It’s official. After countless meetings, multiple focus groups, and many design changes, the House of Delegates of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) has approved a new logo design. But why change from the previous logo? In 2007, an audit of all AAO communications was performed. Out of that review came a recommendation that the AAO needed a “new, more modern logo.” In fact, recent focus group feedback from laypersons confirmed that, in a comparison test, the least favorite logo was our current logo with the interlocking O’s. Overall, this logo did not trigger solid appeal, and most laypersons had difficulty figuring out how it might relate to the AAO. Several members of the focus groups believed that the current logo was “overly busy” or “confusing.”
But why should we be concerned about the views of laypersons, if orthodontists are satisfied with the current interlocking O’s logo? With the explosion of consumer information that is spread via the plethora of social media sites on the Internet, the AAO must maximize its message with an easily recognizable logo that is logically related to the association. The interlocking O’s was simply not doing the job as a meaningful logo for consumers.
So, in 2009, the Board of Trustees formed the Logo Task Force with the charge of identifying a new and improved logo for the AAO. A company was hired to develop several logos that could be tested with specific target audiences in 3 major cities in the east, midwest, and west. The results of this initial effort were mixed, and the Logo Task Force was not entirely comfortable with any of the suggested logos or the results of the 2009 logo focus groups.
Instead of abandoning the effort, the Logo Task Force moved ahead in 2010 with a different design company based in New York. After several meetings between the task force and the designers, the task force identified 3 logo designs that could be tested on focus groups, with the interlocking O logo included for comparison. The focus group discussions were held in St Louis.
The 3 new designs were called the Smile, the Wave, and the Grid. As before, the interlocking O’s logo was the least favorite. The participants in the focus groups repeatedly chose the Smile logo as the consumer favorite. Laypersons said that this logo was both memorable and eye-catching. In addition, the focus groups believed that the AAO letters in the logo are important, give the logo meaning, and clearly state what it is. They also thought that the 2-tone blue colors are esthetically appealing and reinforce the logo’s professional image.
With this background information, the Board of Trustees recommended to the House of Delegates that the Smile logo be approved as the new logo for the AAO. At the 2011 Annual Session in Chicago, the House of Delegates voted to accept the new logo, so now it is official. You will find the new logo on the cover of this issue of the AJO-DO . By now, you might have already seen the logo on the AAO Web site, the AJO-DO Web site, and some of the many products that the AAO promotes and endorses.
But what about the orthodontic practitioner who has several reams of stationery or boxes of business and appointment cards already printed with the old logo? In today’s current economic environment, most practitioners would prefer not to reprint and repurchase new print media for their practices. No worries. The new logo will be phased in gradually. You can switch to the new logo immediately, or you can phase in your adoption of the new logo over the next 2 years. The AAO staff is already developing a new Logo Standards Manual that will be available soon on the AAO Web site. The AAO leadership is confident that you will welcome the change and adopt the new logo as soon as possible. I agree. I think that the new logo is a big improvement and enhances our image as orthodontists.