design ideaGood design is the most important way to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, Chris Baker says.

I would hope to be pushing against an open door with this concept. Speaking as I am to an audience of professionals with an interest in aesthetics.

Experience has taught me though that very often this isn’t the case. If dental practices can cut corners in regard to design, branding and marketing materials, they often do.

So, why should you care?

10 reasons that good design matters

  • If your logo looks substandard, then the public will naturally infer that the dentistry on offer is too. You might come up with a million reasons why that isn’t true but it won’t matter. In their mind it is
  • You may not like the comparison, but you are up against the retailers in terms of discretionary spend. Do they have the dental implant or that holiday they fancy? If they put off the family check-ups for six months, they can go away for the weekend and so on. As you are ‘competing’ in that marketplace, to be successful your brand and design really has to look the part
  • What should your ‘brand’ look like? Who are you? What do you stand for? Why should I come and see you rather than the very nice practice down the road? Take the time to consider these questions so that when you come to speak to a designer you have the brief to give them (by the way: ‘I’ll know it when I see it’, does not constitute a brief!)
  • What colours do you like? What fonts do you like? Will your target audience like these too?
  • Really invest time in the design of your logo – everything else will derive from this, so take the time to get it right. You have to like it, but do remember it’s actually your target audience who have to identify with it
  • Produce a simple set of brand guidelines that stipulate how to use the logo, straplines and brand materials. For example four colour, mono, reversed, scaled up and down and so on. This may seem like overkill for a dental practice, but it really does focus minds and ensures all the material produced is on message
  • However great the temptation, employ a design agency; not a friend of the family who ‘is really good at design’. Even if they are, you will be bottom of their list, you won’t get a timely service, it can sour a friendship – the list goes on. I may be biased(!) but I would say it is worth the money to pay a professional
  • When designing promotional literature, such as leaflets and fliers, remember that less is more, particular when considering words. Don’t be afraid of the white space!
  • Human beings find it difficult to concentrate on more than one thing at a time. When writing and designing advertisements and fliers, stick to one key message and avoid the temptation to list everything that you do.

When you print anything, don’t skimp on it!

Go for the heaviest weight paper that suits the format that you can. It will only cost a few pounds more and the effect is palpable.

When investing in welcome packs and business cards, consider those options that will add a touch of class, such as foiling, matt lamination, spot colours and so on. They make a difference.

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