A Venn for the Doctor

Odell Logo Final CMYK

My doctor was starting her own private practice. It was a big step, taken with not a little trepidation.

I remember when I started my own business. The euphoria of being my own boss was certainly tempered by a bit of white knuckled terror, but the thrill of making a difference in the world on my own terms certainly won the day.

I knew the same would be the case with Dr. Tamara Odell, as did everyone who knew her. She is the most extraordinary doctor I have every known. She’s certainly one of the smartest people to take the Hippocratic oath. But more than that, she is caring and compassionate, and she listens. (Yes, really! When was the last time you had a doctor care about what you had to say?) Plus, she doesn’t take any crap from anyone.

We had many conversations about the branding of her new practice, trying out different names and discussing the values she wanted to project to her patients.

As I do with all my logo clients, I had Tam fill out a comprehensive creative brief to help her think through the brand image she wanted to project and to help me give her values and mission a graphic identity to represent her brand. My instructions are always to not edit the answers, to just let the information flow, because you never know where inspiration will strike.

There was one notation on her brief that jumped out at me as I reviewed her answers, something she later told me that she almost did not include:

“I describe my style of medicine as a Venn diagram—traditional medicine, alternative medicine, nutrition, spiritual—I practice @ the overlap.”

Although I had some other ideas that I worked into concepts for her consideration, her statement about the Venn diagram really got me going.

I started by drawing a four-part Venn diagram, and then I deconstructed it, taking away everything except the areas that overlapped. It was an interesting shape, but nothing special. Then I rotated the shape 45 degrees, and suddenly it wasn’t just a piece of a Venn diagram: it had taken on a resemblance to a quilting motif. It still looked clean and modern, but the added hominess of the suggestion of a quilt spoke to the warmth and compassion that is Dr. Odell.

The color palette of greens and blues also elicited feelings of comfort and care.

For the logo type I ultimately decided on Yana, a font family with classic lines but also with decorative serifs that perfectly fit the personality of Dr. Odell and her practice. Also, “Yana” is a Russian name, so I saw the use of this font as a nod to Tam’s fondness for (and previous study of) Russian literature. (That’s the kind of private inside tribute I get a kick out of including in my designs when the opportunity presents itself and it works for the design!)

For the logo design reveal, I first showed Tam the other concepts, which were well received, but no fireworks.

When I revealed the Venn logo concept, however, she burst into tears.

Yup, that’s right. I made the client cry. Not something I strive to do, but then again this client is a dear friend, and the energy and emotion in the room at that moment made it clear that we had found Tam’s logo. Special moment.

With the logo finalized, we then moved on to the design of her stationery, signage, office intake forms, everything carrying through her practice’s graphic identity.

After just a year and a half, Dr. Odell has a robust practice specializing in the treatment of tick-borne illnesses. She’s one of the best in her field. I’m humbled to have helped her with her branding.

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