Becoming Best Practice
In late-winter 2017, Patterson Dental turned the page on its established technology and equipment publication. Since the 1990s, Patterson Today has been a showpiece for industry leading design concepts in modern dental practices, as well as a vehicle to highlight our vast array of products and services.
“The beauty of Best Practice is that we’re not going to force-feed you the latest one-size-fits-all dental solutions,” said Patterson Dental President Dave Misiak, in his Best Practice editorial debut. “We’re going to introduce unique perspectives from industry professionals about specific things that worked in their practices. In addition, we’re going to tell you stories about real people who make real differences in the lives of their patients.”
The first issue of Best Practice features articles that run the gamut – feature-length stories on dental industry personalities, ideas for improving the look and feel of a practice, in-depth overviews of industry events, practice management tips, and much more.
“We want Best Practice to be enlightening, engaging, and surprising,” Misiak said. “We want you to put it down feeling like you’re better for having read it.”
Current Patterson Companies graphic designer Paul Kirton worked on the very first Patterson Today, and has witnessed the publication – and the company – grow and change over the years.
“When we started, Patterson Today was a big risk,” Kirton said. “We had over 80 branches, but we didn’t feel like a single corporation. The magazine was our big answer – it helped get sales reps in the door at new dental practices, and drove revenue through ad sales and technology recognition.”
Kirton, who wore many hats on the two-man team that produced the very first issues – along with former marketing director Todd Mueller – served as art director, print buyer, proofer, layout artist, and even product copy writer!
This is the cover of the very first issue of Patterson Today, released in 1985.
“It took guts to build it from the ground up,” he said. “We did our research at the local ‘7-11’, looking through magazines to get a feel for what we liked, adopting our favorite features. In the end, it proved a roaring success.”
“Technology has come such a long way from when we started – we did it all by hand in black-and-white, but the striking color and and quality of photography is incredible,” he said. “It has the look and feel you want in a high-quality magazine.”
Best Practice will also have a wider range of story types, while still keeping dental practice redesigns as a central and recurring feature. At its core, the new magazine is looking to appeal to a wider audience in hopes of gaining both readership and sponsorship.
Creating the New Look
Patterson Companies manager of print production Tom Augedahl worked on over 60 issues of Patterson Today before stepping in to help guide the new concept.
“The publication changed so much over time, especially when digital dentistry started to dominate popular culture,” Augedahl said. “We started to showcase these high-tech pieces more and more, and Best Practice is going to be great for that.”
Augedahl also noted updated dimensions of the publication – a standard 8 x 10” – and another upgrade which will help images pop off every page.
“We’ve gone back and forth between lighter and heavier weight paper, but we settled on something we think people will love – a lighter weight with gloss, that really does help elevate the magazine,” he said.
While Best Practice will first exist as a print-only publication, the company has designs on an online home as well, where the opportunity to engage with readers via social media and evergreen content is an exciting prospect. For now, a fresh look and expanded vision is enough to keep everyone busy as the launch continues.
Are you looking forward to thumbing through our new publication? Do you know a peer who should be featured in an upcoming issue of Best Practice? What topics would you like to see us cover? Let us know in comments below, and be sure to keep an eye out for the inaugural issue of Best Practice in YOUR practice’s mailbox soon!