Saturday, December 28, 2013

Branding and Letterhead

Think of traditional law firm letterhead...  Black on white.  Solid blocks of text.  Engraved printing.  Rich, traditional, and strong.  Nothing wrong with it.  Some would say it ain't broke so don't fix it.  I sorta followed this model for a long time -- although long ago I broke away from commercially printed letterhead, and started printing my own through our word processors.

My one adventurous design deviation was to go with three columns in the header.  As you can see in the exemplar below, the first column advertised my personal credentials.  The second gave the law firm name and address block.  The third gave information on satellite offices and internet.  I believe this information is important for marketing purposes, and to demonstrate my credibility to recipients of writings from me (no I don't know why the jpeg below turned the paper gray?).



Recently I began to rethink the importance of letterhead as a marketing tool, and I reassessed the look and impact of our letterhead.  I was motivated initially by Matthew Butterick's book Typography For Lawyers.


Matthew thinks long and hard about how lawyer writings should look. He got me thinking just as hard.  His book also steered me to his website, Typography For Lawyers.  At the website I studied Matthew's letterhead section, and started formulating a new layout for our letterhead.

Next I did a Google search on "typography for lawyers."  That steered me to a fantastic article at lawyerist.com (a website that all tech-geek lawyers should love!) entitled DIY Law Firm Letterhead Using Microsoft Word.  Using the step-by-step techniques from the article, and being inspired by samples from other law firms included in the article, I went to work.  Here is what came to life (again, I don't know why the jpeg gray's the paper as we print on clean white paper):



The new design incorporates the logo that is so important to our branding. The logo adds color. The left column includes all the personal bio info for me, and all of the law firm info.  Following Matthew Butterick's rules the left column's gray print makes it less conspicuous than the body of the letter.  At the same time there is contrast with the smoother font of the left column and the traditional font of the main body.  What's really cool is that it is all done in Microsoft Word.  I'm thrilled with the new design.  It has pop while still being classy.  It is a letter and also a marketing tool.  Our letters look great when they are sent via email as pdf's, and they look just as good rolling out of our ink jet printers.  They also sell me and the firm.  I am never afraid to admit that it is always about marketing, and letterhead like this fills the bill.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law

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3 comments:

Catherine Marshall said...

Really interesting article. Adding a pop of color to a header can really make a huge difference!

Lowcountry Land and Home Realty, LLC said...

What font did you use for your original letterhead?

John Harding said...

Word's Times New Roman is the default fault on our original black on white letterhead.

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