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The story behind “A Family Dedicated To Care”

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The NMCH logo was designed in 2009 by Deeshana Chetty, Nkgabiseng Matou, Nichola McKay Davis, Vanja Lavadinovic, and Kagiso Magoba. At the time, all five were third-year students at Vega, studying Visual communication, Copywriting and Multimedia design.

The project arose out of Vega’s annual Brand Challenge which gives students the opportunity to tackle real-world briefs from external organisations as an experiential part of their studies.

The result was a beautiful logo based on the concept of Ubuntu, which includes the essential human virtues of compassion, humanity and care – an echo of the qualities that are found in close family units and the support that staff, doctors and nurses provide to children in need of medical care. Read on to find out about the inspiration that resulted in their final product.

Describe the process of creating the logo?

It was a difficult one because this was an important project to us and we were under pressure to produce our best work. We started off by doing a lot of research and we thought the best way to create an amazing logo was to get feedback from the kids themselves. This meant going to different primary schools and interviewing children about how it feels to be sick and what they would like to see in hospitals. Some of the keywords that came out of the interview were friends, family, warm environment. We wanted our logo to be welcoming and for the kids to feel the warmth and love.

How was it working as a team on this project?

[Laughs] Just like any other team, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we really worked amazingly together. You need a devil’s advocate and someone who isn’t afraid to speak out, but you also need to push your boundaries and challenge each other. From the research, we gathered that Nelson Mandela wanted a hospital centred around children, which is why we have a child at the heart of our logo — because the hospital is child-centric. Each team member brought something unique to the table and that’s why this was a success.

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What inspired the tag line “A family dedicated to care”?

It ties back to what the hospital stands for, or symbolises — it’s more family orientated. Everyone working at the hospital is considered to be family, rather than just staff. What makes the logo special is that we got the kids to draw the faces, and we just refined it. The kids drew themselves, their mothers or fathers, doctors, nurses, friends etc.

What was your vision for the logo?

The logo had to be an African icon, it had to say “this is Africa’s biggest children’s hospital,” so we started looking at African iconography, symbols, African patterns and we found something called fractal. This is a pattern which, when repeated in itself, becomes larger and larger. It also represents community and growth which is why we love it.

How long did it take you to finish the whole project?

The brand challenge was six weeks, so we only had two months to produce something amazing.