There is a good reason why some law firms dedicate significant amounts of time and money to developing a professional logo. Logos remind customers of your best attributes, and contribute to the growth of your firm through branding, recognition, and consistency of visual messages. Keep in mind that a logo does not equal a brand, but it does help build value in your brand. On the value of branding, Forbes says:

Branding is fundamental. Branding is basic. Branding is essential. Building brands builds incredible value for companies and corporations.

What Makes a Logo Great?

A great logo reflects your firm’s brand and the quality of your work. Professional, memorable logos need to be simple. The goal is for people to immediately associate your logo with your firm.

If your logo fosters brand awareness (i.e., people think of your firm when they see your logo), it will be invaluable marketing for your law firm.

Simple

akerman-logoThink of a logo as a one-second commercial that plays every time something from your business appears. You want certain associations to be broadcast effectively so that potential customers know exactly what your business does well. Additionally, your logo needs to be recognizable in many contexts. A simple logo will be effective regardless if it is big, small, online, or in print. For example, take a look at the Akerman logo on the right. It is simple and clean, but the bold color is memorable and used throughout the site as an accent.

Professional

A polished logo is a sign of professionalism, and it implies that you bring professionalism to everything you do. That helps to persuade clients that you will do your job well. The logo of the McKenzie firm in Florida is a great example of a mark that displays professionalism without being cheesy:

mckenzie-logo

Another example is the logo for Yong Gruber in Los Angeles, which features subtle modern elements of modern font design and a bit of color for the accent:

yong-gruber

A professional, polished logo sends a positive message about the lawyers you employ, which can earn you customers and help attract the best employees. Success is not simply a matter of doing good work. Success is also about communicating to customers a commitment to quality and professionalism, and a great logo can help you do that.

Updates

  • 2014-09-05 The McKenzie firm is in Florida, not Pennsylvania. Thanks for pointing out our mistake, Florida Esq.

17 Comments

  1. Sam Glover says:

    I think it’s a good idea for law firms to have a logo, but I don’t think brand awareness has much value for most firms.

    Most people who arrive on your law firm’s website will never have seen your logo before. I agree that a logo helps show that you are a professional, just like wearing a suit does, but brand awareness has got nothing to do with it. A good logo probably makes you look more attractive than another lawyer, but you only get awareness by putting your brand out there (i.e., advertising, blogging, social media), and most lawyers don’t do any of that. Some of the most successful lawyers I know have no need to.

    So while I generally think lawyers should get a logo, for most firms it should be about the same priority as letterhead. And it’s not worth spending a ton of money on it. You can get a perfectly acceptable logo from 99designs or oDesk or Elance for a couple hundred bucks.

    Now, if you’re a PI firm spending thousands on advertising, you should probably think more about brand awareness. But for the typical solo and small firm, a logo is a good idea, but it’s not worth spending a lot of time or money on.

    • Karin Conroy says:

      I agree that you don’t have to spend a ton of money on it. But it’s like
      everything else in your marketing arsenal: If you look like all the
      other attorneys and firms out there, especially if you’re brand new and
      working on establishing yourself, don’t expect to be able to set your
      pricing or expectations any higher than any of your competition. So at
      the very least try to be different, which is what creating a brand is
      all about.

    • Re: 99 designs. As luck would have it we are going through a logo redesign.. and we really wanted to do it right this time.. so for $499 on 99designs, I ended up with over 200 submissions from designers all over the world.. and with all of those designs, we are able to easily make suggestions and recommendations, go through multiple rounds, ect. ect..

      Totally different than the first time, when we picked a guy and said, “makes me a logo”!

  2. Florida Esq. says:

    FYI, the McKenzie Law Firm whose logo you featured is located in Florida, not Pennsylvania. In this case, “PA” stands for “Professional Association.”

  3. legalofficeguru says:

    I think perhaps a distinction needs to be made between a logo and a wordmark. I would argue that most firms outside the Am Law 100 don’t need a logo but perhaps a wordmark instead. See John McWade’s explanation of the distinction (and why logos aren’t always the answer re: “branding”) here: http://www.mcwade.com/DesignTalk/2011/11/does-this-need-a-logo/

    • Daniel, Esq. says:

      But, for most smaller firms, the truth lies between McWade’s examples of Nike (needs a logo) and the neighborhood thrift shop (doesn’t need a logo). For a small firm, a logo can not only be memorable for “branding purposes” — which, I agree, is a fairly vague, hard-to-quantify benefit — but it gives potential clients a sense of professionalism and ability. And that can be valuable.

      • Paul Spitz says:

        The nike logo was pretty meaningless at first. Remember back in the 70s, when Nike first came out with the waffle soles? It was only through repetition that the logo became so iconic. The same is true of any logo. You have to use it, and keep using it, for it to become associated with your brand and memorable to consumers.

  4. Omega Force says:

    Hey guys, you really have to differentiate yourselves from the competition. Ideally by positioning yourself as the authority in your law niche + locality…

  5. PB Coleman says:

    It’s a visual and mobile world . . . Instant vetting takes place on handhelds. A firm logo reflects the message you are sending about your services. The design of your logo, website, digital and printed media should be included in strategic branding and imaging.

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