A logo sets the tone for everything a law firm does. It kick-starts the firm’s marketing, makes you memorable, and distinguishes you from your competitors.
This is why it’s important to have a good logo that is neither generic nor confusing. In order to help guide you on this process, we have compiled our top tips below on why logos are necessary, what makes a good one, and what the design process looks like.
Dumb Question: Why Do Most Law Firms Not Have Logos?
Often, law firms do not have a logo for their website. Some of the reasons that lawyers give: (1) they do not have enough time, (2) it is not a priority, and/or (3) it forces the firm to make decisions. Everyone agrees law firms should have them, but that they just don’t.
At PaperStreet, we know that law firm logo design can be easy. Even for our international clients, the process only takes a few weeks — about 20 hours of work on our end, and perhaps a few hours on the client’s end to just review/decide on the final version. Their total cost was a few thousand dollars, a few hours of their time, and they now have a logo for the next 10 years of business.
Logos do not have to be time-consuming if you have a talented designer. They should be part of your overall branding. It sets the tone for everything the firm does with marketing.
That being said, let’s take a deeper look into what a logo should look like and how the process goes.
What Makes a Well-Designed Logo?
First and foremost, let’s answer the important question: What makes a good logo? Well-designed logos tend to have distinctive features that set them apart from the rest. Here are five qualities you should want to find in a logo.
Simplicity: the cornerstone of a great logo
Logos should be easy to read and recognize, and should articulate a discernable and clear message. Too many elements or multiple fonts distract from a central, focused message, and make it more difficult for someone to remember.
If a logo is unique, it’s more likely to be remembered. Whether it’s a creative icon, play on words, or the right color combinations, a smart brand mark will stick with users. In short, be recognizable and stand out!
Well-designed logos are versatile: they will work across multiple platforms and applications, on a desktop or mobile site, with a 150-pixel social media ad or embroidered on a shirt. In other words, versatile logos look good in any size or setting.
How do you want to be remembered? Logos give prospective clients a first impression. That impression should resonate and be easy to understand. The nature of a business can be articulated through a logo when appropriate, forward-thinking ideas are used. Appropriate logos utilize design ideas that match with what that business does.
If a company’s logo stands out when compared to its competitors, it has been well designed. A competitive logo fits into the design framework of its industry, but raises the bar by paving a new path or improving on old tricks.
Designing Law Firm Typeface Logos
People tend to think lawyers are too conventional, traditional and conservative, especially when it comes to their logos, websites, and overall branding. We may, admittedly, believe that there is no way to push the envelope with such clients. But with design, even the simplest transformation can make a world of difference and illustrate a law firm or company’s identity.
Here are some things to think about when designing a lawyer logo or a law firm logo.
Your Design Should Be Noticeable
When designing a law firm logo you should strive to create a logo design that people look at and say the following things:
- How creative. How did they think of that?
- Look how simple, yet how effective the design is.
- A simple font enhancement made all the difference in the design of the logo.
- I can tell the designer didn’t just type a font. A printer can do that.
- I really get a sense of what this law firm is about.
- I didn’t think lawyers had a brand or image.
- This logo design is unique compared to typical lawyer logos.
- This brand is not just a current trend. It maintains longevity and is considered timeless.
Here are some good examples of how type has been altered in drastic or slight ways to establish an identity. They are not just fonts typed out. (Kerning and leading by themselves do not justify good type alterations). Oh, by the way, I hope you have seen the arrow in the FedEx logo by now.
Successful Typeface Logos
How to Create a Logotype
To get a logo that engages and impresses clients and potential leads, here are some of our suggestions:
- Sketch out the letters and/or surnames for the law firm logo – start looking at how the letters fit together in different ways.We recommend using Paper 53 to sketch out your potential designs.
- Find a font or fonts, but create outlines (save a reminder of the actual font).Start redrawing the points of the letters to alter their shapes, keeping in mind how they fit together.
- Evaluate how letters start to transform into objects. Do any of these objects reference what the product, image, or practice areas are about?
- Try manipulating the letters into those objects or shapes.
- Try manipulating letters to fit together the entire typeface as a whole.
- Try stacking the names to see how they fit together in alternate ways.
- Do these same steps with the initials of the surnames as well.
- Once you have your design, use Adobe Illustrator to create a logo vector file.
Conservative law firms and clients in general do not have to equal boring, mindless design. By being creative with your logo (re)design, you will see drastic improvements to your website and traffic.
The Logo Design Process
Logo design is a practice that’s a lot more involved than people realize. Developing a brand that can communicate exactly what a company is all about can be a very tedious and time consuming undertaking. Some important questions to consider as you embark on the logo design process:
- How will a customer or consumer interpret my new brand?
- Does it reflect my company’s target market?
- Does it fit the style that we’re trying to convey to our target audience?
In order to answer these vital questions, we have to successfully complete the logo design process. We have taken one of our logos that we designed for a company in Georgia (the country, not the state), and walked you through all the steps we took to reach success.
The Design Brief
A majority of all designers will agree that the first step in developing any new branding is figuring out what the client is exactly looking for. The first part of this process is typically known as the design brief. This is when the client will give an initial accumulation of information which should give the designer an understanding of what direction to take. At PaperStreet, wee always provide the client with a logo design questionnaire which provides us important initial information on where to start. Once the questionnaire is completed, we will often have further questions for the client in order to fully understand their needs and goals.
Research and Brainstorming
The next step in the process is the research and brainstorming phase. This is when we take all the original information we’ve accumulated from the client and begin analyzing. We will research the client’s competition, history, future, current branding, trends in the market and what could set the client apart from the rest of the crowd.
Sketching & Conceptualizing
After we’ve finished the research and brainstorming phase, we will begin sketching out our ideas on plain paper. This allows us to generate a large amount of possible ideas (which, most of the time, can become quite redundant), but the goal here is to not rule anything out.
Once we’ve completed sketching out logo ideas, we will then begin transferring the ones we think will work successfully to the computer. We call this the prototype design phase. We will render the logos in a vector program such as Adobe Illustrator. We generally don’t incorporate any color at this time –if a logo works in black and white, then it will typically always work in color. We regularly try to provide at least three unique logo concepts for the client to review.
The next step, once we’ve completed the initial round of logo prototypes, is to prepare the files for the client to review. We will compile a PDF file with the logos laid out nicely and formatted in either a black-on-white or white-on-black which helps the client concentrate on the shape and form of the logo. This allows the client to not become distracted by easily editable aesthetical elements.
Revisions & Polishing
Following the review from the client, we will begin finalizing the logo. At this stage, we will begin making any revisions the client has asked for or suggested. Depending on the extent of the revisions, we may submit another round of logos for the clients review.
Conclusion & Final Product
As you can now see, creating a unique branding is a very complex task. It takes time, experimentation, and exploration to come up with unique ideas which in the end will produce a great brand logo. Here is the logo the client finally picked.
Get a Logo that Drives Results
Logo design and creation is important for law firms’ competitiveness and success. However, it can be an overwhelming process without outside help, especially if you don’t have any designers on your team. Luckily, PaperStreet’s expert team has the resources and expertise that you need for an outstanding new logo.
If you want a logo that is unique, reflects success, and represents your firm perfectly, contact us to learn about how to get started.