Newark Dental’s motto is “All About Smiles,” and its new logo design perfectly communicates the practice’s modern and high-tech—yet deeply human—touch.

MANY PRACTICE OWNERS are intimidated by the idea of commissioning and selecting a logo. After all, as the primary visual representation of your brand, it needs to communicate a lot of things about you—at a glance. No wonder so many put it off, and off, and off . . . while, in the meantime, their marketing and public image suffers. But you don’t necessarily need to enter the process with strong ideas to achieve a great result you’ll be confident about.

Case in point: Newark Dental, an upscale practice with a small-town vibe, named after its Ohio location about a half-hour east of Columbus. As part of a recent relocation, it moved just up the road from its previous home to a larger, but slightly stodgy, building that formerly housed a physician’s health system branch. Despite its plain bones, Newark’s team did a brilliant job of brightening the space by allowing in plenty of natural light, while mixing whites and light colors with accents of earth tones and natural textures. The result is warm and unpretentious but sleek and professional.

Home sweet practice: Dental office or magazine-worthy interiors? Yes!

Newark brought on Benco Dental’s Build Your Brand team to create a harmonious visual identity that melded their new office design with their existing brand equity in the community. “They came in without specific ideas,” says Allison Simenkiewicz, the project’s lead multimedia designer. “But they communicated a general preference for contemporary design and a great deal of affection for the town, so that was a good jumping-off point.”

The first ideas incorporated natural elements from Ohio’s state tree (the buckeye) as well as a nearby river represented in the logo by chevrons, with additional abstract cues hinting at a fireplace. None hit the mark, but they got the Newark team thinking about a current town-wide improvement project and how they might carry its most familiar elements (like wrought-iron fencing) into the logo.

“That inspired us to think about lasting quality and solidity. We found the best way to telegraph that was to create the logo in the form of a seal, like you’d find embossed on fine leather or stamped into metal,” Simenkiewicz says. “We used bold lines that distantly echo the arches of the mouth, and if you squint really hard, they even suggest a dental impression.”

Donna Wheeler-Hunt, the practice’s office manager, served as point person for the project. “It was essential that the outcome was timeless and meaningful. The logo needed to express who we are and what we do,” she says. “The team worked to tweak the images until we were satisfied. The result was perfect. It says what we do and what we are building: everyday, hometown trust.”