A while back, we had the opportunity to tackle a branding job for a dentist in Granite City, Illinois. Dr. Mark Hewlett was just starting his own practice, a young dentist 29 years old at the time who wanted to set himself apart from the crowd.

So the brainstorm began…

Dentist offices…

+ toothbrushes

+ toothpaste

+ happy hygienists

+ shiny teeth

+ smiles everywhere

But more realistically, aren’t these places typically defined by…

+ a waiting room with pink and olive green wallpaper from the 70s

+ three-month-old issues of Better Homes and Gardens

+ a leather dentist chair covered in that crinkly clear plastic wrap

+ the possibility of having to come back next week to get that cavity drilled on

+ and the little plastic bag with a hard toothbrush you’ll toss into the closet for when your friend from Minnesota comes to visit and the airline lost his luggage.

So really, where do you go with a logo for a dentist? The happy dancing toothbrush has been done. You’ve seen it before – probably a number of times. Same goes for the extra shiny smile and glistening front tooth.

Well what about Dr. Hewlett? He’s a young guy, energetic, excited about his practice, is sporting a cool, high-tech, brand new office. How do you match that personality while creating a unique logo in a saturated market?

Our answer came in the form of flipping around a negative. We took some insight from the dentist chair and its typically negative connotations. In a sense, it’s an icon that many of us feared when we were five years old and one we still don’t look forward to seeing. We can relate to the experience of a dentist chair. So we took a less expected approach, literally painting that chair in a warm, welcoming light -and Dr. Hewlett’s personality is brought to life.

The result – an unexpected dentist logo that distinguishes itself from the majority of what’s out there. It’s a graphic that can be associated with Dr. Mark Hewlett, and him alone – something that can build equity in his company, be applied to a storefront sign, as well as his appointment cards and reminder mailers.

The idea is to create something unique and memorable that sets your business (whatever that might be) apart from the crowd. Tell your audience what your business is about and what makes it better from the shop down the street. Now you’ve got the foundation for building a strong brand image.

– Joe

thinker & designer (attempting to be a writer for the last half hour)