What is good design?
You know it when you see it, but what specific features or qualities separate it from the rest? Design can be challenging—its subjective and intangible nature can make it hard to quantify with a typical ROI formula. As a result, many veterinary practices have trouble justifying design as a worthwhile expense.
But in veterinary marketing—or any marketing—good design is crucial. And design is more than a logo. Everything is designed: your building’s exterior, lobby, exam rooms, signage, website, emails, forms, business cards, client education materials, mailers, social media pages… the list goes on. And design can’t stand on its own—you need to start with a foundation of strong copy.
Together, your words and visuals carry your brand’s success.
Let’s define good design by five key characteristics:
#1: Good design makes a great first impression
A Stanford study revealed the majority of consumers make judgements about credibility based on an organization’s brand design.
To be effective, design must be comprehensive and consistent. An expensive veterinary website that lacks design, content, and layout will be perceived as cheap, which immediately devalues your services. Once a negative impression is formed, the digital and proverbial “window of opportunity” has slammed shut—and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to change the consumer’s preconceived notions.
Solid first impressions are built by conveying professionalism and high value right from the start, during the pet owner’s initial encounter with your brand. So, yes, a great logo is important, but so is an attractive and user-friendly website, a consistent social media look and presence, and more.
Being able to instill professionalism and immense value in the span of a split-second makes an elevator-pitch seem like a filibuster—let your brand speak for itself with good design.
#2: Good design differentiates the best from the rest
What will make a client drive across town, perhaps passing several other practices to reach yours? In a world of ever-increasing options, what separates you from the rest? Good design can assure your target audience—pet owners—that they have found what they need, and yours is the only solution to their problem.
#3: Good design helps boost brand awareness
Good design doesn’t stop working for you after the initial impression—it goes beyond, helping the pet owner connect with your veterinary practice on a deeper level. Thoughtful, well-developed design speaks to your customer’s heart and mind, and conveys your veterinary practice’s core values and message. Good design communicates trust and reliability through three important features:
- Good design tells a story — People are visual by nature and are statistically faster at gathering information by sight. Let your brand logo do the talking, and show them exactly who you are.
- Good design conveys authenticity — Forced sincerity and misrepresentation are easily perceived by consumers. Ensure all design elements convey an accurate impression of who your team is, and what’s important to your practice.
- Good design is consistent — Ensure all of your materials are branded to your practice and consistent in their look and feel.
- Postcard reminders, emails, your website, your hospital app, and your social media channels should include your veterinary practice’s logo and brand colors.
- Copy should be consistent with your brand voice. Are you a fun, laid-back practice, or are you a more serious practice?
- Ensure your messaging, logo, and colors are carried over into your building’s design.
Give them a vision—the human brain can respond to and process visual data 60,000 times faster and better than any other data.
#4: Good design helps solve patient problems faster, maintaining client satisfaction and practice loyalty
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” — Steve Jobs
- A primary or singular call-to-action (CTA) — A unified CTA across all materials and platforms will make your brand synonymous with your message and simplify consumer decision making.
- Clear, concise design and writing — With almost no time to make an impression, you must keep it brief. A reminder postcard with multiple CTA’s, text blocks, and graphics can overwhelm a prospective or current client—and the only resulting action will be a trip to the recycling bin, not your practice.
#5 Good design saves time and money
As with any smart business decision, good design requires an initial investment. But, in the long run, your practice saves valuable time and unnecessary spending on ineffective campaigns. In the long term, good design saves you money and time by providing:
- Alignment of services and communication — Targeted communication with a clear message speaks to consumer needs, increases brand awareness, and your bottom-line.
- Clarity — Good design provides pet owners and your veterinary practice with a clear path to a concise end goal.
- Inspiration — No need to return to the drawing board for each new campaign—draw ideas from previous successful projects for reliable results.
- Consistency — Good design allows you to create templates for emails, social media, campaigns, etc. to easily maintain brand consistency.
Good design reaches beyond the page, with a deep impact at each level of engagement. Design that is built on your veterinary practice’s core message gains immediate attention, action, and trust from pet owners. When it is supported by professionalism, integrity, and a commitment to meeting a need, your veterinary brand represents a relationship and bonds the client to your practice. Once good design is in place, it consistently delivers your practice strong financial results, enhances community recognition, reinforces your mission, and saves valuable time and money.
Consider what your current design and brand says about your veterinary practice, and whether it accurately reflects your values and services. Is it making a deep impact, or only scratching the surface?