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Legal Logo Design Explained
A legal logo does not sell (directly) – it identifies, explained the late logo designer Paul Rand. He should know, with iconic logos for Kleenex, UPS, and IBM on his résumé. But the question remains: how can a logo effectively identify your law firm?
Creating the Right Corporate Identity
There are many obstacles which designers must overcome when creating logos. An effective law firm logo presents an image of trust and confidence. This challenges common perceptions of the legal profession and helps set a law firm apart from its competition.
Many logos feature text without images. They use commonly-seen fonts and do little to set themselves apart. This is a mistake because, unlike many consumer services, potential clients are likely to seek legal advice infrequently. Rather than relying on positive word-of-mouth or past experience, potential clients often consult the first legal firm that springs to mind. A memorable legal logo effectively ensures your business is recalled when potential clients are in need. It also helps dispel the myth that law firms are stuffy and boring.
Images of gavels and the scales of justice are commonly used in law firm logos. While this can make them seem a bit uninspired or even clichéd, these visuals shouldn’t be immediately dismissed. Any image can seem original and personalized when it’s created by a talented design team. Iconic images also help consumers easily identify your services. This is particularly important for practices whose names don’t contain industry buzzwords like “law,” “legal,” and “attorneys.”
The legal profession is all about serving people, so it makes sense that imagery representing this is also appropriate for a law firm logo. This approach is especially effective for legal practices that pride themselves on customer service. Including images of people in a logo can help emphasize this core company value to consumers.
Another tactic is to consider the times when potential clients seek legal representation. Often these circumstances stress patrons so they may respond to a logo which denotes helpfulness and inclusion. Circles are commonly used to represent these values. Circles make us think of rings, which imply partnerships and relationships, as well as stability and longevity. Curves are also perceived as feminine in nature, so they can make your firm appear more welcoming and approachable. A circle can form the outline of a logo or feature as an integrated design element.
Using the Right Colors
Studies show people make a judgment about a product, person, or environment in the first 90 seconds they encounter it. It’s estimated that between 62 and 90 percent of that verdict is based on color alone, so its importance in your logo can’t be overstated. Every color has a different feel and a range of connotations which your practice will take on if they’re used in your logo.
Neutral colors like brown and black help reinforce the professional image lawyers wish to present. These colors don’t have strong emotional associations, so they’re ideal for firms that want to show they employ strong, no-nonsense attorneys.
Deep reds, greens, and blues are also gaining popularity amongst firms who wish to add color to their logos without undermining their formal image. Red gives a youthful, bold image, while green is a calming color promoting peace and growth. That makes it an ideal choice for practices specializing in environmental law. Blue’s popularity comes from its connotations of trust, reliability, and strength. It’s perfect for practices that want to present themselves as a trusted friend ready to guide their clients through the legal process.
Another approach is to reflect the urgency clients typically feel when seeking representation. This tactic shows your practice takes the legal issues of its patrons as seriously as they do. Vivid colors like fire-engine red, orange, and yellow, all connote urgency. Over-reliance on these hues can counter a firm’s professional image, but bright accents and highlights can work well.
Getting the Font Right
While law firms shouldn’t make the mistake of over-reliance on text, it is still a component of the logos. Text tells potential clients the name of a firm and often what it stands for. This might come in the form of a slogan which sums up corporate values in a memorable way. Another common approach is to include the year a firm was established to show stability and longevity.
The text is just one piece of the puzzle, the other is the font. Times New Roman has long been a favorite amongst logo designers. Serif fonts like this give a logo a classic style because they have their roots in the newspaper industry and print media. Using Times New Roman or a similar font tells potential clients that your firm is traditional.
However, Times New Roman’s long history as the font of choice can see it looking a little tired. A more modern image can be presented using a sans serif font, such as Century Gothic, Arial, or Monteserrat. Sans-serif fonts like these convey that your practice is more cutting-edge than your competitors.
Make it Versatile
Your finished logo may look great as a standalone image on a page, but it’s important to consider its real world applications. The best legal logos look good whether they’re scaled down on a business card or blown up on a banner at a sponsored event. They also work in black and white on various documents and in glossy color on company brochures and newsletters. Simple logos are generally preferred as they look best on the web, when shrunk down, and in grayscale. Viewing your logo in a range of formats is the best way to ensure it’ll work for you.