be swapped out depending on how and where you need to use them.
Also, don’t get lured into short-lived, passing design trends. Your dental brand may look great today, but will it seem outdated within a few years?