The History of and Story Behind the Kaiser Permanente Logo

Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is a healthcare coverage and care provider that supports the total health of its members. Their program is designed to provide hassle-free and personalized health care services that include telehealth visits, as well as educational tools and services in an online environment about a wide range of subjects. The logo for Kaiser Permanente is easy to recognize, although it’s been revised through the years to clarify the intention of the group. Here are the history and story behind the Kaiser Permanente logo that reveals the interesting facts about the emblem.

The first logo

Kaiser Permanente was established in the 1940s and has grown to a nationwide healthcare consortium of more than 800 hospitals and offices with annual revenue of $80 billion. According to 1000 Logos, the corporation represented its brand through a display of the name Kaiser Permanente. It wasn’t until 1991 that the business adopted its first official emblem and incorporated it into a logo format. The original 1991 logo featured a strong inscription in sans-serif font in a modern styling of bold capital letters that were all capital with a combination of softened angles and sleek lines. For the first time, the emblem appeared above the wordmark. The outline of a person with arms outstretched towards the sky was placed at the center of the design with vertical lines forming the capital letter K forming its outline. The depiction appeared in black and white with a monochrome color theme. The logo was fairly plain with the silhouette that represented a client at the center of the representation for the provider.

The evolution of the Kaiser Permanente logo

The first major change to the logo happened in 1998. The entire image was redesigned. The letter K with its bold vertical lines was removed from the image. In place of the silhouette, a group of three silhouettes was added with the center image the tallest and largest, a smaller silhouette off to the left side, and a yet smaller image to the right. This represented the head of the house in the center, the mother to the left, and a child to the right without assigning any features to the images. The colors of the emblems were changed to a medium blue hue. Bright white sun with sharp spikes representing the rays of the sun was placed at the center of the image. This new logo would remain in place for only one year.

1999 version of the Kaiser Permanente logo

In 1999, the Kaiser Permanente logo underwent yet another change. While the emblem remained the same, the color palette and wordmark both received an update. The black and white from the original logo, which was still in use was changed to a calm blue color against a white background. The logo took on the meaning that was symbolic of professionalism and reliability, loyalty, and safety. This color palette represents the relationship of the healthcare service provider to its patients. The typeface of the wordmark also changed. It took on a more authoritative, professional, and confident aesthetic with a clean font in the sans-serif formatting. A minimalist design is straightforward and to the point. It portrays the simple goals of improving health and happiness for clients.

Changes to Kaiser signage and official standardization of the logo

According to Kaiser Permanente, the first signage mounted on The Ordway building featured a simple sign that said “Kaiser” since the 1960s. In 1972 an alternate logo appeared with a blue background and the silhouettes of a father holding his son’s hand and a mother holding an infant, all in white. It was referred to as the “family of four” logo. This logo remained in place throughout the 1970s until a design firm was hired in 1982 to redesign the logo. Douglas Boyd designed the human figure emblem with a stylized K. The plain signage featured a white background with black lettering in three lines that read Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc, all in capital letters. In 1984 Kaiser formed a corporate identity committee. It was agreed upon that the stylized K with vertical lines and the silhouette of a human with arms outstretched, with the wordmark to the right in white and green was adopted for the Southern California region. There was some controversy over patents for the image. Each regional division of Kaiser was allowed to create their own logos so there were several alternate versions out there during the 1980s. In 1985 a new graphic was released to reflect the KP mission in the blue and white color palette with the three silhouettes and the white sun. The sun incorporates 17 rays of light which were later reduced to 14. The goal of the organization was to arrive at the ideal symbol of the family with colors that represented the goals and mission of Kaiser. In 1999 the company made the decision to standardize the logo across all regions within the Kaiser Permanente organization for consistency and continuity of the message that was being relayed to the public.

Final thoughts

The Kaiser Permanente logo has undergone a series of changes in its evolution. Various regional divisions of the company were granted the freedom to customize their own versions of the logo, and this resulted in a variety of assorted symbols, color palettes, and styles. A special committee was formed to determine the best course of action to standardize the branding of the giant healthcare consortium and to establish a logo that would become officially recognized by all members of the company. It wasn’t until 1999 that this feat was accomplished, and it was even later that signage issues were addressed. Finally, Kaiser Permanente has brought everyone together with a common logo that sufficiently conveys the mission, goals, and character of the organization. Although it took several decades to make this happen, the 1999 version of the logo and wordmark is one that received the most positive reviews and it is still in use today.

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