Medical practitioners often struggle to convey their expertise and image effectively. It’s doubly challenging when its a multi-syllable word (audiology) focused on a less than attractive body part (the ear). This post examines the how audiologists have overcome logo design issues more effectively than dentists, the subject of my last post.
While searching for an audiologist’s office recently, I was guided by this somewhat helpful sign. I say “somewhat” because it isn’t as immediately recognizable as a striped barber pole or a pharmacist’s Rx symbol. I’m sure a Rorschach test would yield lots of different answers: is it a sonogram of a fetus? Or perhaps a map of Pangaea? But after driving around lost for 10 minutes looking for an audiologist, it was enough to assure me I had finally found the place.
But do you want to base your logo on the ear? It’s complex–so many working parts. And there isn’t an effective symbolic abstraction like the heart shape. In the logo on the right, they’ve tried. I think it’s attempting to show a hearing aid wrapped around the ear. Unfortunately, hearing aids are also hard to recognize.
Perhaps it’s time for a little abstraction. Instead of focusing on the ear, let’s focus on its function: helping us to hear sound. How about incorporating sound waves into the design? As you can see by the design from Estes Audiology, that provides for a simple, 1-color minimalist logo, that is easily reproduced.
I like the way the sound waves bounce off the curved round e and the s, like ripples in a pond. Someone put some thought into this. So if sound waves are good, why not combine them with an ear to really hammer home the concept? That’s what Nilsson Audiology did. They’ve used a softer, non-traditional color palette with a nicely symbolic design. What’s really interesting is how the logo combines the sound and ear symbols to create a heart shape. Which approach do you like best, the simple or the hidden symbols?
But you aren’t stuck with just sound waves and ears. Aren’t there other symbols that convey hearing? For example, what are some of the sounds you listen for? What do you put up to your ear to hear? How about a sea shell?
My absolute favorite audiology logo is this one from the Aud Bling. The sea shell is an easily recognizable symbol, and I love the color gradiation. There’s no question that your logo will pop when customers are looking for your location, or scanning for relevant business ads on a printed page. AuDBling is actually the symbol for a line of jewelry designed by an audiologist, Noel Crosby.
So like with dentists logos, the lesson learned is this: don’t focus on the body part. Abstract, and look for related, easily identifiable symbols. And of course, look for a more creative use of color.