What Is Graphic Design?
Graphic design, also known as communication design, is the art of creating, planning, and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content. This form of creative communication can be physical or virtual and may include images, words, or graphic forms. Most of the time, graphic design is used for creative communication and marketing for businesses and brands. When in comes to lawyers and law firm marketing, graphic design can be an effective tool to communicating and displaying your firm as a well-known brand.
Popular Methods of Graphic Design
Here are the most common ways of using graphic design for marketing:
- Web Design
- Logo Design
- Social Media
- Print Ads
- Online Ads
What is the Purpose of Graphic Design?
The purpose of Graphic Design is to help your brand or logo be recognizable and differentiate from others in your market. When people see your logo, they should immediately know who you are and what you do.
There is actually a distinct difference between branding and design. Branding is a marketing concept. A logo is not a brand, nor is it an identity. A logo is a marketing tool for your brand. Your brand is an actual experience, not just a look. Designing a graphics logo, building an identity, and establishing a brand are three different things, yet together they form the public's perceived image of your law firm.
A brand is the emotional effect of a law firm's image or experience as a whole.
An identity is the aspects of a law firm's marketing presence that form part of the brand's vision, mission, and purpose.
A logo identifies a law firm in its simplest form as a symbol or icon.
Influential law firms that have success in their marketing usually have clearly defined all three of these areas and use them in partnership to present themselves. If done correctly, a good logo can evoke positive feelings and encourage consumers to trust you and buy your law practice services. For any law firm to be successful in their marketing and sales, they must keep their brand, identity, and logo defined and visible at all times and across all platforms of marketing.
What Are The Benefits of Good Law Firm Graphic Design?
- Trust - People like law firms they feel comfortable with. A solid logo with positive colors can help people to trust your brand. If you look highly professional, people will be drawn to you.
- Relevance - Cheesy or dated logos often communicate that you don't care about your law practice enough to update it. By keeping your logo refreshed, your law firm will come across as up to date.
- Professionalism - The most important part of a graphic is that it never says "I was done in a hurry." Good graphics and logos take time and require intentionality. Remember that they speak to your excellence as a law firm.
- Personality - If done right, a logo can often reflect a lot about who you are and your personal architecture as a lawyer or firm. Fonts, colors, shapes, and angles can do a lot to convey the heart of your practice.
Graphics and Branding
Branding is the process of displaying the personality or character associated with an organization, product, or service. This personality is shaped by the kind of presentation that you give to your market. In terms of presenting your law firm, graphic design through images or a website can have a very deep impact on how your potential clients perceive you. One look at your logo or website can define their entire impression of you.
The fundamental concept behind a corporate "image" is that everything the business does, owns, produces, and displays should say something about the values and style of the business.
Being consistent in having the same marketing quality and message everywhere for your company is what identifies the law firm and drives its marketing. It is not just having flashy graphics and a distinctive logo. This is the goal of graphics: to remind people through the visual arts of who you are as a brand and your values as a business.
Your brand reputation and impression is crucially dependent on how you present yourself.
Lawyer Marketing Graphics
To this day, the purpose of digital and print ad campaigns are developed and executed to display your firm's personality, value, and purpose. Advertising options such as e-mail, press releases, web design, and the majority of advertisements feature images to catch the eye and convey meaning more readily than text can. And if your brand has been well established, then your logo will represent so much more than just an image.
Common Issues With Images and Graphics
The uses of images for marketing and promotion has several legal obligations and ethics. Protected images cannot be used in whole or in part even if altered. Thus, it's crucial to sometimes buy stock images or to create or photograph your images yourself. Here are few issues that you should watch for with your use of images and graphics on the internet:
- Photos of People - A common issue in the public domain are legalities over photos of people. If these are used for editorial purposes, such as a news story, it's usually OK without their permission. But if the same photo is to be used for marketing purposes or to make money, you need permission from the subject or owner of the logo. People have the right to prevent someone from exploiting their likeness, and even in the event of their death, that right passes to their heirs. It's a smart idea to invest in a good resource that can provide you with stock images.
- Copyright or Distribution Ownership - Copyright is a concept of protecting the legal rights granted to the creator of original work for protection, and applies to any intellectual property. Normally it means exclusive rights to use and distribute an image. This usually applies for a limited time, but there are some exceptions to "exclusive rights" under fair use copyright laws. For instance, a company may copyright a design featuring the text "Digital Scanners", but that does not give them exclusive rights to those words or that logo, only to use of the image as a whole.
- Public Domain - Public domain refers to images or works where copyrights never existed, have expired, or been waived. Public domain images are usually distributed or marked as such. You may want to check verify where your images come from and make sure they are "public" so you don't get in legal trouble.
- Trademark and Servicemark - Be careful about using any logos, symbols, brand names, devices, or anything else appearing with TM (trademark), SM (service mark) or the registered trademark symbol in either image or text. Trademarks do not expire and their use is protected so long as they are used regularly by the registered owner or creator.
A Final Warning
It's normal for people to borrow and use images, especially if they believe them to be in the public domain and available for anyone. Others have tried to craft graphics that are "similar" to those from well-known corporations to take advantage of the subconscious association with the original brand. That's an issue to be hammered out by lawyers in a courtroom, but you probably don't want to go there.
Be very careful about selecting graphics for use by a 3rd-party marketing service. Both the publishers and the person who supplied the image could be liable. Being sued over the simplest image could not only cost a lot of money, it can ruin companies and careers.
Law Firm Graphic Designers
Our team at Lawyer Marketing is familiar with the careful navigation that goes into the creation and use of graphics. We understand both the possibilities and the dangers that can come with using someone else's words, pictures, and graphics to represent a law firm. At the same time, we also understand the importance of having high-quality presentation to sell your firm's professionalism and expertise. If your law firm hasn't been able to nail down a good logo or graphics, we would love to help.
Contact us today by calling 918-409-2101.