Naming your Dental Practice
“Every once and a while, a company has a logo that’s sort of a little jewel.”
How can we have a little jewel, to use without the name, to put on the product?”
This question that Steve Jobs asked himself, was a question that guided me in designing my logo and brand. Of course none of our dental practices are anywhere near the scale of Apple – but many of the business and marketing fundamentals from arguably the world’s greatest brand creator can be applied. I wanted a logo that I could stick on my business card, a brochure, a flyer, or on the side of my car. A logo that wouldn’t need any words to tell the community we were a dental office. But not just any dental office, I wanted them to see the logo and immediately feel like we were their dental office. Something that radiated comfort, familiarity, and simplicity — much as Jobs discusses in the above linked video.
At the end of the day, I feel like I achieved that goal to a level at which I am happy with my White Pine logo.
Oh, and I definitely DID NOT pay some firm to come up with my naming, branding and logo for me. Lean start-up, remember?
The physical design of the logo came after the emotional design of the logo and brand. When designing the branding for my practice I knew I needed a 1) name and a 2) logo. For my practice, I wanted my name and logo to mean something, even if upon first glance people did not realize it.
I understood the fact that most people hate the idea of going to the dentist. The dentist is scary. The dentist is sharp. The dentist is cold and sterile. So I knew I wanted something that emanated the opposite. I landed on the idea of naming my practice after a plant.
Plants are friendly. Plants are safe, living, kind, and peaceful. Those all sounded like great qualities to me. Qualities that no person would really innately feel against, the way many people are against or fearful of the dentist. I ran through plant name after plant name and nothing sounded quite right. Cherry Blossom Dental? Green Grass Dental? Tulip Dental? Evergreen Dental? None of these names resonated with me. And if they didn’t resonate with me. The brand wouldn’t be authentic.
I started to throw around the color white. As in pearly white teeth, bright white smile. Clean white. A dental office should be clean. I let my stream of consciousness carry me to several combinations. White Leaf Dental? White Oaks Dental? Nothing sounded quite right. Nothing authentic. As a life long State of Michigan residence, I googled ‘Michigan Plants.’ “The White Pine.” The White Pine was the State Tree of Michigan. That sounded great! I googled ‘White Pine’ and was flooded with lore, legend, and symbolism pertaining to the white pine tree. The white pine in native american legend was a symbol of peace, unity, and trust — and just so happened to be the state tree of my home state, and state I would be starting-up in…..it was also a symbol of the home of my patients.
In other words it was perfect.
I had the name. Now I needed the logo. I took out a pencil and paper and started sketching various logo mock-ups. After about 30 minutes of this, I transitioned to good old Microsoft Paint. I’ve got no experience in actual graphic design – Paint was a tool I was semi-comfortable with. In Paint I made a rough, very rough, looking mock up design of what you see as the current White Pine Dental Health logo.
- It had to be a logo that could stand alone.
- It had to look like I could reach out and GRAB it.
- You had to know it was a dentist from looking at it.
- You had to know ‘White Pine Tree’ from looking at it too.
- Oh, and I knew it HAD to be blue. Blue and White. Do some quick research, and you’ll see the emotional qualities we feel when we see the colors blue and white.
Again — I wanted everything to resonate a cohesive message. So I took my rough design I made in Paint, and headed on over to Fiverr.com. I paid someone $5 bucks to refine the image I designed and turn it into a high quality image file that I could scale to larger sizes and use for branding and signage.
Peace, Kindness, Trust, Unity — these are the qualities of the White Pine, and these qualities are traits that serve as a guide for the growth of my practice and the way my staff and I interact with patients. Your brand is your identity. When you are coming up with your own brand, make sure it is authentic to you and what you want your practice to be known for as well.