The Brand Identity

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July designs a “young and gritty” identity for Canadian dentistry Maison Dentaire 

When imagining what the identity of a typical dentist clinic might look like, perhaps the first thing that springs to mind is something quite surgical or bland. Well, the identity for Maison Dentaire – designed by Montreal-based studio July – is far from your usual dentistry. 

Also based in Montreal, Canada, the multigenerational clinic has updated its visual language to one that blends the old with the new. Achieved through a mix of illustration, photography, a distinguished serif typeface and playful graphics, the branding was artfully conceived by the team of creative director and designer Emanuel Cohen, art director Mariane Vaillancourt, plus photographers Sacha Cohen and Ben Meir Ohayon. 

Of how they came to land on this modern and monochromatic aesthetic, it was a process that involved a dive into the wider dental industry, “from a very elementary stand point,” says Cohen. “Teeth, roots, bones, strings and pointy tools; we came up with characteristics that illustrate these aspects and translates them typographically – through fragility, growth, morphology, transformation, intricacy, detail and craft.”

The result of which is the punchy and elongated TS Gascogne typeface devised by Frederic Goudy, an apt choice for its “effortless attitude.” Cohen adds: “We immediately found that it could feel young and gritty, while conveying a sense of confidence and establishment.” A respectful turn that includes “pointy yet rounded” letter ends that feel remarkably dental, plus a wide set of lettering to reference to the age-old saying of ‘open wide’, a term commonly used in the dentist setting. What’s more is that the letter ‘S’ was customised in order to bring a “vibration” to the logo, adding in smooth ligatures as a gentle nod to the bones growing – “We didn’t just type a classy serif,” says Cohen.

The idea of appealing to a younger audience was imperative to the identity for Maison Dentaire. A friendly establishment, the addition of a joyful, hand-drawn style of illustration was a welcomed approach – a move away from traditional dentist artwork yet one that still incorporates a handwritten aesthetic. “We were looking to present the information in a way that a friend would to you,” says Vaillancourt. “Just like a specialist would draw a picture to simplify a procedure or explanation.” The outcome is a caring and professional tone that treats its client like family; the “essence” of Maison Dentaire. 

There are many subtle details that give this project a clever and contemporary twist. Take the logo as an example; here, the number 32 has been designed in order to signify the maximum number of teeth that you can have in your mouth. “We thought it was also a nice allusion to the Whiskey Age Statement displayed on the real good bottles,” says Vaillancourt, “conveying establishment and trust.”

Steering away from the clinical approach often associated with dentistry, Maison Dentaire No32 is a modernised and human-centric update that has, overall, given the company a sense of authenticity. “All pale tones are slightly warmed up, while the faded black brings that genuine print and carbon paper kind of feeling,” says Cohen, noting how the team enjoy accrediting the colours with names such as Ivory, Stone and Bone. 

“We’ll admit that it’s a very black-and-white looking project, though,” Vaillancourt concludes. “One of the reasons for it was our desire to frame the ‘human colours and tones’, since they and their smiles are at the core of Maison Dentaire’s practice.”

Typeface: TS Gascogne by Frederic Goudy
Photography: Sacha Cohen / Ben Meir Ohayon

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