Take a good look at your firm’s logo (if you have one).

G+TLogo

What does your logo say about your firm?

I’m using logo is a loose sense. YOU can also think in terms of your visual branding – the colours, shapes, symbols and lettering you choose to represent your firm’s “image”.

Should law firms even care about logos?

Aren’t logos just for businesses trying to sell something?

It’s fitting that on this day remembering US graphic artist Saul Bass – that we focus just for a moment on the power of logos and visual branding. Saul Bass was hired to design logos for many major US organisations.

saulbasslogos

His commercial work was well loved by creative and artistic types and Saul was also hired to design artwork for scores of movie posters.

movie postersaulbass

Martin Scorsese hired him to design the credits for movies.

He was well loved and today social media is ablaze with tributes to Saul.

So what? What has this got to do with the law? We are lawyers – not making movies?

That’s true – but progressive law firms are  also aware of the power of a strong logo to connect you with your audience – and to  help you stand out from your competitors.

Logos are thinking shortcuts that brand you in the eyes of your audience.

That’s why businesses spend lots of time and money coming up with thew right logo for their business.

A good logo is –  simple and yet has so many extra levels of connotation and connection to “other things that are already inside us”.

 

I know this sounds like a pitch from  the TV show Mad Men – but I encourage you to just think about how good visual branding will connect with other images we have already “taken in”.

TBMMCW.001

(As a huge Mad Men fan – I love helping organisations with their pitches and branding!)

Now some law firms want to project solidity and traditional values with what I call “the authority of antiquity”.

Their brand image wants to be one of solid upstanding values – often an upright font, with old-school serifs –  words  that looks like they have been carved into marble.

If your firm wants to project this solid established image – then a more modern logo may not be for you. You want to project a very traditional image.

But what if you are targeting an audience that wants more “modern thinking” lawyers – more accessible, more human, and different from all the other law firms out there?

What if you want to attract more creative clients in more progressive industries like advanced technology. Then a standout, more modern looking logo may be right for you.

I will discuss two Australian law firm logos that really impressed me. I am not connected with these firms in any way – I just use these logos as examples of what I think is clever forward-focussed thinking.

Having worked as a lawyer, I know how conservative lawyers can be and how resistant they can be to “flashy” and “less dignified” pursits such as marketing and advertising!

We are lawyers – we are not selling energy drinks to teenagers!

These are my impressions from the logos. I’m not saying everyone will have the same connotations and deeper analysis that I do. I am fascinated by the power of colour and font and shapes and symbols to convey extra levels of meaning.

Exhibit A: Gilbert + Tobin G+TLogo

Now, law firms traditionally love the mercantile symbol the ampersand – &. The ampersand is more than just an “and”. Even though it is pronounced as an “and” it shows a greater connection between two things.

Gilbert + Tobin replaced the & with a plus sign  +                

How daring!! I’m serious – this is a bold move!

This is very “modern” and for me evokes Florence + the Machine.

florence + the-machine

When the “new” 1990s Romeo and Juliet wanted to portray itself as a modern reworking of the Shakespearean classic – it branded itself with a + sign instead of the  traditional “and”.

romeo + juliet

Jazz musicians are a pretty progressive bunch and jazz albums were using the + sign instead of and or the &  as early as the 1950s and 60s.

plus sign

The + sign is a very powerful symbol – and  has so many positive connotations – literally.

We know + also means positive. Batteries, blood types.

It also means some thing extra and plus: an A+ on a report.

For me, the Gilbert + Tobin has connotations of modernity plus something positive and extra.

Also, see how the + literally extends “out of the box”.

G+TLogo

As, I mentioned, I may see a lot more than your casual client who glances at your website or marketing material. But I am very impressed with whoever designed the visual branding and whoever has the guts to approve such a radical departures for a law firm!

The + also has connotations of a cross  – which has connotations to Christianity. I don’t know it Gilbert + Tobin intended this connotation too! The fact is people of a Christian background can feel more comfortable in dealing with an organisation that displays a cross.

Also, think of the connotations of a cross being associated with “rescue”, aid, and help – ambulances, Red Cross. Army medics. It’s an internationally recognised symbol. (I know some countries have the red crescent  rather than the red cross)

medic bag

ambulance

Also, the colour blue Gilbert + Tobin uses is not the darker, more conservative and corporate  blue.

It’s not the sky blue “Blue sky thinking” creative blue – but somewhere in between.

The “font” is more modern and slender  and san serif (without serifs) and it  is upstanding – straight up and down.

Some organisations use letters that lean to the right  – leaning into the future.

Many fast and speedy organisations like to use the forward-leaning letters.

So take a good look at YOUR logo – the colours and lettering and any symbols.

Do these elements project the image you want to project?

Is the “image” likely to be attractive to the clients/industries you want to attract?

Some clients will feel comfortable with “old school” – others like modern and  progressive and different!

In Part 2 we’ll look another logo: HopgoodGanim and why I think it is also so progressive and forward thinking.

HG sand logo ——————————————————-

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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?

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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.

Slide1

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.

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