Established in 2007, Zocdoc is a tech-first company specialized in the healthcare industry, serving as a digital health marketplace focused on patients. Its main benefit is the ability to search doctors online and book using its system which shows actual appointment times in the very near future not 3 weeks from now as is typical when seeing new doctors. Zocdoc also shoots over medical information so that you can skip those essay-length forms you have to fill in with every new doctor. With 600 employees and a recent valuation of the company at $1.8 billion, Zocdoc had to outgrow the logo that cost its CEO $80 in 2007 and has introduced a new identity designed by New York, NY-based Wolff Olins.
Zocdoc’s promise is to, “give power the patient.” To help Zocdoc deliver on that promise we would have to design from the patient’s perspective. This would be fundamentally different than a healthcare world beset by complexity, bureaucracy and analog legacy systems. At a very simple level, we needed to design a system that had empathy for the patient and that would respond to their needs and emotions.
For the $80 the CEO spent, he got exactly what he paid for: a typesetting job that billed at, say, a $40-production-hour rate, took two hours to complete. Just speculating here. To its credit, it’s an inoffensive logo and there was nothing wrong with it, other than being completely bland and generic. The new logo has, literally, more personality now that capitalizes on our collective love for emojis, ASCII art, and the most trusted diagnosis tool in medical history: the smiley face pain chart.
Graphically the design is a world away from healthcare norms. The omnipresent blues and green are replaced by an optimistic and warm yellow-led colour palette. Beyond the familiar corporate shields and crosses, meet Zee - a line drawing of a dynamic letter Z with eyes that evokes an ever-changing face. By subtly responding to situations in a human way, Zee helps patients feel like their journey is understood. True-to-life photographic style mirrors patient’s’ day-to-day lives. Taken together, the visual elements create a strong impression that Zocdoc is fundamentally designed around patient needs - something very different to a typical healthcare experience.
The icon is charming and fun and it’s high time people with unibrows got represented in logos. The facial expressions are simple and nicely abstracted given the minimal design elements it’s working with. The shifting yellow blobs in the background are a great way to give some structure to the icon without having to delve into more realistic human head shapes. The wordmark, yup, a nice geometric sans. This one being Sharp Sans by Lucas Sharp for Village. It works. It’s also nicely aligned with the icon and is probably one of the most unconventional lock-ups we’ve seen here in a while where the wordmark isn’t centered vertically or horizontally or anchored on the baseline.
The blobs continue throughout the applications and work particularly good in the ads above where they are the holding shapes for photos, giving the layouts an unexpected structure. At times, since this is for healthcare, the blobs start to all look like kidneys. Or Jelly beans. Either way, all associations seem positive.
The press release touts the photography as “rich-hued, slightly humorous and true-to-life photography of patients’ day-to-day” — emphasis mine — but it unfortunately comes across as highly staged and not very true-to-life. The “Achoo” picture in particular is annoying. (See homepage).
The human illustrations with the Zee face are a little disturbing. But perhaps it just comes from my own personal childhood where my older brother showed me Pink Floyd’s The Wall movie a little too early in my life and all I can see in the illustrations above is this. Also, the previous ZocDoc look relied on simplified illustrations so this element of the branding doesn’t seem like such a strong evolution from the past. I also wonder if this whole overly simplified illustration has been played out.
Overall, this is a big improvement that turns ZocDoc into a much more consumer-friendly brand instead of still looking like it’s trying to operate with the old guard of the healthcare industry. It combines the friendliness and aesthetics of Airbnb with the functionality of OpenTable and a dose of its own take on these new visual standards to establish a useful brand with more memorability and recognition potential.