Logo – that little spot of ink (or cluster of pixels) that communicates the persona of a company. We’re all familiar with the logos of major brands: Target’s red and white bull’s eye, Starbuck’s mermaid, the Nike swoosh, and You-Know-Who’s golden arches. These marks seem so simple, don’t they? And if you’ve spent any time looking for logo design services, you’d think it’s a simple process too. With online companies offering $50 logo design “packages” (including unlimited revisions), and sites where you can build your own logo, developing a logo can seem like a commodity similar to buying your company’s office supplies.
So why do discerning companies pay substantial amounts of green to hire a firm to custom design their logos? Perhaps the answer is that to really capture the essence of a brand, it takes a lot of thought, creativity, experience and trial and error. Ask any designer and they’ll tell you that designing a logo can be one of the most challenging projects they’ll tackle, because a successful logo says so much with so little. And regarding the cost? Well, a logo, like a company’s website is one of it’s most important brand assets. So the question really is, what’s the value of a corporate brand?
At Hile, we tell our clients that their logo is the clothes their company wears in public – a visual synonym for their business, and much more than a pretty graphic/type design – their logo should reflect the core of who they are.
We recently developed a brand identity for Go Docs Go, a medical start-up providing home medical care (read house calls) for homebound and geriatric patients. After going through the logo design process with our client, we thought we would provide a picture into how we do it.
Our first step was sitting down and talking with our client to discover who they were as a business, and how they could differentiate themselves from other competing firms. We needed to understand their core purpose, their customer promises and how they planned to prove those promises. We needed this information in order for the logo to have “authenticity.” While their competitors had typical corporate medical logos, Go Docs Go expressed a desire to have a friendly, contemporary logo that presented a sense of accessibility to their patients and their families, while still representing a professional organization that participating health care providers could align themselves with. These attributes were right on the mark with the way we experienced our client.
Next, we pass the torch to our designers and they develop an assortment of logo concepts. Then, internally we select the designs (sometimes as many as twenty) down to a few options to show our client. For Go Docs Go we also developed a tag line to communicate the company’s purpose: “Go Docs Go – The Doctor’s Office at your Door.”
Below are the designs we presented along with the reasoning behind each option. Our designer, Charlie Szczygiel, provides our narrative:
“The main thing we needed to communicate was ‘doctors (and other health care providers) coming to your home’ and we wanted to be clear about that message, so it shouldn’t be too abstract. There were some common medical images such as a stethoscope that we needed to avoid since our client’s competitors were already using them. Despite the ‘speedy’ reference in the Go Docs Go name, we realized early on that we should avoid visual references like the image below, as it might communicate speed at the expense of thorough patient care.”
The logos below are those we presented to our client. See if you can guess which one was selected, and click on the link at the bottom of this post to see if your selection matched the client’s final pick!
“This one was a softer option, but we still needed it to stand out. We wanted to try blue in order to give the logo more of a soothing feeling than the more typical medical red. This was a design where the messaging was incorporated in the typography.”
“This idea was the same concept as our first design, only in icon form. Initially, I was just playing with the icons and needed a way to contain them, so I ended up trying a pill image since that is a simple, medically recognizable shape. Then, we decided that if we put a slant instead of a straight line in the middle of the pill, it would communicate the travel aspect. The logo is saying three things (literally representing the tag line), but it is contained in a way that all the messaging works within a single icon.”
“This design communicates “medical” and “homes” in the simplest icon I could think of – the medical cross. The neighborhood graphic makes it a friendlier logo. The only downside of this might be that some people wouldn’t see a red cross right away, but it still works aesthetically and conceptually so I didn’t see a problem with the design.”
“This was a little abstract. ‘A little too feminine’ according to Dave (Hile). He felt this might be more applicable for, say, hospice care. But several designers argued it should be included and Dave gave in.”
“This one is pretty self explanatory. We wanted to present an option without a medical cross. The heart rate monitor delineates the shape of a house.”
“This design highlights a doctor or healthcare provider (developed from universal walking man) entering a home. It’s a literal and straightforward treatment. But that was okay since it was our goal to provide the client with a range of options.”
Click the link to find out which logo was chosen: The Winning Go Docs Go Logo.
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