Law Firm Logo

sailingthecity's picture

First of all, I discovered this web site by chance a few days ago, and realized what an immense and fascinating world this is! I think in another life I would like to study font design. I am redesigning a logo for a small law firm (mine). I don't want to use one of those heavy and distasteful fonts that law firms use, especially I don't want anything encased in one of those horrible squares that law firms tend to use to show that they are "reliable, trust-worthy and institutional". Since the name I chose for the law firm is one single, made-up word that could have more than one meaning, I decided to focus entirely on the font, and leave the corporate identity up to the evocative effect of the name. The logo is just going to be the corporate name, blue font. I like sans fonts, and I hate everything that is not plain and essential. So, I was thinking of using Futura, but the results of an internal poll (family and friends in the corporate world) seemed to point toward something with less of an edge and more "comfy" - such as Gill Sans. Someone suggested Century Gothic, saying that given the firm's very unusual name and the fact that none of the letters is emphasized (all LC except for the first letter of the name) it's a cool effect. Any thoughts on this would be really appreciated!

hrant's picture

I'd say you need something off the beaten path (but not frivolous).
Maybe Antique Olive: http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/adobe/antique-olive/
It depends a lot on the actual letters in the name though.

hhp

apankrat's picture

Sorry, Hrant. This is more of "Nail Bar" kind of feeling than a law firm :)

Andrea, from what I've seen used in law firm logos, the best option is a serif. I know you said you like sans fonts, but if there were two doors each with a lawyer name on it, I have more implicit trust in a guy whose name looks traditional and sophisticated rather than edgy and easy-going. I wouldn't mess with well-entrenched preconceptions.

hrant's picture

Dunno, standing out can be very useful, and that's what Andrea seems to be shooting for.

I generally prefer serif fonts myself, but I wouldn't choose something like Equity for example - way too stodgy.

hhp

JamesM's picture

You're going about this the wrong way. A logo should reflect the personality of the business it represents, yet we know virtually nothing about you or your law firm. Nor can we pick a font that works well with your firm's particular name since we don't know what it is.

I know you mentioned some of your personal preferences regarding fonts, but I think you're better off describing what qualities you're trying to communicate and let folks here make suggestions.

sailingthecity's picture

First of all, thank you all for your input. James, that's a good point. It's a business law firm, and mostly targeting clients establishing US operations. The personality of the firm is very informal, practically oriented "let's sit down and talk business", which does not mean tasteless, though.
With regard to sans, this http://www.linklaters.com/pages/index.aspx is one of the most famous law firms for business law, yet they use it. Or maybe specifically because of that, they can afford to use it, whereas if you are not their size you should not go off the beaten path?

sailingthecity's picture

Attached are to ideas I am working on (granted the I find the Sackers quite stuffy and I believe it leaves no room for informal business brochures). As you can see, the name of the firm is already evocative enough that a serif might overdo it - at least, that's what it appeared to me

sailingthecity's picture

Another law firm going sans: http://www.cooley.com/index.aspx

apankrat's picture

It sure sounds like you really want it to be set in sans :)

Chris Dean's picture

I wish I was in the city (actually I don’t, the city sucks, working on the farm kicks ass) but for the last 20 years there has been a law firm in Halifax that uses this Star-Trek font. Carved in wood, gold leaf and all. Makes me laugh every time.

Chris Dean's picture

@sailingthecity: “I like sans fonts, and I hate everything that is not plain and essential.

It’s not about what you like or hate in the least. And it’s not about what the client likes either (unless of course, they are a nightmare to deal with and just want to get sign-off and move on to the next job). It’s about fitness for purpose, appropriateness, being perceived as part of the paradigm &c. What you are your client likes are subjective and aesthetic criteria that should come secondary to the afore mention considerations. This is design 101. Really basic stuff.

sailingthecity's picture

Chris: I get the concept of not going to church wearing a swimsuit, so to say. However, it seems to me that - especially in the corporate / business world, nowadays - there are various degrees of stiffness / casualness. Take the VC world, for example, attorneys don't even wear a suit, sometimes. I try to put myself into the client's shoes - not wondering if they like the logo, in that you are right - but wondering what kind of gut-feeling they would get from it. What I would like to communicate is dinamic, flexible, unpretentious and down to earth, and business minded. Having said that, those were my first attemps, but based on the general poll here (quite negative on the whole sans serif), I think I am going to try some different fonts...

Chris Dean's picture

gut-feeling.
Irrelevant. That’s even worse than “like.” They have to be able to articulate their thoughts or you, and they, are making uninformed decisions.

What I would like to communicate is dinamic, flexible, unpretentious and down to earth, and business minded.”
Irrelevant. Ask the client what they want to communicate, to whom, and to what end. Write this down, and get them to sign-off on it as a formal starting point. Go from there, and when you present your concepts, clearly state you have based your decisions on the criteria they signed-off on. If they throw in a few more things, you say “I can do that, however, that was not something we discussed previously, as seen on this document (show them their signature). In order to revisit this, it will take me X hours, and cost an addition $X. How would you like to proceed?” As lawyers, they should respect this. If not, they are hypocrites, and probably going to be a lousy client.

And just out of curiosity, what is the budget for this job? Do the lawyers work for free? As high priced professionals, their asking someone to work for free is flat out disrespectful (and again, hypocritical). Not to mention how working for free undermines the integrity of the profession, while simultaneously jeopardizing the livelihood of other designers.

Before you talk budget, ask them what their hourly rate is. That will provide you with an excellent segue.

hrant's picture

Gauging gut feeling is not irrelevant. And refusing to help people who have trouble expressing their gut feelings is ungracious and unproductive.

hhp

sailingthecity's picture

Chris: I think there is a misunderstanding: I am the attorney and I am giving a shot at doing my own logo. Or, at least, since I know that the logo will just consist of words and no other signs/symbols, etc., I probably will try to come up with a few fonts, then have a professional finish it. In case you are wondering, it is actually not a matter of stinginess (although, not all attorneys do have a huge budget), but I do really want to manage at least this first step of the process.

hrant, thank you, I actually quite like the second one!

Chris Dean's picture

I am the attorney and I am giving a shot at doing my own logo.
Ah, that’s a game changer. Apologies. I didn’t know that all.

Gauging gut feeling is not irrelevant.”
Completely agree. My point is to gauge (define) gut feelings before making decisions based on them.

And refusing to help people who have trouble expressing their gut feelings is ungracious and unproductive.”
Also agree. As professionals I believe we have an obligation to do our best to (empower others to) make informed decisions that go beyond the subjective.

I am presently doing design work for my struggling farm friends in exchange for vegetables. And I am constantly helping them make objective decisions regarding their communication strategies. In many instances, what seems simple, obvious, and boring them, may in fact be a selling point. For example, a blight-resistant tomato, a new type of compost, a new tool that makes weeding easier &c. They have “feelings” about what they want to communicate, or accomplish, for example, attract more CSA (community shared agriculture) members. Thats where the designer comes in. I provide them with strategies to do so which often go far beyond their gut or unarticulated feelings, and they freely and graciously acknowledge this every time.

I believe you and I are on the same page.

hrant's picture

I actually quite like the second one!

That's one of mine. It's not available for general sale (yet) but do feel free to email me: hpapazian at gmail dot com

hhp

sailingthecity's picture

Thank you!

Chris Dean's picture

…feel free to email me…”
A very good idea (I don’t represent myself in court ;).

hrant's picture

gauge (define) gut feelings before making decisions based on them.

But not being able to fully/formally/explicitly define these feelings is no reason to give up. In fact sometimes when you put something in a box, it dies.

hhp

5star's picture

Have you taken a look at Gotham by H&FJ? Or perhaps a slightly more humanist sans serif such as Proxima Nova by Mark Simonson?

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