Healthy Designs for Healthcare Marketing

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, hospitals, medical centers and outpatient facilities.

Caring for patients also includes caring for the type and quality of the communications they receive. The healthcare industry uses lots of collaterals and informational pieces to communicate with patients, members, physicians, staff, agencies and suppliers.mortar-and-psel Marketing firms that specialize in healthcare publications are often called in to create external and internal communications for larger organizations. As one of these marketing firms, HWDS Creative has developed hundreds of effective print and online e-publications for the healthcare industry.

There are several important elements that we look for when creating a healthcare publication. These include the following:

1) The intended audience—The design firm must make sure that the publication, whether it be a poster, newsletter, report or collateral is geared to the intended audience.  The audience might be patients, members of the healthcare plan or group, physicians, clinicians, administrative staff, suppliers or insurance representatives—all have very specific and differing needs.

2) The language—The creative firm must take into account the language needs of the audience. Too often this is overlooked.  Simply translating a document does not work well.  You must take into account idioms, current expressions and formalities. We have created bilingual and multilingual publications for our clients.

3) The technical nature of the publication—If the audience is patients, members or the public, the text should be very easy to read and understand. Never assume that the audience will understand complex material describing human anatomy or physiology.  If the audience consists of physicians, the information can certainly be more technical but diagrams and infofgraphics may still be necessary to “visually explain” the material.

4) The photo usage—The photography needs to be representative of the service provided and audience. Photos should always be in good taste. Stay away from scary or offensive photos such as surgeries, needles or blood. Images should be calming, not alarming. We like to use happy photos of healthy people who are exercising, eating healthy foods or just enjoying life.  Obviously this does not work in all cases, but most communication with the public and with members needs to delivered in a very positive light.

5) Sensitivity to diversity—When designing publications, we make sure that people from the target audience and the local community are adequately represented in the photos. The photos should reflect racial and ethnic diversity. As well, the surrounding environment should represent the geographical target area. The color scheme of the publication also plays an important part.  Certain colors work better depending on the community.

6) The color used in the publication—Healthcare publications should be calm and relaxing. We believe that it is best to stay away from deep dark reds, symbolic of blood and black, symbolic of darkness and death. Cool blues and teals, warm oranges and yellows and more muted peach tones as well as fresh yellow greens and earth tones make for great healthcare materials.

7) The accuracy of the content. Indeed, it is dangerous to give out incorrect health information. Be sure to have several people check the accuracy of all statements, especially where care procedures, diagnosis or studies are involved. In addition, do not use information that comprises patient privacy or rights. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Below are some samples of some of the many healthcare pieces that we have been honored to create for our clients.pediatrics LAMCGrassyBrochure KPVoicesWHOct20111


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Communicate effectively—it’s good for your health!

If your company needs a beautifully designed healthcare report, interactive presentation or newsletter, please contact HWDS at  For the past 22 years we have specialized in creating effective healthcare communications.


Please note: All projects displayed on this blog are meant for educational and instructional rather than promotional purposes. We respect our clients’ brand integrity

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