Everyone needs to go to the hospital at one time or another, even if it’s just to visit a loved one—or to be born. And so hospitals must be ready to welcome anyone at any time, not just the sick and injured.
A welcoming vibe is not just about the friendliness of the staff and doctors, it also includes the hospital’s presentation of itself. And that starts with branding and logos.
There are a lot of hospitals and medical providers out there, each with different services and specialties. While it may be difficult to distill the essence of your medical operation down to a simple logo, we hope to give you a starting point to inspire your own design.
Carry your cross logos
The red cross was established as an international symbol of medical aid on the battlefield by the Geneva Conventions in the 19th Century. (It was originally inspired by the Swiss flag, simply reversing the colors.) Since then, the cross has been taken up by hospitals and medical facilities around the world.
This makes it a great starting point for your logo, since it’s instantly and universally recognized. The symmetrical shape leaves no confusion as to who you are and what you do.
But just because this is a classic symbol, don’t feel constrained by it when designing your hospital logo. You can readily alter the color to match your branding. The corners and edges don’t all have to be perfectly straight and square; a softer-edged cross is still a cross. Or get even more creative; build the shape out of medical items, such as a stethoscope or pills.
The mysterious caduceus
The caduceus is an even older symbol, dating back to ancient Greece. (Actually, the ancient symbol of medicine was the Rod of Asclepius, which only has one snake, but the two-snake-on-a-staff caduceus was mistakenly used in the 1800s, and now we’re stuck with it.)
Still, incorporating this into your medical or hospital logo can make it feel connected to the past. There’s a certain trust that comes with experience, and you can’t get more experienced than Hippocrates.
Show some (healthy) bodies
The principal objective of any logo is to show you what the organization does. In the case of a hospital logo, that should be pretty obvious: we make you healthy. Thus, it’s a pretty simple idea to show healthy bodies in your logo.
If you specialize in a certain type of surgery or treatment, you may want to focus on that. In the case of maternity wards, you’ll need to design a logo with two people, which can be tricky. You need to ensure that the image doesn’t get too cluttered when shrunk down to the size of a business card or website icon.
One way to avoid this issue is to become cartoony—illustrate cartoon animals in a mother/child relationship. Or, evoke the classic image of a stork! As long as the little one appears happy and healthy, you’re good.
Heart healthy logos
The heart deserves special mention in any review of medical logos. Not only is it an obviously vital organ, but it has important symbolic meanings, as well. Most cultures around the world associate the heart with health and vitality, as well as caring and love.
Doesn’t that sound like the kind of hospital you’d want to be treated at?
There are many ways to depict a heart, from fairly realistic to the classic valentine’s candy shape. Because it’s so recognizable, you can be fairly abstract and creative with it, while still retaining the meaning.
Take two logos and call me in the morning
On the other end of the meaning spectrum is a literal representation of the equipment doctors use. Stethoscopes, pills and the classic head mirror are all great options for medical logos. No matter how simplified or stylized, they’re instantly recognized and understood.
Plus, you can combine them with other images, like a house or globe or even a rainbow, depending on the nature and name of your practice. The stethoscope’s tube, in particular, allows for a lot of flexibility (pardon the pun).
Right-brained, abstract logos
Not every hospital logo has to represent something, at least not in the literal sense. Instead, you can appeal to the right side of the brain. (Sure, the whole right/left-brain thing is a myth but it works as a metaphor!)
An abstract logo has many benefits. For one, it’s not restricted to a literal interpretation. As your hospital or medical practice grows, you won’t have to create a new logo to encompass your new options. But just as importantly, an abstract illustration can still evoke a feeling. Warm colors, smooth lines, and soft shapes feel caring and welcoming. This is a great look for both ends of the life cycle, from maternity to hospice care.
On the other hand, hard edges and cool colors feel technical and precise. High tech medical research facilities, or hospitals that perform cutting edge surgeries can benefit from this style.
Lettermarks and wordmarks
Maybe you don’t want to use an illustration at all. A good, clean wordmark or lettermark can be just as memorable if done correctly. What’s a wordmark? It’s a logo that focuses on the hospital’s name, using customized font. (A lettermark is the same thing, using only initials.)
Like the abstract logos above, the right typography can convey a feeling on its own. Further, you can enliven the wordmark with a bit of internal illustration, creating a combination mark. Turning a lower-case t into a red cross, for example, or incorporating a pill into one of the letters.
The possibilities are endless, as long as you don’t think of it as “just” text.
Treat your logo right
This is a lot to think about, especially if you’re already a busy medical practitioner. When you’re looking for the perfect hospital logo, make sure to choose a style and shape that represents what your hospital or practice is all about. You can tell from the wealth of examples above that you don’t have to settle for a run-of-the-mill logo. From warm and approachable logos to modern high-tech logos, anything is possible. A professional designer can help you find the perfect solution for you.