How to Design an Effective Law Firm Logo

If you have decided to create a logo for your firm or redesign your existing logo, use the five principles of logo design to evaluate your needs and assess the logos you are considering adopting.

The 5 Principles of Logo Design

1. Make the Logo Fit Your Industry

Logos are not one-size-fits-all (which is the problem with many cheap logos). Still, it’s important to look around at the logos of other law firms. Does the logo you are considering look like it belongs in the legal industry?

You want your logo to stand out, but you also want it to be recognizable for what it is, right from the start. Customers should sort of know what kind of company they are looking at just from seeing your logo. In other words, your logo should make it obvious that you are not selling coffee or donuts.

2. Keep it Simple

One way to help potential customers quickly size up your business is to have a simple logo. Simplicity also helps people remember your logo the next time they see it. A complicated image is more difficult to recall than a simple one.

Simplicity is important for another reason. You don’t want your logo to be difficult to see when it’s shrunk down to fit on letterhead and business cards — or as an icon in a browser tab.

3. Avoid Special Effects

Avoid special effects for the simple reason that they may be difficult to reproduce in some media. Your logo should be usable everywhere. The most powerful logos are woven into everything a company puts out, so make sure yours can be reproduced on your website, business cards, letterhead, and maybe even t-shirts and coffee mugs.

4. Make Color Connections

Color has meaning. Research your color scheme so you can evaluate the connotations of your message before putting it out there. A logo should only have a few colors, since colors can be difficult to recreate accurately, especially in print. More colors will also increase the cost of printing your logo on marketing materials.

5. Function Is As Important As Form

You will need your logo to be much larger and much smaller than you can anticipate now. It needs to look great at any size, which means you need to get suitable files from your logo designer.

Using the Five Principles to Create a Great Logo

Now that you know what makes logos effective, you can better analyze the logos you see every day. Logos tell stories. They reflect a company’s style, approach to business, and overall philosophy.

Before you create your logo, reflect on the story you want to tell about your firm. What words would you use to describe your company’s style?

Check Out the Competition

Research what your competitors are doing. Make a computer file of all the logos and brands you like best, and then look at them as a collection. Ask yourself these questions about the logos:

  • What is it about them you like?
  • Can you use the answer as a starting point for your own logo ideas?
  • What is it your firm does best, and how can you emphasize that in your logo?

Start a folder of logos that speak to you and seem particularly effective. Which firms have logos you find striking, and what about them stands out to you?

Decide What You Want

What is your firm’s personal style? It’s good to research the trends, but don’t be a slave to them. Your logo will hopefully last longer than the trends, so stay away from designs that will quickly go out of style. Another reason to buck the trend is because you don’t want to look like every other logo out there. You want your logo to look comparable to the competition, but also unique.

Consider your market position when conceiving a logo. Determine what practice areas you are covering and define your unique angle. How will your logo reflect your firm’s focus?

Hire a Designer

Hire a professional for the actual design of your logo, just as you would advise people to hire a lawyer rather than represent themselves. Designing something that looks simple takes a lot of work. You’ve already done some of the work by figuring out what you want; now you need to find a designer who can create it.

Look at the work of several capable designers and choose one with the design sensibilities you are looking for. Once design starts, provide feedback to your designer to ensure you get exactly what you want.

Another reason a designer is a good idea is the multitude of formats and sizes you will need to recreate. You will need versions of your logo for print, online, large displays, social media icons, and more. A professional designer will haev no problem creating all these for you.

Test Your Design and Tweak It

You don’t want your logo design to take forever, but you also don’t want to rush it. The key to any great design is the creation of several drafts and input from stakeholders.

Allow your current customers and employees to weigh in on your logo design. Do a test run, asking everyone currently in your social media feeds to weigh in with ideas and critiques. Not only will you get a lot of valuable feedback on what works and what doesn’t, but you will make your customers feel as if they play a central role in your business.

Of course, the main draw of any business is the firm itself and the quality work it does, but branding and a well-executed logo are hallmarks of an effective marketing plan. It’s worth your time to scaffold the public perception of your firm with a logo that efficiently spreads awareness of your business.

Karin Conroy
Karin helps lawyers improve their online reputation. Her firm, Conroy Creative Counsel offers smart websites for law firms. She has also been around Lawyerist since 2009, writing posts that have a smashing success, such as the Best Law Firm Websites series.

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