Behind the Brand


JULY, 2016

Written by Nick Votto, Envy Creative

When I first sat down to meet Joe, Jack, and Mark about the opportunity to design the branding and digital for their new law firm, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I just knew that the turnaround was going to need to be fast. Lightning fast.

At the start of the meeting I told them what I tell every potential client I take a meeting with, that I don’t need their business. Okay, so I didn’t tell them that exactly. What I told them was the truth; we don’t say ‘yes’ to every project. We have to make sure that we are a fit for the companies and individuals that we work with, because we do work with them, not just for them. Unlike most folks, that didn’t put them on their heels in the least.

An hour later I walked out of the meeting knowing that I wanted this project as much as I have ever wanted any project. Why? Because all of the really hard work was already done.

Logo grid for Laffey, Leitner & Goode LLC

Designed by Envy Creative, Nick Votto – Creative Director

When we start a branding project, the very first thing we do is define what we want the brand to communicate. We want a few simple words. This seems obvious and easy, but it is incredibly hard for a lot of organizations to do. It’s not just start-ups, I’ve seen multi-generation businesses struggle to define their brand. As an outsider, I get a certain impression, but it’s never the full picture. For that, we usually have to dig deep through multiple exercises, and a few weeks of prodding and probing for answers. It’s the hardest part of the gig, but it’s also the most important, because it sets the foundation for every decision we make down the line. And when you’re branding a new law firm there are a lot of decisions in your future.

“By the time I had made the 10-minute drive home, I already had the brand defined in my head. Because these guys just ooze it.”

They live it, and it’s obvious from the moment you talk to them. Relentless. Inspired. Committed. Authentic. I couldn’t shake those words from my head when thinking about Jack, Mark, and Joe. These guys aren’t just doing this; these guys live for this. They don’t just say “we tackle the toughest problems”, they drool at the very thought of meaty, complex disputes, at the opportunity to bring order to chaos. Being in it with their clients, truly taking on their problems as their own, isn’t just a sales slogan for LLG. Practicing law for them isn’t just about throwing hours, paper, and junior associates at cases. For these three characters, it’s art, it’s science, it’s music. It’s fun. In that first meeting you could just see it, hear it, and feel it. Relentless. Inspired. Committed. Authentic.

LLG Icon

Site-wide Photography by John Sibilski

The LLG icon, a single inter-woven stroke of gold, is that ordered chaos. It’s complex and difficult, yet mathematically symmetrical and precise. And, as with every single element of this project, it feels like I didn’t even design it. It feels more like I just transcribed it, just translated reality into form and color and space.

This has been a bizarre trip for me. In many ways, looking back on everything to this point, this should very well go down as one of the most difficult projects I have ever had to work on. The sheer volume of things to get done, the incredibly compressed timeline, and Joe, Mark, and Jack’s tireless attention to detail should have made this process unbearable. But, that’s the strangest part. It’s fun. The passion, intensity, and care these guys bring to the table is beyond infectious. You cannot help but be caught up in it.

I should feel tired at this point. There have been over 2,000 emails on this project, ten different changes to the color of the accent wall in the new space, two full days of photo shoots, and a six-pack worth of glass and beer shattered across and mopped up from the lobby floor. Instead, I’m making lists of all the new things we can do with this brand and this site in the future.

Long story short . . . . some things just are. They’re rules or laws, like gravity. I noticed something about three guys once. Sit down with them, you’ll see it too. But don’t say you haven’t been warned. There’s a reason the icon is yellow, you should proceed with caution.

Relentless. Inspired. Committed. Authentic.