This post is part of "The Shingle Life," a series of 15 posts. You can start at the beginning or see all posts in the series.

My partner and I knew from the beginning that we wanted the firm to have an identity. We didn’t want to use a gavel or something equally cliche to represent ourselves. But we also didn’t want to spend a lot of money paying a designer. Bartering for our logo made perfect sense. A newly full time freelance designer needed some legal work done, we needed a logo created, and neither of us had a ton of money to spend. The questions she asked me to get a “feel” for the firm were pretty painless. But how did it turn out?

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Creative Thinking

When I met with our designer to discuss the logo, I felt pretty ridiculous. I’m not very good at talking about “message” or “identity” or things of that nature. Luckily, our designer did most of the work. But I give her a lot of credit, since I didn’t give her much to work with.

One of her first questions was how I would describe the firm. I responded “It will be a mix of badass, fun, and professional.” I think that summed up my partner and I pretty well. When she asked what kind of clients we wanted to attract I thought for a second and then responded “Umm…criminals?” I clarified that in addition to criminals, we wanted to attract other lawyers. We hope to attract lawyers as clients to do research and writing for them. So, her goal was to create a logo that was badass, fun, professional, and attracted both criminals and other attorneys. Not too much to ask for, right?

The Proofs

Our initial round of proofs came with about eight designs in various colors. I knew in about three seconds that I only liked two of them. But I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, so what do I know? I was out to dinner when I got the proofs via email, so I passed my phone around the table to get everyone’s opinion. I also emailed the options to half the attorneys I know. My partner did the same. Everyone we spoke to liked the same two designs that we did. Now we just had to pick.

In the end, we went with the logo we thought would look good in black and white as well as color. We plan on doing some mailers that may be black and white, so we had to take that into account. It had to look equally good on a business card, our website, and any marketing materials we send out. We settled on this design:

Using the Logo

Once we settled on a logo design, I started designing business cards. Initially I went to Vistaprint. I’ve used them before with a Groupon and had good results. But this time I needed more control over the design, and I didn’t have a Groupon. I found their website almost unbearable to use. The site gave me specifications for image uploading, which I followed, and the images still came out too small or too big. It was maddening. Finally our designer recommended I uploaded the designs and made my selections in all of five minutes. The entire order for two sets of five hundred cards cost under one hundred dollars. It ended up being twenty or thirty dollars cheaper than Vistaprint, and the cards arrived two days early. The logo looks awesome, as do the cards.

Now we just need some clients to give them to.

Read the next post in this series: "."

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