May 03, 2005

Curious George: I need a graphic artist to design a logo I want a logo for letterhead and business cards for my new law practice.

What I have in mind is the traditional scales of justice with my initials somehow over, under, or entwined in the scales. I would like it to be one or two colors, and I would need to own the design when it is completed. I have looked at the logo design places online, but think that I might prefer to go with an individual rather than a business. What are the questions I should ask potential designers? How much should I expect to pay? Other than contacting the art school in my city, how would you suggest I find such a person?

  • ?
  • by contacting me. address is in profile.
  • First off, I would recommend you hit the art school in your city. It gives the student something for their portfolio and won't break your budget. In fact, something I have done in the past is put up a flyer for an "open bid" for all-comers. The winning logo gets the cash and all the students get to learn from the process. I would be very straight-forward about what you want... as detailed as possible as to what you need and where there is room for creativity. You could end up from something linear to something almost abstract and everything inbetween to choose from. But please, please offer something up for it. Students often get taken advantage of. Or, some Monkey here might do it out of the goodness of their simian hearts. I would, but I am swamped.
  • Sounds like you've already 'designed' it and are only looking for a production monkey. Head over to, there will be plenty of desperate people there willing to crank it out for next to nothing and they might even be local. Craigslist also seems to be the home of businesses trolling for the low cost vendor. On the other hand, you might find a graphic designer, talk a little about what makes your operation unique (lawyers generally specialize don't they?) and set aside enough budget for concepting time and ask them to truly design something for you. A more important question might be, "Do you need a graphic designer at all?" Is a standout brand identity important to your marketing efforts? Most law firms seem to center their name at the top in gold or burgandy copperplate gothic and call it a day, What's the point in paying a specialist if you are plan on going wth something as obvious as the scales of justice? If you are just looking for production, a local print shop will probably pull some clipart together for you as part of their set up costs, if you are looking for a true brand image that you plan to invest money in promoting long-term, expect to pay for the thought that goes into it and the potential accrued value to your business over time. That might mean stuff like thinking about how it would look on signage, ads and other collateral now, even if you don't think you need them just this moment. As far as finding someone, you might try reviewing portfolios via google using "graphic design" + "your metro area" (quotemarks included) or checking out some other local businesses for work you think is excellent, then asking them who did their work. Johnny Hazard - you're right about paying for the final product, but please don't encourage students to work on spec. It sets a terrible precident that doesn't respect the time and effort needed to do the job right. Lawyers may work on contingency because they get a percentage of the settlement and see the risk as worth it, but I doubt they would agree to a situation where they were one of several lawyers who represented you, but you only paid the one you thought did the best job in the end. In the real world, it steals limited opportunity costs that might better be applied to something with a real payoff rather than playing the lottery.
  • /me imagines the photoshop lovefest if this was posted on FARK
  • Thanks for the recommendations. I'm going to pay for whatever work I have done. I was more interested in where to go and what questions to ask. I wouldn't ask a group of students to do work on spec. Having been a starving student for years, this just seems cruel. Thanks for all the help!
  • If you want to have a completely uninspiring logo, by all means use the scales of justice. I'm a lawyer, and if I had a dollar for every letterhead, card and fax cover page that came across my desk from another lawyer or law firm which featured the scales of justice, I wouldn't have to work again! What I'm really trying to say is that, although the scales of justice may seem like a neat idea, it is by no means original and will do nothing to distinguish your practice from the rest. I know this isn't the main topic of your post, but you should consider this.
  • As you need the whole stationery design package, you should expect to pay a decent amount (how much? that depends on your area). Are you starting up? Have partners, or going alone? A serious, professional image can help you get noticed and give weight to your company. And specially in the law area, the more staid, traditional, the better. Check samples of potential competitors and similar firms for ideas, or just to see what the market will bear. I know this sounds bad, but a bold, challenging, colorful logo and letterheard, while technically pleasing, might not be what your clientele might expect. And yes, get all files (i can't believe I'm saying this) from designer so you can have the material needed for other asplications, should you choose not to work with him/her anymore. They might be in formats you can't access, but they will be handy for the next designer you employ. Sad to say, it's something like a rite of passage for students to get burned with some client that refuses to pay. Anyway, that doesn't means you should take advantage of them... graphic design might be expensive, but in this visually-oriented culture, one can't afford not to spend on a company's image.
  • You should use a liger. Its a cross between a lion and a tiger. It's pretty much my favorite animal right now.
  • You are right. The scales of justice are too boring, and I'm going with the Liger. I'm now going to sit here and giggle and think about how much more fun the clients would be if they selected me because of my Liger logo. Heh.
  • I have a friend who just told me that he is going to run a full page telephone book ad that says in large print: "The Biggest Lawyer in Town" at the top, his photo, "Last Weigh-in Over 400 Pounds" No, I am not kidding. And yes, that is his weight.
  • I'll do it for twenty bucks. forty if you want it to look as good as a liger chewing on a baby seal.
  • this might be an option.
  • Or, seriously, is advertising logos for $25. Here's the Boing Boing blurb.