The launch of the iPhone 5S has people talking about all things Apple again. One of the articles that popped up in my Twitter feed titled, “Timeless Branding Lessons From A Young Steve Jobs,” by Drake Baer of Fast Company, caught my attention since I’m hearing a lot of healthcare organizations talk about branding (or rebranding) these days.

The article starts with this quote from Jobs: "It’s a complicated and noisy world. And we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us." Therefore, the essence of brand marketing, says Apple’s former executive, is the chance to make a memory, according to the article.

While the Cupertino, Calif.-company started a new chapter of memories this week via a host of new Smartphone features (including iTunes purchases via your fingerprint), several healthcare companies are turning to façade design to start making a connection with patients. Here are some recent projects that stand out:

1. Queensland Children’s Hospital
For starters, just look down under to Queensland Children’s Hospital, a 359-bed tertiary/quaternary hospital under construction in Brisbane, Australia. The new facility will include single-bed patient rooms with en-suite bathrooms, family lounges, and rooftop gardens. However it’s the un-institutional exterior that first grabs attention, with colorful fins mounted on the exterior to provide extensive sunshading. (See image.)

Designed by Conrad Gargett Lyons, a joint venture between Conrad Gargett Riddel and Lyons (Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia), the façade also features box-like structures (referred to as “branches” in the building’s tree-inspired design) to allow natural light and ventilation to enter the building.

2. Mercy Health Rookwood Medical Center
Mercy Health creates an impression along a major interstate in Cincinnati with a colorful exterior skin—executed in three colors of metal panels—that echoes Mercy Health’s brand colors, with a pattern in two shades of blue at the corner most visible from the freeway and transitioning to white panels at the front door.

For brand consistency, Mercy is extending this brand look across its building portfolio, including to its new West hospital, which is set to open this fall.

3. Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
To convey the idea of “high-tech” and “warm and inviting” to the competitive healthcare market in Singapore, the private Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital  started outside, cladding the first three stories of the building in stone. Atop this base rises the patient tower clad in polished aluminum and glass. “It allowed us to have the best of both worlds,” says Michael Gould, project designer, HOK.

4. Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center
Kaiser’s 38th hospital facility is a natural fit in Oregon’s Hillsboro neighborhood with its regional materials palette on the exterior, an outdoor plaza with local sculptures and water features, pedestrian walkways, and parking garage adorned with live hanging plants.

“That care about the siting and landscape and the relationship of all of those things relates back to the branding and the total health environment,” says Matthew Miller, project director, Kaiser Permanente. (For more on this project, check out an upcoming issue of Healthcare Design magazine.)

These exterior design examples also relate to the opportunity to make a good (and lasting) memory with communities and patients.