Many law firms resort to Clip Art graphics and white-bread typeface when creating their logos. In this article, you’ll learn about the characteristics are necessary to design a high-impact visual identity that legal consumers will love and remember.
- Build a brand with a purpose by defining it with a single adjective.
- Your logo should be simple and elegant to facilitate brand recognition
- A professional logo adapts to different mediums and you should maintain source files.
- A good logo is authentic and fits your brand’s adjective
- Law firm logos should exhibit strength and competence
Paul Rand, one of the world’s most acclaimed graphic designers, once said, “design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” It’s the only marketing element you have to introduce yourself without saying a single word. This is what makes brand awareness & recognition so powerful and important.
Before we dive in, it’s important to know the difference between a brand and a logo. Your logo is the visual representation of your brand. Your brand, however, is more of an idea that encapsulates everything your law practice provides and stands for in your market. It’s possible to have a great brand without having a strong logo, but why wouldn’t you want to look as good as the services you provide?
To design a great law firm logo requires thought, strategy and these 5 characteristics:
#1 — Purpose
Your logo should embody your brand’s purpose and value to legal consumers. In Luke Sullivan’s book on marketing and advertising, “Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This,” he teaches us that every business should be able to define their brand in just one adjective, and that adjective should be emphasized throughout all marketing efforts.
Sullivan uses the Volvo brand as an example. If you analyze their marketing materials over the past few decades, you’ll find the word “safety” everywhere.
Volvo is essentially synonymous with “safety” at this point. Even in the years Volvo didn’t produce a safest-in-its-class vehicle, they maintained their position as being the safest in the industry. The point is, strong branding can carry you even when you aren’t producing to your potential.
To determiner your brand’s adjective, consider your target audience, competitors and what kind of legal services you offer. For example, consider two lawyers—the first practices elder law while the other specializes in IP. Because of the industries they work in and the consumers they serve, they should have very different brand identities. The elder lawyer might choose for their practice to be more emotionally driven, making people think “compassionate” while the IP lawyer might choose to go with an adjective that is more cutting-edge and intellectual, like “strategic.”
Benchmark your competitors’ brands to distill them into single adjectives. This will make it easier for you to develop an angle to edge them out, whether it be leveraging your relatively low cost, superior legal expertise, unparalleled knowledge in a very specific legal subject, friendliness or even how easy it is to work with you. Get creative and run with!
#2 — Elegance
Make your brand visuals aesthetically pleasing—simple beats complex every time. An elegant logo is modern and easily understood.
Look at brands like Nike, McDonald’s and Apple. Their logos all have very simple visual structures and this makes them more recognizable. Steve Jobs built the Apple brand on being something that people know without question. One of Jobs’ favorite Leonardo Da Vinci quotes, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” was even headlined on Apple’s first computer ad in 1978.
Simple is good—simple promotes elegance.
#3 — Adaptability
Your logo is featured on your website, business cards, stationery, etc. For this reason, it’s important that any visuals work well on different mediums.
In some cases, logo and type will be used in conjunction while in some cases you’ll only use one. A well-designed logo set has variations to fit different aspect ratios (or artwork dimensions). For instance, the logo area in a standard website navigation menu is often very short and wide—using a square logo would not be ideal here.
Any professional designer knows this and should provide various logo arrangements/variations to accommodate different placements. They should also provide the source vector graphic files for your logo so you can maintain ownership.
Vector graphics are pixel-independent, which means they can be scaled indefinitely without becoming “blurry.” Because you might need a very small logo for a business card, a slightly larger logo for brand apparel and a much larger logo for outdoor advertising (such as on billboards), a vector graphic is the best format.
Common vector graphic formats include:
- Adobe Illustrator file (.ai)
- Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg)
- Encapsulated PostScript (.eps)
#4 — Authenticity
Put a clever spin on an existing logo concept that fits your brand. It helps to work with visual elements that people relate to law while at the same time maintaining a strong tie to your unique brand (and adjective).
This sounds difficult—because it is. Some designers build their entire careers around just branding, scrutinizing over pixels and line weights to create the perfect aesthetic. Professional organizations understand the importance of a high-impact visual identity and, for this reason, are willing to pay big money for the right design. In 2000, BP’s rebranding costed them a total of $211 million.
Hiring a professional designer is a great route for building your law firm logo. A professional designer can provide a completely custom design—and the good ones will work with you until you’re happy with the outcome. Provide them will samples of logos you like and discuss with them your brand identity to give them a boost.
Here are a few places to find logos and professional graphic designers:
We also offer premium, ready-made branding packages that include all of the logo variations and sources files you’ll need. We sell each logo to only 10 customers and retire it after the 10th purchase so as to keep authenticity alive. We change colors, typeface, and basic structural components to best suit your legal brand. Your will receive all source files (i.e. vector graphics) with your logo purchase. Check out our collection of law firm logo designs.
#5 — Strength
Who wants a soft, spineless lawyer? Law practice is a hard-nosed profession, and for this reason it’s not in your best interest to go with a cute, “soft” or pastel visual identity.
If a legal consumer were to come across your firm’s logo that looks like it could be the mascot for a children’s cereal, don’t count on a new lead. Going back to your adjective, there should be no sign of weakness in the word you choose.
Josh Goreham, Volvo Models Dropping From IIHS Lists of Safest Vehicles, Torque News, Jun 14 2017
Laura Stampler, How Much The World’s Most Iconic Logos Cost Companies To Design Them, Business Insider, March 26, 2013