September 24, 2015

I need to start by admitting that I have absolutely no background in design, graphic or otherwise. Pretty much the extent of my design experience is knowing that the golden ratio is something close to 1.62:1, and nobody’s really used that since Da Vinci. But I’m also reasonably sure you’ve never served in the United States Congress, and that hasn’t stopped you from complaining to me that you could obviously do it better.

I recently watched this TED Talk, in which Roman Mars talks about design. Not just any design- city flag designs. We at Supply Clinic are fortunate to be based in Chicago, a city with a solid, quality flag design.

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The flag reminds us that good design is important across the board. There’s a reason you don’t often see San Francisco’s flag, for instance.

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(That's supposed to be a phoenix in the middle, I think.)

When Scott and I sat down to hammer out the very early designs and wireframes for Supply Clinic, we wanted something iconic and simple for ourselves, ideally something to help convey what we do. We went through a whole host of different ideas for the Supply Clinic logo. Our first instinct was to include a dental product in the design.

We burned through one idea after another. Make the L in “Supply” a toothbrush? Or a probe? Underline “Supply Clinic” with a strand of floss? Needless to say, none of these ideas were particularly good.

We also didn’t want to tie our hands, in case we broadened our horizons and sold to related healthcare niches, such as ENTs.  In fact, we’ve already partnered with Medimax, LLC, which sells primarily medical supplies (including tongue depressors). A number of our other vendors sell medical supplies in addition to their dental offerings. So we switched our focus to medical designs and thought about incorporating a caduceus or stethoscope into our company name for the logo design. It didn’t work. Neither did adding sutures or stitches.

Ultimately, we ran with a box logo. We needed something relatively iconic that we could make our own. A box made sense- when you’re a marketplace, people buy goods through you, and those goods arrive in boxes. Simple, logical.

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The logo itself is simple and self-explanatory. Design is crucial to a clean user experience. We’re always putting a significant amount of focus on making our website cleaner, and simpler, and more intuitive. Of course, that’s meant making filters more responsive, making the search algorithm sharper. But even as those pieces fall into place, we need to make sure we’ve chosen the right colors for buttons, sleek fonts, and the right words wherever there’s text in order to fit in the given space.

Maybe we’ll then figure out how to make use of the golden ratio.

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