We’re Listening – STFM Logo Take Two?

Jeri Hepworth, PhD, STFM President, & Stacy Brungardt, CAE, STFM Executive Director

Thanks to all of you who have commented on our logo drafts. As we discussed at the Board meeting, your input is an important part of our vetting process.

Please allow us to clarify this process.

The current logo has served us well, without question. It is a statement to members about our values.  However, as we increase our role with others, an internally-focused logo is not useful and can be detracting. Our role in medical education, transformation of health care, and advocacy work with governmental bodies and other professional organizations requires us to move forward with communications and messaging that convey the importance of the Society. Our recent communications audit tells us that others outside our membership (and even some within) don’t see our logo as one that communicates a professional, progressive organization. We celebrate our current logo, its history, and our founders who developed it. A new logo doesn’t undermine or ignore that history.

Your comments are part of an important vetting process that includes our membership, Board, and staff. The two logos that were presented are not the final logo choices, and we have not spent extravagantly in the design process.

Here’s what we are learning from our feedback gathering process.

  1. Our members read our communications. Within 24 hours, 1,522 of you had opened the email, 689 had clicked through to the web page, and 701 had clicked through to President Jeri Hepworth’s blog post. It’s good to know our messages are reaching you.
  2. Our members are engaged and feel a real connection to STFM. If you weren’t connected, you obviously wouldn’t care what our logo says/looks like.
  3. Your suggestions are constructive. You didn’t just say, “I don’t like it,” you explained why, and provided recommendations. Overall, we didn’t get the sense that most of you are opposed to change, per se, you just don’t like the change direction.

We wish we could sit down with all of you and have a conversation to listen, learn, and discuss. It’s clear that many of you want a family symbol in the logo, and we understand how important the family and the relationships it represents mean to STFM. But, we’ve also had members tell us that the definition of family is changing, and the three-person image is not inclusive of all families.

If we show a family, how does that image differentiate us from, say, a family services agency, a church, a community park, or a YMCA? If we add a medical symbol to the family, perhaps we’re then showing family medicine, but that seems like it might make more sense for an AAFP logo. We’re really about education, so do we add a book or an apple to the family and medical symbol? That would be one busy logo.

Then, consider the logos for organizations that have probably invested mega-bucks for logo research. How do golden arches visually represent cheap hamburgers? And what does Walmart’s star/flower say about discount retail? Wouldn’t a picture of a car be a more literal logo for Mercedes than a triangle? Do we really need to repeat what’s in our organization’s name in images?

Logo design principles say logos should be simple, relevant, scalable, and memorable. Your feedback indicates we may have missed the mark on “relevant.” So, we ask you to continue to share your comments, below. This is a process and everyone at STFM is listening closely to what you’re saying.

3 responses to “We’re Listening – STFM Logo Take Two?

  1. Really nice response Jeri.

  2. Change is good but could the symbol of the family remain. That symbol not only connects us to our history but it tells “our story”.

    I am not sure the new symbols tell “our story”.

    Would it be of value to ask consumers including medical students and other health professionals what they think? Our logo is a means of marketing us–so what logo best markets what we do.

    I think it is a good thing that our BOD and officers are reviewing ways to best market “The STFM story”

    Ed Shahady

    PS I did not vote because no option existed for a choice of other or neither.

  3. W. Suzanne Eidson-Ton

    I agree with Ed. I appreciate that families are changing in make-up, but that’s why I’ve always loved the STFM logo because I think it is quite inclusive of many different kinds of families. And, at a time when fewer family physicians are actually taking care of children and pregnant women, I think it’s important to reaffirm the full scope of our practice. If we must have a new logo, I think it should at least be meaningful in some way. I thought both of the new logo choices were very generic and did not say anything about us.

    Thank you for listening, Suzanne Eidson-Ton

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