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Giant-Initial Logos Tend to Stink

By April 16, 2023May 11th, 2023No Comments

We worked with a terrific litigation firm, Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith.  This had been their logo for many years. It’s a very common logo structure, particularly for firms with four or more names on the door:

Galloway GJTBS giant initials logo

The problem, of course, is that the marketplace rarely refers to a firm by its initials (as detailed previously here), and the giant initials distract viewers from the firm’s colloquial street name. In this case, everyone casually automatically short-hands the name to “Galloway” or “the Galloway firm.” (“He’s at Galloway.” or “She works at the Galloway firm.”)

Of course, no one thinks that the abbreviation means that Mr. Galloway is more important than the other lawyers.  The legal profession resolved that issue decades ago when firms started shortening their logos. It’s a simple matter of a busy world where everyone looks for shorthands and abbreviations. “Galloway” comes first and it’s a good enough word that we can stop there without confusion. So we do. Simple.

When highlighting initials, it can seem logical to use the unwieldy domain name. (Or was it Oh, who can remember? You can’t, and I just showed you the logo three vertical inches and 15 seconds ago.)

So as part of the rebranding process, after a strategic discussion, the lawyers agreed to enlarge the word “Galloway,” to make it easier to remember the firm and find it online.  So we changed the alphabet-soup collection of initials to a more streamlined logo, below.

Galloway NEW logo for blog post

Of course, we kept the rest of the names below it, because that is the firm’s name. And where possible I like to use it. The real point is the strategically simplified is a heckuva lot easier to remember, and the rest of the gang agreed. An added benefit is it let us use the word “WAY” in the marketing, e.g. “That’s the GalloWAY.”  We then overhauled the Galloway website with the new theme.

Here they are, the before and after, at the same width.

It’s fairly obvious which one works best. Take a couple steps back from your computer and consider which name(s) you can still read clearly:

Galloway GJTBS comparison

I’ve written about this Giant Initials issue here, and discussed the accounting industry’s use of initials (KPMG, PWC, E&Y, RSM, UHY, etc.) here and here, including generally why I don’t like it for them either.

We’d rolled it out at a national industry conference where the firm was a primary sponsor, getting their name on the giant screen, opposite a fine law firm that hadn’t yet fixed its identity problem.Galloway Conference initials COMPARISON logo

Do you know this RMKB firm?

Of course not, that’s not what everyone calls them. The difference is obvious.  Which firm name will you remember tomorrow? Whose firm will you be able to find online most easily?   


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