Client Testimonial: Damien Hottelier - Avocat Logo Design
"I must say Graham, that your logo helped me a lot. This is a logo for me — it's a monogram. Although I am now a partner, it became part of my very own identity.
I also filed it as a trademark — the logo will follow me all my life. Without knowing me personally, you managed to create a logo in which I truly recognized myself.
This is something very intimate, but it's very important when you will market yourself later.
Before going further, I think it is necessary to explain what is meant by 'logo' in this client testimonial.
It is not a monogram or a symbol manufactured from scratch, but simply the written name of a lawyer created without going beyond the simple settings of Microsoft Word.
In general, any visual identity is achieved by a (true) specialist and not by any old friend with a pencil, someone 'who really knows how to draw'.
Swiss lawyers, small practices in particular, do not tend to use a logo. In general, it is difficult to distinguish visually between two practices in the same area.
I know an example of two practices (in Lausanne) who have almost the same template and heading, only the names are different!
However, there are plenty of reasons to distinguish between practices. Above all, it is a question of making a brand - just like any industry, a lawyer must build a reputation among his clients, or even a brand. A very individual visual identity is a means of encouraging others to memorise the brand.
We are all different. Beyond each individual’s capacities, our levels of judgement in conflict, our specificities in writing, our ways of working, our specialities, everything distinguishes us. Taking note of these differences is a foundation of the profession: they evolve and produce the fruit of very different talents in the approach to the job.
A logo reflects your image. That of an independent lawyer differs from that of a big practice. A « neopath » lawyer will not be the same as a conservative one. All these reasons do not mandate the use of a logo, quite the contrary.
They show, however, that the use of a visual identity in no way impairs the image of the lawyer, whether it be the person or profession.
However, embarking on getting a logo may prove risky: very bad graphics undoubtedly cause harm to the image of the company.
A rough start
I had one from the beginning – to be honest, I did not like it at all. I had contracted an american graphic designer, but the result was far from my high expectations. Graham Smith, author of the new logo, even used the term « train wreck » to describe it.
After a few weeks, I decided not to use it. It expressed none of the values expected from a law firm, much less mine.
Choosing ‘The Logo Smith’
So, I made contact with Graham Smith, the freelancer behind ‘The Logo Smith‘. Beyond the inescapable fact that I love his work and visual options, I chose him for several reasons:
He is not part of any agency, but independent; An obvious knowledge of his subject; Recognition of his peers; In my opinion, a brilliant portfolio; A sufficiently high price, which guaranteed me the artist’s investment; Outgoing personality.
Graham took a few months to deliver the fruit of his thoughts.
I will not reveal the first drafts, but let me tell you that I was very pleasantly surprised. The collaboration with him was perfect: he always there to listen to my remarks, and was patient enough to explain to me (on Skype) every time I was wrong.
A word on the price. Even for Switzerland, the cost is quite high (about 3000 Swiss francs all in all, or around 2500 euros).
It was enough for me to postpone my request several months. But the end result was worth every penny. An identity like that follows you for your whole life, making this price rational.
The final logo. I love it!
It includes great little details, which need not be mentioned here. Let me just tell you that Graham lets nothing out of his studio until everything is absolutely perfect. A monogram as well as a name.
The logo includes a monogram (D, H and A of « avocat », or « lawyer » in English. I let myself be convinced by this bonus point, mostly because I find it brilliant. Just try to create an equally aesthetic monogram with the letters D, H and A…
Because it is essential that it can be placed anywhere, I needed a « square » icon. The monogram has this advantage. So I can use it in all web services. Soon, it will be printed on my envelopes. It will be included on the visit cards, like those of Sifter, also made by Graham.
Good integration in the letters. The font is being reused in the letter templates. Once again, it’s Graham's support after delivering the logo. Priceless!
I can only say one thing: I am delighted with my new visual identity. With the price in mind, the result was definitely worth it. The image has fully conformed with my intentions and I couldn’t have dreamt for better.
If you need to use a logo specialist’s services, I would strongly advise you to go with imjustcreative. In my opinion, it is one of the best freelancers in the sector.
You did a good job. Truly.
More logo design tips for the creative designer
Every so often I add sections to my logo design brief form (always a work in progress), currently hosted by Google Docs. Anything to help in with the 'getting to know your client and their business' makes for a more exact and satisfying project. To this end I came by something else that one could add that I feel in some instances could be very informative and valuable.
It was quite by chance actually, during a conversation with a new client the other day. After they had filled in my own logo design brief, we arranged to have a conference call to further discuss the possibility of working together and what it was I needed from them in order to 'get them'.
Logo Design Tip: Testimonials and Perception
When I asked them to try and describe their good points, the MD jumped in with an interesting thought, it was all about how their existing clients viewed them and the product. It turns out that they a number of stellar testimonials, letters of praise, emails of encouragement and other forms of flattering feedback. Each one pretty much reinforcing the rest, all focusing on a few specific areas of their interaction with the company.
This was incredibly enlightening. I knew immediately this would be valuable insight to factor into the brief when working out the best strategy for the design of their Identity. It also seemed to spark a new level of motivation within themselves on the phone, it's like they had just realised how much they were appreciated.
Logo Design Tip: Incorporate into your project brief
The short story version. If your clients have stellar feedback, even better if it's received on a voluntarily basis, knowing how they are already perceived by existing clients is very valuable information. It means that you are not just taking the clients word at how great they are, but that you have firm proof about their existing perception and experience.
It needn't be specific to a rebrand or an existing company, in this case they have been in business for some time, but have a new commercial product that needs to be branded. This means we can apply the success of their current business and emotionally build this into the DNA of the new product, somehow.
Sort of seems common sense, and in some cases this information usually turns up at some point during conversations, but for me it's going to be a key part of my logo design brief.
So rather than it being 'information to acquire' it will be addressed right at the beginning, when you are first collating your thoughts and impressions on the new project.
Clearly not all clients will have this sort of client feedback but for those that do, it could prove very information to sift through and incorporate into the identity in some way.
Cover both bases
Would make sense to also ask if they have had any negative feedback and ask to see these, so at least you are aware of the full story. You never know, for every one good testimonial, they might have 2 negative ones. Last thing you want to do is be lead down the garden path.
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The Logo Smith: Logo & Brand Identity Design Studio, with 25 Years Experience,
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Graham Smith: 10 Badgers Copse, Seaford, East Sussex, England.
Tel: +44 (0) 7816 527 462 - Email: [email protected]