In part 1,  we looked at the daring visual branding of Australian law firm Gilbert +Tobin. How the + instead of the traditional ampersand &  conveyed modernity plus lots of other positive connotations (plus, positive, cross associations – religious, rescue etc).

In part 2, I’ll share why I think the logo of  HopgoodGanim is so distinctive and powerful  too.


Many law firms love the regularity of squares and rectangles. HopgoodGanim uses the power of the circle.

Shapes have their own “visual grammar” and different shapes evoke different feelings.

This is not just my opinion. There are scores of graphic design “authorities” on the subject.

I’ll link to a very good summary of the power of the circle. I encourage you to read the whole piece – here are some quick quotes.

“Circles protect, they endure, they restrict. They confine what’s within and keep things out. They offer safety and connection. Circles suggests community, integrity, and perfection.”

“They suggested well-roundedness and completeness.

Circles have free movement. They can roll.”

Now, other lawyers may not like the idea of  circles – but you are trying to appeal to clients not other lawyers!


In my opinion the HopgoodGanim design definitely projects (as the visual grammar piece argues) a sense of modernity and motion and elegant simplicity and progress.

It’s no accident that many of the world’s leading logos are based on circles – VW, Mercedes and a stack of logos created by the late, great Saul Bass (see previous post!)


(Saul’s old iconic logos)

When helping organisations attract the clients they want – I work through a process with an organisation.

We look at the colours and shapes of the clients’ logos and try to “match”. I know it sounds superficial, but people like to do business with someone who is “like” them – not necessarily the same but similar It’s a primitive, tribal thing –  sense of security and safety with similarity and sameness.


If I was trying to attract car manufacturers – if I was about to revamp my  corporate logo I’d definitely consider adopting a circular logo!  Just look how many car manufacturers have circle-based logos. Look how many have a silver metallic look (as you would expect!)


For me, the circle is also suitable when you think of all the “circles” on the word Hopgood = the o p g o o and the d

Furthermore, the very distinctive g looks in my opinion very “space age”.


I also like how the logo design is echoed in other icons – for example on the firm’s web page. And check out the clock – now this is what I call clever  and comprehensive visual branding!


HG clock

(check out the clock in reception!)


For me, the logo also suggests the @ symbol which is symbolic of the modern social media world.

Note that HopgoodGanim “tail” of the letter g rolls “forward” (left to right) – the @ sign “rolls” backwards. (right to left)


The @ sign is actually a very old symbol and has so many interesting nickames from different countries – depending of what different cultures think the symbol looks like – a rollmop, a spider monkey, a snail etc. (If you love this stuff – I’ll also include a link with all these different nicknames for the @ symbol.)

Even though the @ sign is old – it was revived with all its use in e-mail and twitter addresses.

So once again, as with the Gilbert+Tobin “logo”, the HopgoodGanim logo is very distinctive and has a more modern look.

The metallic silver/grey colour also suggests modernity.

One of things I think is pure genius is the connection of the symbol and a photo of the symbol drawn in the sand – how organic and friendly and simple! How outdoors and barefooted!

HG sand logo

Think when you were a kid  the beach – did you ever get a stick and draw a circle around yourself? You were the centre!

The image of the logo drawn in the sand brings back strong and positive memories of when I drew circles in the sand.

Maybe, I read too much into corporate logos!

But remember: The powerful thing about visual grammar and shapes and photographs of shapes drawn in the sand – they make us “feel things” at a gut level rather than an intellectual level.

In the previous post, I shared that sometimes you don’t want your firm to look progressive and modern.

Here’s a link to part 1:

If you DO however want to stand out from the rest of the pack of other law firms, you can harness the power of logos, shapes and visual grammar to help influence how your clients “feel” about your firm.

So take a good look at our own firm’s logo – the shape, the lettering, the colour.

What image does it project? Is it ikely to appeal to the type of audience you want to attract?


Here’s the link to all the nicknames for the @ symbol:

And here’s a link to Visual Grammar and the power of  shapes including Circles:

The positive side of being a word nerd

As you can probably tell, I love this stuff, I know this stuff and I’d love to help you when you want to be more “likeable” to attract the clients you want.

If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

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Cheers, Tony

So, why do lawyers need to be likeable anyway?

Lawyers often get a bad rap ( perceived as dry, detached and  dispassionate) – yet they can change their image and be more likeable. In these competitive times –  to attract and retain clients, lawyers need to show more than  just their legal expertise.

They need to create greater connections with existing and potential clients. Lawyers need to be more likeable. 1. by showing what they have in common with their audience ( how they are LIKE their audience). 2. by revealing just a bit of their human and private side – what things in life they LIKE. Lawyers in the US now list things (outside of work) that they LIKE and are passionate about. Social Media Savvy law firms are creating more shareable and likeable content.

Legal websites are more audience-focussed and dare to stand out from the old stodgy legal image.

Who is writing this?


Hi, I’m Tony Biancotti. When I was a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland – I found the working as a lawyer too dull, so I “escaped”  for an adventure-filled career as a TV reporter and Defence Correspondent – and even a political speechwriter and media adviser.


Since 2004 I’ve been an international presentation and writing coach and consultant helping leading Australian and global businesses. I use my media and social media skills to help professionals (including lawyers) communicate and persuade more effectively by “connecting” with their audience.