What do Butterflies have to do with Nationwide Children’s – Actually a lot!

When we were designing the interiors of the new hospital, scheduled to open next June, we could have gone any direction with the theme.  We knew this was a key decision and every detail mattered.  So our design team studied thousands of options and what we found brought us right back here to your backyard.

We learned from our research that images of butterflies, birds and flight promote feelings of hope and optimism in healing environments.  This makes perfect sense; who can look at a butterfly or the first robin of springtime and not smile?  They’re beautiful, resilient and they represent emergence against all odds.

When you visit the new hospital you will see butterflies, birds and objects from nature in flight (such as gusts of blowing leaves) as key design elements throughout the building. They will be beautiful and playful but they will have an important purpose – to help children and families relax and find comfort during times of stress.

In this image you get a sneak preview of our new “Magic Forest.”  This 3-story atrium will be a place of respite for children, families and staff.  Children can hunt for the butterfly, bird and animal images hidden throughout the interactive space and play among the trees.  Lighting and sound within the space will change throughout the day and the evening so no visit will be the same twice.  I’ve visited this space under construction and I can’t wait to see children playing here.

With this in mind it made perfect sense that the butterflies should be a key element in our new logo.  We conducted focus groups when we were considering this decision and parents made us feel great about the choice.  They told us how these bright images would make their children smile and would help them relax.  I was moved when one participant told us how her little girl always wanted to be a butterfly when she grew up and to this day, mom refers to her as “my little butterfly.”  I also had to laugh when the mother of 3 boys told us she loved the new logo and her sons would too because they like to “stick pins in them (butterflies) and shove them in their pockets.” We’ll be watching for those boys if they visit the hospital!

Finally, I’ll share two special “behind the scene” tidbits about the creation of the logo…

First, I want to recognize our friends and illustrators at envisual Design for illustrating the amazing butterflies in our logo.  Not only did they do an amazing job but they donated more than 50% of their fee back to Nationwide Children’s (along with all the artwork).  Thank you envisual!

Second – for you butterfly buffs; all of the butterflies in our logo are native here to Ohio (as are all the animal friends that will be featured in the new hospital).  Here’s your butterfly breakdown (going clockwise around the logo)…

Falcate Orange Tip – The hearty little white and orange butterfly is one of the first to emerge each spring – first the boys and then the girls.  They look for blooming spring plants and are mostly seen in Central and Southern Ohio.

Orange Sulphur – This bright little yellow and orange butterfly is found throughout the state, most often in forests – He measures under 3 inches when full grown but you can’t miss his bright orange and yellow wings.

Red-Spotted Purple – His name is purple but he looks Blue to us!  He’s the large butterfly featured most prominently in the logo.

Great Spangled Fritillary – A fancy name for this small orange butterfly found in every county in Ohio.  One of the hardiest butterflies; frequently seen well into October.

For a wonderful guide to help your children learn about Ohio Butterflies check out this wonderful guide from the Ohio Division of Wildlife:  http://www.flipseekllc.com/wildohio2009butterfly.html


Donna Teach
Donna Teach is Chief Marketing & Communication Officer at Nationwide Children's. Her job is to help the hospital feel "connected" – Connected to each other, connected to our patients and their families, referring physicians, the community and the world.

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