Originally published on July 24, 2019. Updated on December 23, 2021
Every business needs a brand — even therapists. In a sea of mental health providers offering in-person therapy and teletherapy services, potential clients need to know what sets you apart. And that’s what your brand accomplishes.
So how can you make sure that your mental health brand aligns with your goals as a therapist and effectively draws people to your services? You need to start with discovering your mental health clinic’s story and mission and capturing those in eye-catching visual and clear messaging statements.
So, how do you take your mental health brand from weak to peak performance? Today we’ll share with you our process for developing a brand, including how we come up with strong menta health logo ideas that represent the heart of what your practice does.
Want our help creating a professional brand for your mental health clinic? Start with a free consultation.
Branding Your Private Practice: Going Beyond Your Mental Health Logo
Before we dive deeper into the behind-the-scenes process of developing a brand, it’s important you first understand what we mean by brand.
When you hear the word “brand,” you might think of the Nike swoosh, the Apple icon, or McDonald’s golden arches. Although these visuals are part of their companies’ brands, they are not the whole shebang – they are just logos.
Your mental health clinic’s brand encompasses many different aspects of your business. It includes your name and niche, your values and mission, your logo and colors, your messaging and tone, and anything else that leaves an impression on people who interact with your practice.
What do people think about your mental health clinic? What do you think about your mental health clinic? What would you like people to think?
The answers to questions like these will help you hone in on your brand and the mental health logo you use to represent it.
Visualize Your Brand With a Mental Health Brand Guide
A brand guide is a useful visual representation of your brand. It includes all the visual elements that come together to support your mental health marketing efforts.
We create brand guides for clients for who we’re designing new mental health websites or managing their social media and paid advertising campaigns. Even for mental health clinics that already have an established brand, we feel this guide is essential to set the foundation for the rest of the work we do.
Here is an example of a brand guide for our client NYC Therapeutic Wellness, who we designed a logo and website for.
Now, if your clinic is just starting out or doesn’t have an established brand yet, we go through several steps to help discover your brand.
Want to work with a marketing company you can grow with? Learn more about our mental health marketing services.
4 Steps to Establish Your Mental Health Brand
How do you create a mental health brand from scratch? Or how can you refresh a mental health logo that is stale or ineffective? Here are four steps that will get you from the drawing board to a clear brand that you can use to promote your clinic.
1. Conduct a Brand Discovery Meeting
The discovery meeting is where we dive deep into who you are and what you do to set the foundation for a strong mental health brand.
For a discovery meeting to go well, you must have all the key decision-makers in the room. Make sure your mental health team is unified across the board around your brand. Lack of brand integrity can destroy positive customer perception.
So get everybody on the same page.
Once you are all ready, sit down as a team and get comfortable answering deep questions about your mental health practice:
- What is the “elevator pitch” for your mental health clinic? How could you describe your practice in two sentences?
- Your clinic should stand on the promises you make to your patients. What are those promises?
- Does the community have a particular perception about your mental health clinic? What would you like them to be?
- How are you different from your competition? Are you using using more advanced technology? Is your service higher quality than others? Do you specialize in a specific niche?
- What are your mission, vision, and values?
2. Name Your Mental Health Clinic
Brand discovery meetings give you a great starting place for coming up with a name for your mental health clinic (if you don’t already have one). Maybe there were some words that you used to describe your mental health clinic that just clicked. If not, here are a few other ways names can be born:
- What names are your competitors – or better yet, mental health clinics like yours in other markets – using? Although you do not want to be a copycat, getting a feel for your industry’s naming conventions can breed some helpful ideas.
- Many mental health clinics use their location (city, state, or region) in their name. Take NYC Therapeutic Wellness for example.
- One of our favorite ways of coming up with names is pulling out an old-fashioned thesaurus. If there are themes or ideas that resonate with us, we enter them in the online thesaurus search bar and see what comes up.
- What is your mental health niche? Many mental health providers name their practice after the area they specialize in. For example, The Center for Grief and Trauma Therapy and Holistic Couples & Family Therapy both do this. This can also help with SEO as someone might search “trauma therapy” or “family therapy” and have your practice show up at the top of the search results.
When choosing a name, you always want to consider domain name availability and trademark rights. You can search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to see if names have already been registered.
You also want to make sure that there is a domain available for your future mental health website. You can use tools like GoDaddy’s domain search bar to see what’s already been taken.
If you find a domain you like that’s available, we recommend you purchase it right away if it’s being sold for a decent amount. Domain names go very fast, so even if you’re still in the brainstorming process, it doesn’t hurt to purchase a few domain names so there’s no risk of losing the one you want to use.
3. Create a Brand Tagline for Your Mental Health Clinic
A tagline is a short and sweet phrase that captures your brand in just a few words. This tagline is a driving factor in how others view your practice, and it drives your future messaging campaign.
Coming up with a catchy tagline is deceptively challenging. It’s only a few words, after all. However, trying to describe your brand creatively and succinctly in one line can sometimes be more difficult and time-consuming than writing an entire blog.
To make a great tagline, you want a phrase that is both memorable and an accurate representation of your brand. Look at Disneyland for example. Everyone knows this theme park is “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
Here are a couple of more examples from some of our clients:
- Dana Group: Mental Wellness for All
- Wayfinder Kennel: Alaska, Where Your Mind Turns to Mush
- South Anchorage Dental Center: Come as a Patient, Leave as Family
- Alaska Orthopedic Specialists: Getting You Back to Your Alaskan Lifestyle
So how do you come up with a strong mental health tagline? One of the easiest ways to do this is to start with a longer description of your brand and condense it until you have a tagline. Then you can tweak the wording to make it sound more catchy.
Start by referring to your notes from your discovery meeting. Look at your mission, goals, services, and specialties. Try and come up with the main thing you offer clients and condense it into a single sentence or phrase.
For example, Dana Group is a mental health clinic with over 50 mental health therapists that can cover basically any mental health service under the sun, from individual therapy and group sessions to medication management and psychological testing. “Mental Wellness for All” is a tagline that captures Dana Group’s inclusivity and ability to help anyone looking for mental health services.
4. Pick the Best Mental Health Logo, Colors, Fonts, and Imagery for Your Brand
Choosing the visual elements that best represent your brand requires a lot of creativity. And if you don’t have a strong eye for design, it can be difficult to choose the right logo, icons, colors, and fonts you’ll use on your website, for your social media campaigns, and in your office.
A good place to start is by focusing on choosing visuals that align with your ideal perception of your mental health clinic. A lot of this comes down to how the things we see make us feel.
For example, do you want people to feel comforted or relieved by your services? Then, as we will talk about in a minute, you may want to use the color blue in your logo.
Get a Grasp of Meaningful Brand Iconography
Among the components of a logo, the icon is the most recognizable (the Nike swoosh is an icon, but not the full logo). The icon is the part of the logo that uses form or shapes to convey something about your mental health clinic. It may communicate something about your name, your location, or your mission.
An excellent example is the logo we created for Juneau Youth Services (JYS). JYS is a mental health service for youth and their families. Their goal is to inspire freedom and hope for the future in their clients.
For this reason, and because JYS is located in Juneau, Alaska, we chose to use mountains and an eagle (representing freedom along the journey) in their icon.
There are few things more satisfying than an icon that communicates exactly what it is supposed to.
Some stellar places to look for icon ideas include Pinterest (conduct a search for mental health logos and see what you think) and The Noun Project, a collection of icon art sourced from creatives all over the world.
Pinterest is also a fun way to create and share boards of icon ideas with your team for collaboration.
Want to see a few other examples of some of the best mental health logos? Here are a few logos we’ve created or refreshed for our clients that we love.
1) NYC Therapeutic Wellness: We did a complete logo and branding package along with a new website.
2) Birchwood Behavioral Health: This logo won an AMA Pinnacle award. We developed a new name and logo based on beautiful birch woods surrounding the facility.
3) Holistic CFT: We updated Holistic CFT’s logo to be more simple, clean, and modern compared to their previous logo.
Find the Right Feel for Your Mental Health Clinic with Colors
As we mentioned earlier, colors create feelings in us.
This is very important to be aware of as you could totally get your brand colors spot on or completely miss the mark and communicate something to your patients that you did not intend.
You can read our full blog post on emotions associated with colors or take a look at our snapshot here:
- Red – Every one of the various shades of red carries a different meaning. If you want, you can convey, “temptation,” “stop and pay attention,” “warning,” “danger,” “celebration,” “love,” or “femininity” with the right red.
- Orange – Orange is a fun color that we (oddly enough) associate with our appetite for food! You can also use orange to communicate “light” and “life.”
- Yellow – Similar to orange, yellow bears the qualities of light and warmth. It can also catch attention just like red. Gold yellow says “wealth,” “luxury,” and “rank.” Specific shades of yellow indicate joy, optimism, or comfort.
- Green – Above all, green has the most variation of shades, and therefore, emotional meanings! You can use green to say everything from “new beginnings” to “relaxation.”
- Blue – Feeling blue? Well, that doesn’t always mean sadness. Blue also speaks peace, tranquility, mystery, depth, and strength. We use it a lot in the health and wellness industry, so it may be the perfect primary color for your mental health clinic!
- Purple – Because purple is a combination of red and blue, it likes to flip-flop between emotional signals. A more reddish-purple may convey energy and intensity whereas a bluish-purple may communicate calm and loftiness.
- Brown – Are you a holistic mental health clinic? If so, you may want to consider brown in your logo. Brown communicates earth, wholesomeness, and the outdoors.
You will not be choosing just one color for your brand. You need a couple of colors and shades to create contrast and variety in your logo, website design, and other future design projects. Here’s an example of a strong color palette from Alaska Orthopedic Specialists.
Match Typography with the Brand Message You Want to Convey
There is one final step in the creation of your logo, and that is to find the right typeface for your name.
Just like the colors you choose elicit a particular feeling in the viewer, fonts also convey different emotions and messages.
Maybe you have seen this popular meme on Reddit before:
Clearly, the first note is saying something entirely different from the second, despite the fact that they are both using exactly the same words.
Find a font that tells you what your name and/or tagline are telling you without using words. A great way to do this is to browse Google Fonts.
You can actually enter your name or tagline in this responsive tool to view it in all of the free, downloadable fonts Google offers.
Represent Your Target Audience With Strong Imagery
Images, including stock or original photography, are a key component of your brand and marketing campaigns. The pictures you put on your website and social media tell potential clients a lot about your practice.
Before you start with any content creation, have an idea for the types of images that capture the emotions and messages you want people who interact with your brand to receive. For example, Alaska Orthopedic Specialists is passionate about helping people in the Alaska community return to an active lifestyle with their comprehensive orthopedic services.
When selecting images, we considered Alaska Orthopedic Specialist’s clientele and location. This includes a lot of outdoor imagery, with distinctly Alaskan mountains, and pictures of people being active. For people seeking orthopedic services, they get the message that with treatment they can be outdoors doing what they love in the Alaska community.
We created an image guide that was used while designing their website and that can be used for future social media marketing campaigns to ensure the photos we use are consistent and on-brand.
Let Us Help You Establish Your Mental Health Brand
One of the most important steps in establishing your mental health clinic and getting new patients is creating a strong brand that resonates with the type of clients you hope to draw to your practice.
While these steps can help in this journey, we don’t want to mislead you: developing a brand is difficult. It takes a lot of time, creativity, and research.
At Beacon Media + Marketing, we dig deep when helping our mental health clients discover their brand. We always start our branding process with a conversation with our clients, asking the right questions to understand the “why” behind their work and what value they bring to their patients.
And once we have the full picture, our creative, highly skilled team can bring your brand to life with a catchy name, beautiful logo, font styles, color palette, imagery, and key messaging components.
Your brand is the foundation of your marketing. Let us help you get a strong start and get set up for future success.
Want us to help bring your vision to life? Schedule your free consultation to learn more about our branding services.