How to convey trust and care via Graphic Design
Possibly the single most important emotion your patients can feel when thinking of you as a medical practitioner is trust. Trust that you’ll care for them. Trust that you’ll provide the best advice, that you’ll be empathetic to their situation, and that your treatment of them will be as successful as humanly possible. To do that, as a medical practitioner, you need to make promises that you can deliver on – even in bad situations.
You might be thinking, “Well, once they talk to me, they’ll know how genuinely concerned I am about their welfare and how committed I am to providing the best possible care for the most positive outcome”. However, in this digital age, the potential patient might never actually talk to you if your online material doesn’t convey the right message. Even word-of-mouth recommendations can falter if people don’t respond positively to your online presence. Your graphic designer plays a critical role in optimising that vital introduction to you as a caring and trustworthy practitioner.
In the online world, the visual tools at your graphic designer’s disposal are typography, shapes, colours and layout. These combine to provide a ‘personality’ impression: you are trustworthy and caring, or you’re cold and clinical. Prospective patients will consciously and sub-consciously assessment form their impressions. Once that initial impression is formed, it’s very difficult to change. From that point on, people tend to look for clues to reinforce their opinion.
Colour has immense power to create instant impressions. Blue is a favourite colour of website owners and designers because it’s the colour of calm, peace and serenity: the sea, the sky and our very planet. It helps us feel safe. Indeed, 29 of the world’s top 100 famous brands use blue as their corporate colour. If ‘trust’ were to be translated into a colour, then it would probably be blue. Think banks, as well as medical services. ‘Blue’ has many variants, as do all colours. At DSD, we work with you to choose the exact colour and shade to help you stand out from your competitors, while communicating your messages of trustworthiness and caring.
Beyond the words you use, the letters that form those words also evoke emotional reactions in visitors to your website. Typography conveys a subliminal message about your personality. Your font choice can categorise you as ‘mature’, ‘reliable’, ‘happy’, ‘casual’, ‘boring’ or ‘conformist’. As a medical practitioner, you’ll be wanting to achieve the best balance of ‘personableness’ with caring and reliability, so patients will feel comfortable and confident.
Viewers also react to shapes. Shapes fall into three clear categories: geometric, abstract (think symbols) and organic (drawn from nature and therefore irregular). Shape is a fundamental tool of the graphic designer.
Geometric shapes, such as squares, rectangles, circles and triangles can communicate a sense of power over the natural world. As a medical practitioner, that may be a subliminal message you want to convey. The circle, with is unending curves can represent femininity and softness; this has great potential for a caring medical design. The same cannot always be said for triangles, which, if used incorrectly can represent instability or downward momentum. This isn’t a good subliminal message for a medical practice.
Abstract shapes have great potential, particularly when used to convey a very human approach. Two hands forming a heart shape is a great example of this. However, many such images have been over-used, so a good graphic designer will be constantly searching for fresh, new abstract shapes to help differentiate your service from others.
We love organic shapes, which have the charm of nature. Slight variation, irregularity and an element of randomness delight our eyes, and can be very soothing. Hence, they’re particularly attractive for medical and wellness services. They rarely have the sharp, jagged angles that help create a sense of anxiety in the viewer. That’s the upside of organic shapes. There’s a downside, however. Organic shapes are challenging to get right. At DSD, we work hard to create something unique that’s also truly representative of your personality and service message.
Without lines, we have no definition to a shape, and we can have no foundation to drawing, which is based on lines. Lines also help divide online content into logical areas, so we can navigate it logically. This is particularly important when we design a website. But besides being used to form shapes, and suggest patterns and structure, lines can also contribute to emotional response in the viewer. Straight, curved, abstract, thick, thin, graceful, jagged: the possibilities are endless, and each conveys an emotion. In designing for medical practitioners, our graphic designers aim to use lines to convey a sense of wholeness, peace and certainty.
Navigation is a critical aspect of design. This is true of logo and website design. Easy navigation is one of our top priorities when we’re designing for a medical practice. It encourages confidence in viewers, who are likely to be feeling a certain level of stress due to their own or a loved one’s health condition. We work to ensure that website visitors can easily find the information they need without being confused or overwhelmed. We also use navigation design to help visitors make informed decisions and take action.
A Personal Experience
When it comes to websites, we encourage you to ‘personalise’ your website with your own pictures. People relate to people. This is doubly so when people are choosing whether or not to trust themselves to a medical practitioner or service. Invest in professional photography, so you look your best, and your pictures convey the right emotion. You should be photographed looking direct at the camera (eye contact is really important). Make sure you feel relaxed, because if you’re not, the viewer will sense this subliminally.
If we can’t meet with you in person and visit your practice, we make sure we organise video meetings, so we have the best understanding possible of how to use our design to emphasise the standard of care your patients can expect and the personal experience that awaits them. We encourage you to start a conversation with us, to find out how we can use graphic design to tell your best story.