Ampersandesign is an Oxford based agency offering print and web orientated brand communication and graphic design. Ampersand Design has over 40 years combined experience.
Good design is good business. Lester Beall

On Identistry Design

“Tuesday, dental appointment, 2.30”

If that diary entry has you weakening at the very mention of two conscious hours spent in the dentist’s chair, you’re not alone... Fear of dentistry is high on the list of common phobias – a fact emphasized in our first meeting with Rob and Cathy Hughes, owners of Oxfordshire based Eynsham Dental Care.

On entering one of their surgeries with our clients, Dave and I caught sight of the reclining chair and exchanged nervous glances. We both stiffened, imagining cramp-inducing oral excavations performed to the shrill metal sound track of 400,000 rpm. Reassuring our agitated senses that we weren’t there for treatment, any anxiety we felt was soon replaced by the eager anticipation of working with one of our industry’s greatest challenges: Perception. With that thought, our expressions relaxed into well-flossed smiles of enthusiasm.

Our briefing began with a discussion on plans for the practice, the nature of the profession, competitors etc. To this picture, we added our own first impressions and experiences of the practice and its people. Among these, we knew we could find significant clues to the creation and strengthening of our client’s visual identity – the very personality that differentiates one business from another.

We were instructed to steer away from the all-too-obvious visual references of extracted molars, bite impressions and – unsurprisingly – colours associated with butchery and poor hygiene. EDC’s finished logo contains a subtle suggestion of an orderly row of pearly whites, with the overall effect being one of cleanliness, precision and professionalism.

There are two weight variations of the logo, depending on contexts for use and these also come in stacked, inline and shortened forms. But perhaps the most interesting element to EDC’s identity is one which was prompted by our client’s need to communicate the balance of clinical modernity with their outstanding level of patient care, reassurance and personal service.

Encapsulated in a single graphic is an ideogram that reinforces EDC’s strapline: “your care in our hands” and which portrays a relaxed figure cradled in a protective hand.

The hand/care graphic is a valuable part of Eynsham Dental Care’s identity and we have ensured consistency and scope for its reproduction – from stationery and promotional material to their scrubs, exterior signage and interior décor. We’ve even suggested that the staff’s branded mugs receive regular treatment from the hygienist, to ensure their reputation remains untarnished by tea stains.

We’ll be sharing images of the expanding usage of EDC’s identity system as it rolls out. In the meantime, we’re pleased to say that our appointments with Eynsham Dental Care have had a very positive outcome: our clients are happy with the treatment we gave their brand identity and confident that their communication design remains in good hands.

Oh, and we no longer have an irrational fear of hydraulic reclining chair.

Shireen Dew
28th August 2016