Law Firm Identity

Chris Rugen's picture

I'm in the early stages of redesigning the logo and general identity (letterhead, business cards, potentially other pieces) for a small law firm.

They are trimming their name down to two of the founding partners, as they've been calling themselves by that name for a while now anyway. They're a smaller firm that gives large firm service at a lower rate. They're also know for their friendliness and approachability. However, they are conservative and traditional in their look, which they'd like to lean towards.

Right now, I'm in the early type-choice phase (since they want a logotype, no mark). This is the final set I've narrowed it down to. I plan to use the logotype, along with one or two 'classic' design devices (a rule, a solid box, etc.), to keep their collateral sharp and clean. What I'm looking for at this stage is reactions to the type, either good or bad. I'm gathering impressions to help me choose the 2 or 3 I'll work with.

Any thoughts/impressions are greatly appreciated.

Kraut Harris set 03

One note: I'm leaning away from the version with the rule in the middle. Another designer and I believe it makes their names look like an abstract brand, rather than two names, and encourages people to add an 'and' in the middle. Also, any 'crud' on the logos come from online type previewers, it's not in the design.


dan's picture

Chris, you need to use the whole line. They will identify themselfs as Kraut Harris (Titles). That might change the feel of the type. A thought might be names in all caps and (titles) in small caps.

Chris Rugen's picture

Dan, do you mean the legal signifier, as in 'Kraut Harris, P.C.'?

Good point. I'll post some reworks.

dan's picture

Exactly, Chris

neuroman's picture

Alessandro, as far as I can see, the picture you posted is a Walt Whitman manuscript? And he wrote SHAKSPERE?

aaron_carambula's picture

I think the line actually helps separate and define the two partner names. These names are not the most identifiable last names ever, and could easily misunderstood to be arbitrary brand names. A line element or something makes it feel like a lawfirm with partners, something that people are familiar with, without the and or ampersand, and I honestly don't think people would just place an and in there when reading it, particularly if that's now how they present themselves (on phone, on conversation).

With that said, I think whitman caps is a good looking direction.


Chris Rugen's picture

So, after some quick meetings with the client, and some early mockups, they've chosen a very conservative design (which I'll post this weekend). They also prefer the Whitman Caps. Interestingly, it came out that they want the name to feel like an abstract brand, since the names in the logo are not the only partners. They liked the line a lot, but preferred the Whitman alone.

Thanks for the input Allesandro, Aaron and Dan. I'll post some stuff this weekend. The development timeline is tight, so I may not be able to do another Typophile crit before it's due.

aaron_carambula's picture

sounds great Chirs, nothing like a happy client with good taste in your good type.


Chris Rugen's picture

Thanks. Well, I wanted to do some more interesting stuff, but it was a no-go. The two-sided business cards got axed for a one-sided. It's good, though, to be reminded that they still chose some good type.

It's all about perspective.

as8's picture

Mr. Ivan Philipov,
I picked up 'America' :


Chris Rugen's picture

I sort of fell off of the map a little bit with work, but the job's done, the stationary's designed, etc.

Here's a sample of the new business card.

sample business card

I'm looking forward to the brochure and website redesign.

dan's picture

Chris very nice and conservative. What would be cool is if you could get them to spring for a silver stamp for their name. That would insure a priority to the firm's name since the lawyers name is fairly large.

Chris Rugen's picture

Thanks, Dan. I like that idea. They really like gold ink, actually, which is all over their old brochure.

::mentally files suggestion::

djg's picture

The card seems off balance considering the centered logo and the flush left rag right info at the bottom.

Could asymmetry be a possiblility?

Chris Rugen's picture

They are a very centered-centric bunch. However, the example uses fake info* that is a tad bit shorter than the actual info, which lessens that effect. Though, I'll give it a second look.

*Which I guess was kind of pointless, considering that the URL is on there...

dan's picture

Chris, I'm from the pre-computer generation. We cut out teeth on process as much as color and composition. A good example is you take a paper with a huge texture and heat stamp it, it becomes slick where you stamped it and if you put a pastel coating before heat stamping it added a tint of color. These processes are being forgotten with the computers. Sometimes the simple applications that a printer or engraver can add can radically change how a piece looks. Run that gold stamp by the client. You probably could get samples of gold stamping from paper companies or your printer.

Chris Rugen's picture

Unfortunately, boring (read: conservative) is the way of things for law firms. The cards are being printed, so this is a more academic discussion at this point.

The actual color is a more navy blue (PMS 294). I try to avoid fake gold, it usually looks tacky to my eyes. I like the silver idea, but it's a no-go with this client.

Tiff, my only concern with your layout is that a few of the partners have really looong names, like "Stephen G. Maliszewski", hence the roomy centered layout.

This was my original idea (rejected by the client), which I liked the most. I'm curious what you all think of this design, which uses an older version of the logo:

KH Business Card not used

squeeze's picture

The blue side would look nice with the border of the logo embossed, but it would require a redesign of the backside so that the debossed lines made sense. Perhaps center the logo on both sides and position the personal info at the top, with the general/universal info at the bottom. This alternative layout would also require you to move or lose the light blue background.

On another note: Am I the only one who is bothered by the "Counselors at Law" part of this logo?

dan's picture

Yes Scott "Counselors at Law" is disturbing when it should say: "Chaser of Ambulances"

Chris Rugen's picture

Thanks for the thoughts, everybody.

superfetz's picture

Hey Chris,

Could you please tell me what pixel-font you used for the comment-fields? The one benith the logo examples.



Chris Rugen's picture

It's an excellent free font family from Underware called Unibody. Specifically, I used the small caps variation.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I have to play devil's advocate. While a nice silver/gold foil is nice, it seems too obvious for this market. What about a pantone metallic? Too boring? Plain?

Chris, the logo seems to be too high on the card as well as--perhaps--too small in comparison to the rest of the information. I've done a scribble to illustrate what I'm thinking.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Ah the old "too long of a name" problem. Completely understand. I think the challenge is one reason I still continue to find the business card to be so much fun to design. Looks like you also enjoy giving your printers hell. ;^> Those cuts have to be exact or the whole card will looks crooked. ;^>

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