Finance Corner:

    A Guide for Plaintiffs' Attorneys

    An Educational Blog Series  




    Practice Insights: #10

    More than a Logo: How to Create your Firm’s Unique Brand

    Posted by Matt McCormick | Creative Director on 29, Sep 2020
    Matt McCormick | Creative Director


    So, you decided to start your own law firm—a great accomplishment. But as a start-up, how will people recognize this new firm? You’ll need to create an identity, something easily recognizable at first glance. Just like you are the face of your new firm, your logo is the visual representation that will create an instant impact.

    There are hundreds, if not thousands of avenues through which to purchase a stock logo for your law firm, download it and have it ready for immediate use. It’s a quick and easy way to create a shiny new identity, however you run the risk of looking like a lot of other firms out there. The scales of justice, a gavel, an artistic looking column—what do all those convey to your prospective clients? Do they effectively set you apart from competitor firms?

    Another alternative may be hiring an agency or freelance designer to help create your brand. This is likely to be a more expensive option; however, the end product is sure to be unique to your firm. To help guide you through the process, we’ve broken down some important first steps to help you along the way to building successful new firm brand.

    1. Choosing your color scheme

    Color is an important starting point when positioning your firm to achieve brand awareness. The colors you chose are a powerful first statement, before any text or imagery is presented. Marketo recently analyzed the Top 100 global brands and found:

        • “Blue seems to be the winning color, as it shows up in 33% of the top 100 brands. Red comes second by showing up in 29% of the brands, and black or grayscale make the third most popular choice with 28%. Finally, 13% use yellow or gold.

        • 95% of the top 100 brands only use one or two colors. This can be explained as an attempt to maintain consistency by staying simple in their branding.

        • Text is not important to many of these brands, as only 41% involved it in their logos.

        • This serves as proof that a strong logo can make a connection with the audience, even with no use of text to supplement it. In fact, 9% of the brands didn’t even feature their company’s name on their logo, going one step further with the simplicity of their logos.”

    Blue and red were reported as strong, dominating colors. When choosing your color scheme, consider what you want new clients to feel when they view your logo—that your firm is strong, fierce, loyal. You also want the color choice to be easily recognizable and able to be used in a variety of mediums, such as business cards, envelopes, letterhead, advertisements and on your website.

    1. Selecting a font

    The next step is to pick a primary font to use across your brand. We all know that elementary school teacher that uses Comic Sans because of its resemblance to a kindergartner learning how to write for the first time. Bear in mind, you do NOT want that connotation for your new firm.

    Your font should pair well with the graphic representation of your logo, assuming it’s not solely designed around text. Will your logo be the firm name with a tag line? An image inclusive of the firm name? Initials of the newly formed firm? Or something completely different?

    The font you chose says a lot about the character of your firm. Your choice should be clean, easy to read and represent who you are. Avoid script or cursive as it doesn’t generally translate well to printed materials or in digital use.

    Fonts are classified into two categories: serif and sans-serif.

        • Serif fonts have a decorative stroke that extends from the bar of a letter. Think Times New Roman, Garamond, Caslon, Baskerville, just to name a few. They were designed to make the text come together, without writing in cursive.

        • Sans-serif font exclude the added detail attached to the bar of the letter. Examples of sans-serif fonts are Helvetica, Arial, Gotham and Futura. Over the past 15 years or so major global corporations—such as Google, GAP and Yahoo!—have changed from Serif to Sans-Serif in their brand identities. Even though sans-serif is a simpler look, it appeals to a greater audience.

    If you tackle your designing in-house, there are several free websites where you can download fonts for free. Use the above tips to help guide you in your choice.

    1. Competitive Analysis

    It’s imperative you educate yourself on what others in your area are doing. Who are going to be your competitors? Are you going to stand out enough from the crowd? You want people to recognize you as a law firm, without having to shout, “I’M A LAW FIRM!” When you look at what the others are doing, ask yourself why you like or dislike their logo. What stands out? Identify what sets your firm apart and how you can present that across visually to your prospective clients.

    1. Logo Structure

    Most law firm logos boil down to three different variations:

        • Traditional, left-justified with serif font attached to a generic graphic such as the gavel, scales of justice or other legal images as mentioned earlier.

        • A modern, sans-serif font with a more abstract image sometimes centered (“stacked”) over a bold tagline.

        • A design that incorporates the initials of the firm or the attorney’s last name as the focal point, with the full firm name centered beneath or left justified. These tend to use either the serif or sans-serif look.

    The decision usually comes down to the choice between a traditional and modern look. Traditional may help portray the idea that you are well established the modern look may present your firm as sleek and innovative. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the style or look of your identity, it’s really a personal preference. Choose wisely!

    1. Don’t Over Complicate It

    When finalizing your new identity, don’t make it complicated. You want to be recognizable, memorable, readable and clean. Cluttered and complex designs aren’t as easily utilized on multiple platforms. Ask yourself:

        • How will this look on a business card?

        • Or, enlarged on a billboard or banner?

        • At a quick glance in a magazine, will someone be able to read and recognize your logo?

        • Can your logo be broken apart for different uses? If you only use the image or “mark” versus only using the text, does it still work?

        • Can you see this logo embroidered it on a slick golf polo?

    These are all questions that will help you create a successful new look for your firm.

    Categories: Practice Insights

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