We live in a society that’s so complex that not one individual has a hope of understanding the whole. Consider what you’re doing right now. You’re reading an article on a machine so complicated, using a world-wide telecommunication system so intricate that there’s no way on person could understand all of it and for most of us it might as well be magic. Whether we are dealing with our private or professional lives, most of us don’t have the time to do much more that get through our lives while being minimally destructive or creative. And yet, problems arise constantly and, because these problems require solutions, we have to pay other people to solve them for us.
These ‘other people’, these ‘solution makers’ are usually companies that provide services, in the form of some sort of labour or some sort of device. But companies vary hugely in the reliability of their services. Some companies can barely make anything work and fortunately they usually don’t last long. Some companies, well, you could trust them with your life.
The medical field is an area where problems arise where you often have no choice but to trust the solution makers with your life. Fortunately, because Australia is a developed country, there are mechanisms in place to ensure that solution makers are trustworthy. One such mechanism is the ‘professional body’ – an organization that exists specifically to ensure standards of reliability. In Australia, there are a number of professional bodies, and the one that specifically represents ‘non-pharmaceutical products used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and disability’ is the Medical Technology Association of Australia.’
Visiting its members page is a concentrated case study in the art of understanding how logos work in this particular industry.
A logo, or logotype, is basically a sign or symbol that tells you, in a matter of seconds, what you’re supposed to think about a company. We grow up with these symbols and they have a language all their own, a language that most of us understand subconsciously.
What medical technology companies want to communicate through their logos is a microcosm of what most people want to feel when they are dealing with medical matters. These include, but are not limited to feelings of –
… we’re sure that you can think of others.
Because the feeling that these manufacturers are very specific, the language is very specific too.
Consider the colour palette. Visit the page and you’ll notice a preponderance of scarlet (to evoke the Red Cross), pale blue (clean water), deep blue (stability) and greys and blacks (no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point although grey is subtler than black) and, of course, ultra-clean white
Green is a less common choice usually used to denote ‘freshness’, but also ‘life’. So …
An exception to this general rule is the logo of ‘Device Technologies’
that uses purple in its logo. This is perhaps because of this colour’s association with ultra-violet light and its sterilizing effect. After all you want the medical equipment used in your treatment to be sterile.
An even rarer colour choice is orange …
… but it’s a cold orange – that feeling of cleanliness again. Then again, some companies like to play the field …
… but once again note the cold, ‘spectrum’ colours.
It might seem obvious, but it bears thinking about that if a medical technology company is thinking of designing and trade-marking a logo in Australia, preferably under the guidance of a qualified intellectual property attorney, that the colour choices shouldn’t stray too far from the ‘industry pallet’.
You should also think about choosing a sans-serif font to reinforce the ‘no-nonsense, clean, efficient’ message.