Case Study by Diego Casco RGD, Creative Director, CASCO
Grant Crawford Watson LLP (GCW) is a boutique family law firm in Toronto specializing in counsel work, arbitration and mediation in challenging family law matters, with a focus on complex financial issues, high-net-worth clientele and high profile cases.
The firm’s objective is to provide the highest quality of work and service while maintaining a sustainable, profitable and growing legal practice. CASCO worked with GCW to create a new brand identity that would align with the firm’s high profile and leverage the reputation of its key senior lawyers as it entered a new era of growth as a limited partnership.
Changing a law firm’s name is a sensitive business decision. The inclusion or exclusion of any of the principals’ names in the firm’s new name can imply their level of involvement and send mixed messages to its clientele and other stakeholders. When the firm decided to embark on a name change (formerly Grant & Sadvari), a series of strategic decisions had to be made to define the elements that would shape the new brand expression. We were consulted on how to use the name in relation to marketing initiatives and whether or not the use of initials would be appropriate in developing the new brand. We used the new name to develop a unique positioning that would maintain GCW’s status as a leader in family law.
For the roll-out, we had to keep in mind that there was a sensitive deadline to this project. The firm needed to launch the new brand and a new website in tandem with the business changes taking place, in order to comply with their legal regulatory body rules. We helped GCW launch their new website, produce their new stationery assets, design and produce new signage, and also design a print announcement.
To develop a strong positioning strategy, we first make sure we have clarity on what the client's current situation is and what the business goals and objectives are for the future. Our positioning process is started by developing a brand character, in doing so we are able to define what is unique about the client's brand. We then define the target market and the desired audience, this enables us to identify their needs, wants and how we are going to appeal to them.
The objective of the positioning in this project was to place the firm in a tier associated with exclusivity and high levels of service. With that in mind, we also had to take into account that the firm's new partners had a different but complementary set of skills which would appeal to different segments of the audience. In all, the firm needed to be portrayed as an approachable and versatile family law practice.
Our process is very informative and inclusive. We take our clients through a series of steps and comprehensive presentations that allows them to understand and learn about our thinking and approach. Through visual benchmarking of competitors and analysis of their overall market, we are able to have conversations that aid any creative decisions we make. This makes our clients feel good as they gain confidence in knowing that we understand their business. Based on this premise, we are able to propose creative directions that resonate with them. When it's time for them to provide feedback and make final decisions, we are usually on the same page.
The new creative direction combines light and bold typography with a custom pattern of fine lines that represents the partners’ different practice styles and their ability to complement each other, conveying a convergence of their expertise. These elements were used to create the new wordmark, which shows each partner’s name equally in combination with the pattern to establish a sense of partner equality.
The most crucial design decision was to avoid the use of acronyms for the new mark. By spelling out the names of the partners, the firm would be able to capitalize on the recognition and high-profile of one of its founding partners, which consequently supports the firm's position as a leader in the area of family law. The unassuming but confident design direction conveys that the firm is approachable and eager to serve.
This creative direction is used throughout GCW’s stationery, website, and merchandising items, supported by vivid professional photography. The easy-to-navigate website has a clean and modern look that aligns with the updated creative direction, while the stationery employs a letterpress technique to suggest close attention to detail. The logo was also animated for use in digital formats to strengthen this message.
“The CASCO team was sensational in creating a design that was perfect for our vibrant firm.” Stephen Grant, Grant Crawford Watson LLP