I would love to have this bone in my logo
October 5, 2010 4:59 PM   Subscribe

Chiropractor client wants an atlas bone in his new logo, and I need to know what percentage of the population will be grossed out by that.

I'm doing some design work for a friend who's a chiropractor. He really likes the atlas bone, and specifically requested that I put it in his logo.

I'm OK with how it looks in the logo, but I have another good friend who can't look at bones without becoming physically ill, and I'm wondering:

How many people is this logo going to upset? Should I be concerned about that?

I want this guy to have a successful brand identity, not something that looks like a grateful dead logo or does other weird things.

The "on the other hand" part is that this chiropractor has a big ol' spinal column model in his office, and talks about bones to all of his patients. Maybe it's not a biggie.



Yes, I know the controversial background of this particular area of chiropractic.

Yes, I know that chiropractic is controversial in general.
posted by circular to Work & Money (13 answers total)
Best answer: Bones are so commonly used in chiropractic symbols, that I think your friend is an extreme outlier.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:01 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

A client who works around bones, wants a bone in his logo. Why would you be concerned? It seems like a straightforward request. If you are just doing the design work and not in charge of his marketing or branding, it doesn't seem like it should matter at all to you (even if some people can't look at bones.)
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:06 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Your client is trying to advertise for the population-at-large, who generally don't mind looking at bones. You're trying to appease the small portion of the population who are afraid to look at bones (ossophobia? hmmmm). If this is a business relationship, make a business-like decision and give the client what they want.

Also, there is a chiropractor office a block away from me that has a giant plastic spinal segment in the window, complete with marrow and blood vessels. I don't advise your friend to come to my neighborhood.
posted by Think_Long at 5:11 PM on October 5, 2010

I have a moderate intolerance for bone gross-ness. I googled an image. I think I'd be ok with your logo. Could you post a link to it in your profile so we can check it out?
posted by vincele at 5:17 PM on October 5, 2010

Uh, some of us might react positively to an intentional Grateful Dead reference. Just sayin'...
posted by mosk at 5:39 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

If the internet is to be believed, this phobia is called Cartilogenophobia and is unusual enough that it only gets 43 hits on Google. Or possibly Ostiophobia which gets only two (31 for this alternate spelling).
posted by jessamyn at 5:46 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think most people are "disconnected" enough from their bones (especially one such as the atlas, which isn't as often represented as, say, a long bone) that seeing one in a logo probably won't provoke a visceral reaction. Actually, if the logo features the atlas bone alone and out of context, it might not even be very recognizable as a bone to the general public.
posted by illenion at 5:53 PM on October 5, 2010

Nthing the idea that it would not be weird at all.
posted by papayaninja at 5:54 PM on October 5, 2010

I don't think it would be weird. I see images of vertebrae in logos for chiropractics all the time.
posted by cobain_angel at 7:09 PM on October 5, 2010

When I used to work in promotional marketing, we did a range of pens in the shape of thigh bones which were sort of cartoony, and we also did pens that were a realistic representation of finger bones (which made a crazy-awesome pen). People loved them. The most realistic bone-pen was also the most popular. We never got any feedback about people finding them gross.

(Incidentally, we also produced an promotional orchidometer for a pharma client with their logo branded along the larger of the ...errr... squidgy plastic "replicas". Admittedly, they were only handed out to other medical practitioners, but people would generally come to the office and express interest in the "funny beads" only to give a minor "Ewww!" reaction when told what they were for.)

Tl:dr - your friend is super-sensitive, most people won't care, your logo will be fine.
posted by ninazer0 at 7:27 PM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

That example looks almost not entirely unlike a Grateful Dead logo. Presumably if you feel that his logo should not be round with two colors separated by a bone, you'll be able to come up with a different design. If you can manage to avoid skulls, lightning bolts, or VW bus logos you should be OK. Likewise, you should be able to come up with something that doesn't involve a bone and a tree, and even then I doubt people would mix those up unless that's something local.

There are a lot of shirts on the shelves for Halloween right now, many of them have skeletons depicted on the front, as if you have your ribcage, pelvis, and armbones on display. You could pick one up and wear it to some busy place. You'll be able to see if anyone seems ill or disgusted by what you are wearing, and settle your mind about this issue.
posted by yohko at 7:29 PM on October 5, 2010

Nthing that a bone in a chiropractor's logo is not only fine but expected, and that your creeped-out-by-bones friend is super rare.
posted by goblinbox at 10:43 PM on October 5, 2010

FWIW, I'm not grossed out by spines. I do think a bit of Predator trophies and Mortal Kombat finishing moves, though.

There's a chiropractor in my neighborhood whose logo I have admired for its simplicity: q.v. here. You might ask your client how he feels about that sort of depiction.
posted by mumkin at 12:35 AM on October 6, 2010

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