Why your branding comes before your new website

Your logo is a key part of your business identity and needs to come first!

An issue which is raised quite often when we are planning new websites for dentists is that of the business identity i.e. the logo and overall branding.

On quite a few occasions we’ve been asked to start work on a website design before a logo is ready or even started.

There is a belief held by some that a logo can simply be “plonked” on top of a new website design either when it is well underway or in fact finished – but this would be a fairly big mistake. We’ll discuss why this is in today’s blog.

Your branding as a foundation for your business identity

The visual elements which represent your brand e.g. your logo and the colour palette you adopt for various features throughout your business, are extremely important. This “visual identity” is what you want your patients to associate you with, so for example when they see your dental logo, they identify with it and know exactly who they are dealing with. Of course, this is on the simplest level and a brand is much more than a logo or colour scheme for the waiting room or staff uniform. The business culture, service levels, reputation etc are all huge factors in building and maintaining a brand.

That said, if your visual identity has no cohesion or is just generally poor, then it does not form any sort of solid foundation on which to start building all of the other elements. Consequently, key branding elements such as a logo really should come first before you start developing other key assets such as your dental practice website, signs, stationery etc.

Get it right first time

Having established that a good logo is a key part of your overall visual identity and needs to be done very early on in your development as a business, it pays to invest some time and money to get it right. Very often we are presented with logos which have been “home spun” or purchased for $50 from the Internet and which don’t really make the grade at all. They are typically either very generic, bland or just amateurish.

Trying to use such a logo to set the “look and feel” for a great website can be really difficult indeed and often ends up with a frank discussion with the client about a logo re-work or full redevelopment. So it really does pay to get it right first time before you start using the logo on your stationery and signs etc – switching after the event can be a chore and expensive!

What does a high-quality logo development cost?

Whilst you can pay thousands of pounds for a full branding study and logo development, there’s actually no need to. Whilst large high-street businesses and corporations will carry our major branding studies, demographic assessments and more, we have to be a bit more pragmatic and recognise that most dentists are small businesses and don’t really need such huge exercises in order to develop excellent visual identities.

Here at Dental Media we’ve developed hundreds of logos for dentists with fees starting at £495 + vat. The process involves generating several concepts and then iterating down to a final version with full feedback and consultation with the client. We also generate a full file pack with different versions of the artwork which can be used by any professional printer or sign-maker. This also includes a vector version of your logo which will maintain resolution irrespective of size – so essential for things like practice signs and high-quality print work. Another feature of cheap logos from the web is that you invariably don’t get a vector version – so when you come to need that high-quality version you’re stuck. The ‘buy cheap pay twice’ rule really does apply here.

Extending your logo and colour scheme

When you have a great logo and colour palette established, you then have an excellent foundation for extending it across to all sorts of other features in the practice; from signs, garments, stationery, window banners and wherever else appropriate. We regularly help dental clients with the development of full stationery packs following on from the initial logo development.

Maintain consistency!

There is also a tendency for some dentists to want to start tweaking their logos when it might not be advisable. This ranges from adding new “odd” elements to an existing logo, to more subtle, but still unnecessary inclusion of convoluted strap lines etc. One of the key aspects of building a brand is to maintain consistency and this certainly holds for the visual identity elements too. So unless it’s absolutely necessary to change your logo, then don’t. Of course, this is another good reason to make sure that it’s done well in the first place!

Summary

The visual identity of your brand, including your logo, is extremely important and needs to be done well and very early on in the development of your business. Key elements such as the development of your practice website will leverage very heavily on your logo, not just the colour scheme, and hence it needs to be suitable for the job and available at the start of the design process. Adding or tweaking later on will only detract and must be avoided if at all possible – so please plan for this in advance.

If you’d like to discuss logo design for dentists in more detail, we’ll be pleased to help. Simply call the Dental Media design office on 01332 672548 for a friendly chat and advice.