Aspen Dental provides administrative and business support services to independently owned, Aspen Dental-branded practices throughout the United States. It’s a unique concept, enabling licensed dentists to open their own practices with a ready-made vibrant and attractive brand.
Forcade and Perkins+Will were asked to bring the essence of the brand to life in a 65,000 square foot Support Services office in Chicago. Capturing the quintessential experience the company provides owners was critical because this office was used to attract, train and educate new owners to the Aspen Dental family.
Our design philosophy was simple. Every element of our environmental graphics package was purpose-created to invoke a smile on the faces of the visitors who were being introduced to the Aspen Dental brand and the employees who were charged with manifesting its energetic spirit.
In addition to the dental-themed experiential graphic design elements, we took advantage of the architecture’s raw surfaces to add a sense of depth and permanency to the design. This included a number of beautiful wall-length murals hand-painted on brick. We also embraced randomly spaced tile walls as a canvas for a random assortment of inspiring quotes that represented the brand. And we used waxed steel signage to seamlessly integrate new features into the existing architecture. The effect of building branding elements right into the existing materials of the building provided a feeling of warmth and connection not found in most healthcare corporate interior design.
In fact, one of the more then 3,000 branding graphics we designed was a “smile” sign uniquely created with hundreds of dental examination mirrors. It was a fun and unexpected moment for visitors as they entered the space. Many of the other signage and wayfinding elements were also built off tools of the dental trade to further entertain visitors with a smile-inducing experience, including examination bibs integrated into the conference room identification.
We also complemented the vibrancy of the Aspen Dental brand with the vibrancy of the city visitors were in. From full hallway signage to simple accents, Chicago was a recurring presence in the environmental graphics. We even cleverly combined the brand and city by using the Aspen Dental “A” logo as the “A” in “CHICAGO.” This exquisite level of detail found throughout the space provided visitors with a sense of excitement and wonder at every turn.
Introducing the Aspen Dental brand to its newest followers was a critical component of a long-lasting relationship between the company and its dentist partners. Forcade created a distinctive experience in Chicago that not only invoked the smile so important to the brand but also left an indelible impression on the people responsible for bringing the brand to life in their own communities.