Well, not madness, at least not now. The madness actually kicks in near the end, when I go off on a rant about the one typeface I truly love to hate.
I mentioned recently that I’ve been set some logo-design tasks by several departments wanting to internally brand their work, purpose, or function. One of those designs was finally greened last week, the one dealing with our EMR team and its several subgroups.
First is the overall logo (and yes, it really is called iCare):
iDidn’t pick the name. iWish the iNaming fad would iVaporate. iFear iT won’t, any time soon.
That aside, you can see the roundel on the left has four quadrants plus a central focus. Each of the quadrants represents one of the ancillary groups working on the EMR implementation and support. As you may expect, each group has its own variant of the logo with its quadrant selected. For instance, this is security:
Security focuses on keeping patient records safe from prying eyes. (Surprise!) One of the more significant aspects of an EMR is data security — if you’re storing something digitally, it’s only a matter of time before someone tries to get to it, for whatever reason. But it’s not just about storage; any time data is transmitted, its stream also has to be secure. So we’re looking at multiple levels of defense, from firewalls to encipherment to backing up records reliably.
The choice of a combination lock was obvious here.
Next is quality, referring to both the patient experience and the level of care provided on the back end.
Perception of quality in care is remarkably hard to wrangle. A gruff physician, or a nurse that accidentally pokes too hard when trying to run an IV, or even a tray of lukewarm food can adversely affect the patient’s sense of quality-of-care. Needless to say, while all these are important points to consider, there are other things (labs getting mixed up, wrong procedures being ordered, medicine dosage errors) that are considerably more serious. The quality aspect is concerned with handling all these things, and more.
For this quadrant I went with a “first prize” style badge. Originally it didn’t have the number 1 in it, which made it a little too vague.
Next we have sharing — primarily of patient data across the entire healthcare spectrum:
Information sharing can include lab reports, radiology, med information, data collected from the patient and family members, and more. The information has to be freely accessible on demand, all the time, anywhere — but it can’t be open to just any person who feels like nosing around. Originally the circular arrows were more oval, and not as visually pleasing.
Finally we have health, which is dependent on more than simple healthcare:
Health in this context means dealing with the entire spectrum of patient care. Not just the immediate situation, but diet, physical activity, overall quality of life, mental health, and family or other support systems. The choice of a happy face was self-evident for the quadrant.
Clearly, all four of these divisions depend on each other, and they all interact with the EMR core, which is why I ended up going with this design. The final form was very close to what I originally sketched, too.
About the typefaces
The labels on the roundel are all set in Bank Gothic, a clean sans-serif that gave me a crisp look, even at relatively small sizes. The iCare (sigh) wordmark is set in Fontin italic, with its kerning hand-adjusted in some places. I like Fontin for its stroked letterforms and subtle serifs, particularly in the italic version of the typeface.
I’ve used it in a few other places — it and Baar Sophia, which is another typeface I’ve recently found some display-text uses for.
That’s not to say I don’t have uses for more conventional serifs — Adobe’s version of both Caslon and Jenson really make me feel good, particularly the latter’s ornaments — and I do fall back on super-bold faces like Hattenschweiler or Impact when I need them. I’ve even been known to use the occasional slab serif à la Rockwell or Egyptienne.
However, if I’m looking for something a little bit smooth and warm, something that stays crisp at smaller scales but presents enough detail to be interesting as a wordmark, I’ve discovered that Fontin really is quite pleasant, and that in general I’m leaning more toward stroked humanists.
I used it in our Route 66 Race for Hospice logo design, along with Raspoutine Classic (the word Race is Raspoutine):
The non-italic font of Fontin also looks pretty good — which is why I used it here — but for the larger wordmark its italic form just didn’t have quite the stroke I wanted it to, which was why I went with Raspoutine instead.
I wouldn’t use either Fontin or Raspoutine for body text. But for display text, I like their warmth.
Interestingly, the facility’s primary logo uses Eras in the roundel itself, but Optima bold for the wordmark alongside it. This was a much-needed change from Peignot, which is a typeface that does to me what Comic Sans or Papyrus does to others. (Yes, someone felt that Peignot would be an appropriate choice for the original wordmark. I’m very glad I was able to shift us all away from it, too.)
The problem is that, because of the way Peignot was created, there is no such thing as an appropriate use for it.
Peignot holds the rather unique distinction of being deliberately designed to be hard to read in lowercase. It was intended to challenge the idea that there would be two cases of character forms. It’s occasionally revived by people who don’t know any better because they think it looks interesting, or cool or futuristic, but it’s an arrogant typeface rooted in a worthless idea, and its utility as a display typeface — let alone for body text — is limited to the point of being essentially a design dead-end.
I know, I know, but I can’t help it. Sometimes you gotta be a playa hata.
By the way, this is post number 601! Not only is it a sort-of milestone (600 + 1), but it’s a prime number — and a damn big one too.
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