The Meaning of Our New Logo:
From SPEAR President, Dan Rootenberg
“It is our belief that we are not put on this earth to simply be who we are. We are here to evolve, develop, self-actualize. That is the fractal inside SPEAR at every level. In our logo, SPEAR’s origin is symbolized by maroon, our original color palate, currently going into its 18th year. However, we are evolving, moving forward, and shaping our future. The blue sky color we have introduced represents the future that we see for our team, our patients, our community. The nexus between the blue sky and the labor of love (maroon) is the deep red where the magic happens, where we heal the world, our patients and ourselves, one relationship at a time. Going into the future, stronger, together.
You may also notice the letters are spaced out with room to grow. The room we all need to occasionally make mistakes, to not be perfect, never to be finished. The letters rounded, and uncrowded, without sharp edges, still evolving much like each of us. Life can’t wait.”
-Dan Rootenberg, SPEAR President
The Details Behind The Logo:
From the SPEAR Marketing and Design Team
The SPEAR team has worked to outperform itself each and every month for 18 years. In that time, we’ve grown from two guys sharing one treatment room to 150 team members across ten NYC locations.
We thought it was time for our second logo refresh.
Change can be hard. But change can be good. And we believe that we accomplished a quality change. But it wasn’t easy.
We established a few key priorities:
Vision: Show ourselves to be a great COMPANY, with a vision for the future; not just a great PHYSICAL THERAPY company.
Never forget: Provide A NOD TO OUR PAST, but evolve beyond our current design.
Relationships: Continue to focus on our highest business priority: RELATIONSHIPS. The relationships we’ve built, and continue to build, with referring physicians, local hospitals, our amazing team, community fundraising organizations, and of course the thousands of individual New Yorkers we build bonds with each and every day that we are here to serve.
An Iconic Design
We wanted to have a recognizable icon that could be easily used across multiple platforms, specifically from business cards and t-shirts, to Facebook and Twitter.
And the SPEAR guy was first place to start. He symbolized activity and health, seemed to offer an obvious acknowledgment to what type of company we were, formed an abstract “S” to hint at the first letter of our name, and had been with us through two logos and nearly 18 years!
So in an effort to honor our humble beginnings, we brainstormed numerous versions of a new “SPEAR Guy.” We aimed to maintain our past and ensure our loyal followers could immediately recognize our new look.
But to the SPEAR team, none of these evolutions properly displayed our focus on RELATIONSHIPS, and none even hinted towards a VISION of continual improvement. And as we researched industry competition a bit more, we realized this symbol of an abstract human became just too cliche for the industry. (Google it and you will see!) It seemed that achieving a unique look by keeping our “SPEAR Guy” icon might be an impossible task.
And besides, maybe it was time to completely reinvent ourselves. Once again, the mantra is that we are now a great company in general — not just a great physical therapy company.
We became more specific in certain terms we wanted to drive the design, and even practiced using them when explaining the logo to people who asked. These terms included: unity, bond, friendship, interdependence, dynamic, fluidity, aspiration, direction, wholeness, goals, connectivity, movement, power, excelling, guidance, drive, focus and healing.
You will see each of these words, visually, within the designs below. And we also explored utilizing the “S” again on its own as our “icon of the future.”
Now we were talking! A handful of these designs began to stand out, and appeared to us as obvious visual versions of the words and terms we prioritize each day. Especially:
Relationships: Bonding, Interdependence, Interconnectivity, and Alignment.
Vision: Growth, Direction, Outperforming, Improving, Aspiration, Goals, Movement, Excelling, and Guidance.
We began to eliminate from here.
The sharp, pointed-edge icons were eliminated because we believed the subconscious fear of sharp edges in healthcare.
We eliminated the “S” icons because they were too similar to other logos, and simply didn’t offer that subjective beauty we were looking for. The hand icons seemed too literal, and may have given viewers the sense that we only treated hands, so they were also eliminated.
We narrowed it down to the following, which provided the perfect combination of bonding and improvement, interdependency and forward-thinking:
The “Upward A-Legs” Overlapping Arrow
We call it the “Upward A-Legs,” or “Upward A” for short. (Overlapping Arrow is also a less creative option!) Each logo that made our short list included an icon similar to the Upward A-Legs, which offered a few possible abstract interpretations:
A Spear: A fairly-literal ‘spear’ that could help with name recognition
Forward Direction: A forward or upward-facing arrow that showed we had a vision of constant improvement and progress
Legs: When upright they appear to be abstract legs, which we know are the base of a person’s body and activities.
Overlap: Overlapping lines and colors, which represent how interdependent our business and people have become, and how each of our parts become “multipliers” in our vision. Our whole is greater than the sum of our parts.
And of course one more literal use that needs very little interpretation: it will be used to spell the “A” in SPEAR.
Pop and Past
Without our SPEAR Guy or “S” icons turning more into an abstract symbol, the only way for us to honor our past was through color. The maroon color had been with us from Day 1, and the gray for eight years as a highlight and text color. So we started there.
But we needed more. We wanted to add a noticeable “pop,” for lack of a better word, and hoped to catch the eyes of today’s surfers and skimmers.
Let the exploration begin:
More than Pop and Past
But it quickly became much deeper than that. As we put more thought into the importance of color, our CEO, Dan Rootenberg became more reflective. In our discussions, we unearthed a deep belief: that we were not put on this earth to simply be who we are; we are here to evolve, develop, and self-actualize.
That is what SPEAR symbolizes.
So the SPEAR origins shall be symbolized by the maroon, our 18-year-old color who will NOT be moving out this year. However, we are also evolving, moving forward, and shaping the future.
How do we symbolize that through color and not just through our logo’s icon?
Blue. Our blue sky approach to growth. The blue sky represents the endless sea of unlimited future growth and opportunity that we see for our team, our patients, and our community. It’s our visionary approach that we believe offers unlimited potential for our team and community.
The nexus — where the colors from each side of the “Upward A-Legs” overlap and combine — identifies where and how “the magic happens.” Our blue sky vision of the future combines with the deep maroon color of our labor of love from the past. This is where the healing occurs, where doctors meet our therapists who meet the community that makes life. Most importantly, this is where patient and therapist meet to depend on each other to get back to life — one relationship at a time, stronger together.
One more note about the typeface. You will notice the letters are spaced out with room to grow; the room we all need to occasionally make mistakes, to not be perfect, never to be finished. And the letters themselves are rounded, uncrowded without sharp edges. They seem to be still evolving, much like each of us, sturdy yet still strong.
The End Result
Thank you for giving our company the chance to positively impact your life, and we hope our “Upward-A” becomes an inspirational icon as we get you Back To Life. Because we know that Life Can’t Wait.