DESIGN: Nicklaus Children’s Hospital

Published On March 23, 2015 | Design

The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital was originally founded in 1950 as the Variety Children’s Hospital. This year marks the 65th anniversary and coincides with a name change and a re-brand.

Nicklaus Children's Hospital logoDARREN BALLMy first impression of the new Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s new logo was one of confusion. What does loving polar bears in the heart of Florida have to do with a children’s hospital? I understand it’s a children’s hospital and they are more than likely going for a fun, bold and bright logo. But a polar bear living in Florida?

The name change to the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is in recognition of a the $60 million pledge from the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation to aid the Miami Children’s Health System. The Miami Children’s Health Foundation is currently looking to raise funds up to $150 million by 2017, for its Together for the Children Campaign.

Knowing this now, and digging a bit deeper into the Jack Nicklaus name, I found out that his nickname is “The Golden Bear”.

Now perhaps this is common knowledge in the Florida area or even across the United States, but as someone with no knowledge of golf, and even less of its players, this logo can be confusing. Making an assumption that the wider audience will ‘get’ your logo and understand it is a dangerous thing.

The fact that it is a kids’ hospital logo does not mean we should treat kids with any less thought and emotion than if we were designing a logo for an adults only hospital. The use of primary colours is an obvious decision, but does that necessarily make it the right decision?

We should be treating children in the same manner as adults when it comes to creating a logo and branding for something as big and as broad as a major hospital. The triad of three different hues is used well but the colours somehow seem washed out.

If the alignment and spacing had been looked at a little closer the entire feel of the logo would have been improved. Simply moving the wording slightly right away from the line allowing more space would balance the logo better. The alignment of the wording below the logo “Miami Children’s Health System” is also completely out. Alignment is a key to good logo design to bring balance and calm to a logo.

A hospital logo (as with all logos) should be strong and needs to work over various platforms from massive billboards to the tiniest logos on pens and utensils. The logo also needs to work in black and grey or even monochrome for stationary and invoices.

I feel this logo will fall short and become difficult to implement across the various platforms effectively.

The choice of font is always a difficult and time-consuming task. There are thousands of fonts and styles to choose from and often the font can make or break a logo. This is something many designers struggle with. Typography is a specialist skill and many designers only learn the correct use of fonts and styles after many years of trial and error.

Again the rules seem to have been adhered to; combine serif with sans-serif and contrast of font’s styles. But even though the rules seem to have been acknowledged, the execution again seems to fall short. The font weights are still to similar so they compete for attention. Using the blue for the font pushes the wording back against the warmth of the pink heart and even the yellow bear, the font therefore needs to be stronger for it to be prominent.

Logos need to be intuitive and need to reflect the thought and feeling of the client. In this case, the idea is there but the execution has prevented the logo from reaching its full potential, the small details need to be addressed to lift this logo from the slapped together clip art look to a fuller formed idea and identity.

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