Tag Archives: logos

Why Do Dentists Have Such Terrible Logos?

Anglelic tooth with toothbrush

Teeth really aren’t very cute

It hardly seems fair to be picking on dentists. After all, they are the people everyone wants to avoid. Despite the fact that I’d rather have a root canal than review some of these terrible dental logos, I feel as compelled to comment on them as I am to floss.¬† Your mother may have taught you that the human body is beautiful. I beg to differ. There is nothing beautiful about a single tooth as your logo. A smile is beautiful. A tooth? Not so much.

bad logo design for dentist

If one tooth is ugly, aren’t more even uglier?

So what are the common problems with dentist’s logos? Many try to turn an ugly tooth into a friendly tooth, perhaps so that kids will want to visit. Our smiling angle tooth (why not the tooth fairy?) is representative of this appalling trend. Frequently, the smiling tooth is accompanied by a toothbrush, since we won’t recognize the naked tooth.

If a single tooth is ugly, why not jazz up that border to create a fascinating pattern? I’m afraid that more of a bad thing doesn’t make it better.

dentists logo stock artwork

Stylized tooth is slight improvement

A trend that I do see with dentist’s logos is the attempt to create a highly stylized, artistic rendition of a tooth. Although I find these much more attractive than the friendly tooth logos or the realistic tooth logos, they can end up being an unrecognizable curve on some logo designs.

So what’s the solution? When in doubt, abstract. Don’t focus on the body part–focus on the function, which is smiling or eating.

Apple Orthodontix has nailed it with their use of an apple in their name and logo. People associate an apple with good health. And what better place to see the results of straight teeth than in an apple bite?

In my next post, we’ll review logos for audiologists, who are challenged working with a similarly ugly body part. We’ll see what they’ve done to improve on the dental logos.

What do you think? Are there any other types of businesses that are beset by tacky logos? Why do you think that is?

Orthodontist logo features Apple

Related Apple symbol works best

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What Does Wall Street Know About Branding?

I recently decided to spend my weekend in a class on complex stock trades. Although this is a bit off-task for a marketer like me, I found it interesting that there are a few companies so enamored with their brands that they use brand symbols or creative abbreviations for their stock ticker.

harley Davidson logo memorable

Recognized for HOG by bikers and investors alike

For example, if you were going to invest in HOG, who might that be? No, it’s not a pig farm–it’s Harley Davidson, natch! MOO, however, is a cattle-related agribusiness concern. CAT is not cattle-related, but instead is the stock ticker for Caterpillar, manufacturer of tractors and heavy equipment.

Who owns the LUV brand symbol? Not a perfumery or jewelry company. It’s Southwest Airlines, a cost-efficient airline.

Embroiderered southwest airlines logo

How about a little “LUV” in the heart?

The LUV term originated with their home airport of Dallas LOVE Field, and then was co-opted by corporate branding to apply to the airlines LUV of customers and reasonable fares.

Other interesting tickers for brand symbols include:

  • BID, Sotheby’s auction house
  • CAKE, The Cheesecake Factory
  • BTU, Peabody Energy Company (coal)
  • WOOF, VCA Anatech, a pet healthcare company
  • BOOM, provider of explosives and mining/construction equipment

Do these cutesy stock tickers have any impact on the performance of the company or the stock? Interestingly, some academics from Pomona College compared company performance of companies with clever stock symbols with the market as a whole, and found they performed better by a factor of 23.5%. Who knew?

brand symbols stock market

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