No living being is immune to sickness or health related issues. In fact, even when we talk of natural death at a ripe age, we unconsciously include death from diseases because the inability to produce new body cells is a kind of disease.
As a result of this susceptibility to diseases, the need for medical treatment has grown (let’s blame it on the population explosion and the environmental pollution), the demand for medical facilities has grown. Healthcare sector had been kept safe from the business ‘poachers’ behind a curtain of ethics and secrecy for centuries. Malpractices in the healthcare facilities were almost never talked of. And, more importantly, medical facilities were barred from advertising their services or expertise. The American Medical Association banned the practice of advertising by individual medical facilities in its code of ethics 1847, declaring the practice of advertising ‘derogatory to the dignity of the profession.’ (And you will see why I highlighted this phrase.)
(“Hospital Advertising: Good Business, or Time to Pull the Plug?”; Sep 24, 2014; on Wharton, University of Pennsylvania – source)
However, gone were the days with a circuit appellate court in 1980 lifting the ban saying that the ban was in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act protecting free commerce. And with that reversal, there has been a deluge of ads, with the amounts spent on ads by the individual hospitals and clinics reaching $2.4 billion in the US alone. (The issues relating Pharmaceuticals will be dealt in another writeup.)
In addition, the online marketing has made the health service sector even more commercial. Easiness with which the medical equipment is produced, the invention of electronic devices and ‘wearables’ with which a patient can monitor their health condition on their own round the clock in the comfort of their own homes simplified the treatment procedures.
The online medical treatment has made it so simple that, instead of rushing to a nearby facility to report the readings or to consult a physician or surgeon, a patient, having tie-up with a particular medical facility, can just upload the condition/readings on their computer and the medical personnel on the other side can study them and send back the instructions to the patient directly, saving the trouble of making numerous trips to the facility and the time waiting there.
Consequently, we are no more limited to our local facilities. As is the case with every other business, the medical business has become global. A patient in Australia can have their ailments cured by a specialist in Germany. If need be, there is the Skype or other app/tools through which the patient and the physician can “video chat” at their convenience, and the prescription is door-delivered by an online logistics company, and the payment is done online through Paypal! With “telesurgeries”, even major surgeries are done online! Amazing, isn’t it? (source)
Therefore, every medical facility tries to make good use of the available technology. Consequently, it has become mandatory for any hospital, clinic or fitness/wellness center to have an attractive name, a logo, and a website. Statistics confirm that some of the medical facilities have advertised their services spending more than what the branded companies in fashion or cosmetic sector have.
Though the health care facilities earn lots of money, somehow, for unknown reasons, some doctors show high degrees of miserliness in having their online presence: they go for cheap logos and below standard websites that not only show the facilities’ meanness but also harm the very facilities by not serving the purpose.
To make the matters meaner, some facilities go to designing companies that deliver rip off logos and unprotected websites, throwing the patient’s privacy and the facility’s income to the wolves.
There may be some experts who blame the design companies for such malpractices, and I admit they are right… but only to some extent because it is also the responsibility of the hospital or clinic to do some preliminary investigation before choosing a particular design company. You can’t blame the scalpel for the failure of the surgery and the patient’s death, can you?
Here we have a few examples of the logos that have been created awfully or used unethically. Please do forgive the poor quality of these images. But you can guess why they are of such poor quality. Most of these healthcare and medical facilities have atrocious websites with poor quality logo images. They also lack well branded social media channels from where we can sample high quality logo images.
KL Fertility Centre in Malaysia is devoted exclusively to fertility treatment and helping patients realise their dream of having a family.
Satjot Human Reproduction and Research Centre, Amritsar, State of Punjab, India.
Sunfert International Fertility Centre Sdn Bhd; Unit 2-2, Level 2, Nexus, Bangsar South, No. 7 Jalan Kerinchi, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, 59200
Srushti is one of the leading and most recognised fertility centre in India. They claim to be the most trusted centre for IVF, Egg donation and Surrogacy since 1993 and are located at 1 Padmavathy Street, Thirumalai Nagar Ramapuram, Chennai, India.
Fertility Check was established in Cork in 2012 to provide Irish men with a dedicated fertility testing service.
The fertility experts at RMANJ claim to have among the highest in vitro fertilization success rates in the country, nearly 20% higher than the national average, and have delivered more than 30,000 babies to loving families.
The Fertility Institute of Hawaii was founded by Dr. John Frattarelli.
This BFC Biofertility Center logo is nothing more than a reflection of all the examples above! Common!!
What is this? Protecting yourself and your family from the sperm attack or what?
Jacksonville Center for Reproductive Medicine — Jacksonville • Fleming Island • Riverside • Gainesville
And there are many more of such incidents. Any novice can search for information and find out whether theirs is a genuine or imitation design. It’s all there for all of us to see.
Where are the ethics? Do we still blame the designing companies for this sick practice of copyright violation?
As a designer, I am often intrigued why doctors/surgeons go for the part of the body they treat in their logos. Is it compulsory that a cardiology clinic has a heart in its logo or a dental clinic has a molar or an ENT hospital has an ear and a nose in its logo?
Well, having the body part in the logo certainly indicates the type of medical facility a patient is going to approach, but then, you are not in a street with shops on either side with the wares being exposed in the windows or on the walls so that you can go to the shop after noticing the item on the display you need to buy.
Though hospitals, clinics and even doctors are reaching out directly to their target patients (consumers), and though, with the emergence of health exchanges, patients can ‘shop’ in a health care ‘marketplace’, we still need some dignity and ethical approach here.
Here are a couple of example of infertility facilities with their logos which look almost alike:
What kind of a logo is this? If those lines are to be taken as people, what are they doing in that position? Do you have to show the ‘union’ of two people of opposite sex to indicate the facility is of ‘fertility’ and ‘getting or making pregnant’?
What are we expected to infer from these logos? This icon for Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg seems to show one person holding what appears to be a small person or child and the other adult doing something that I can not mention on this page! Call me sick but don’t tell me you don’t see that inference too!
It is a fertility clinic logo! What are these two people doing? Are they moving at supersonic speeds to make love? Or are they chest thumping?
Trinidad and Tobago IVF & Fertility Centre. What in the world is this icon?
Here we have a fertility logo that makes a bit of sense, but only to those who know the story of storks delivering babies just because they mate for life.
And here are some more samples of logos of Fertility facilities that have line drawings representing a male, a female and a baby to indicate fertility and getting/making pregnant:
Founded in 1980 by Dr.R.P.S Virk, one of the pioneer Surgeons in Punjab, India. Virk Hospital and Maternity Home has been one of the leading advance surgical centres in Punjab.
Family-owned and family-oriented fertility practice, Austin, Texas. I must admit the icon looks nice but would be better for a family care center or even may look like a religious symbol with the baby in the manger reference.
The New York Fertility Center, Medical & Health. Did one of the doctors actually draw this in their prescription handwriting and then turn it into a logo??
Here we have a logo that depicts the Devil for Blue Devil Health Center. Calais High School Blue Devil Health Center Teen Advocacy Group! A devil’s advocate? Sensible, isn’t it?
Does a Nursing Clinic have to have a nurse in their logos?
Looks as if those two in the logo were tickling themselves… for being at that hospital.
Here we see a dental Clinic logo. Who are these two people? Are they reclining in a park? Or is one of them the dentist and he is holding the patient in a strangle hold?!
You may be wondering what you see here. An acupuncture needle between a woman’s legs! WTF?? Are you serious? Does this make any sense?
Your logo is your identity; it reflects your presence, your expertise and your decency. So, making it look silly doesn’t serve the purpose. You can’t have a stereotyped logo and expect to have an exclusive brand identity. Your logo is to make you stand apart from the crowd; not to keep you in the pen with the flock.