In May this year, Australia's leading law firm Allens Arthur Robinson formed an alliance with Linklaters, a global law firm head-quartered in London. This means Allens is Linklaters' partner in Australia, Linklaters is Allens partner in the rest of the world, and the two have agreed to form joint-ventures in Asia. Reflecting the fact that the two firms will work together, they also adopted a unified corporate identity, developed by Australian design agency Hulsbosch.
Allens Arthur Robinson dropped its two former names to become Allens. The Australian firm was keen to have its name first, a decision that also makes sense pronunciation wise. The new identity would use the same typeface as Linklaters global identity, with Linklaters set in its established magenta and Allens would use a blue shade. The two colours are equally strong and have almost the same lightness.
Two arrows separate the two equal brand, while also bringing them together. This arrow motif is also used extensively on stationery and other applications.
From Hulsbosch's case study:
Explaining the creative strategic process, Executive Creative Director, Hulsbosch said, ”We had to understand the business' DNA, and the changes that are happening in the business as well as those globally. To do this we interviewed a cross section of partners and offices to get an overview of the brand. We also reviewed media coverage of the brand and what they’re saying about the business, plus clients’ feedback.
“Apart from speaking with key people at Allens”, Hulsbosch continued, “we also spent time talking to senior management at Linklaters who conveyed their view on the unique visual elements they use in their identity such as the colour magenta, and the brand typeface. Therefore when creating a number of directions to consider we were mindful of communicating the connectedness that the partnership defined and allowing both companies to have their own visual presence.”
The strategic process also involved consulting with a legal sector consultant, Colin Jasper, who provided interesting insight into professional services brands locally and globally.
By this stage the then Allens Arthur Robinson had agreed to its new name, Allens, so putting the above strategic groundwork in place meant Hulsbosch could then move on the creative application of its strategic findings.
“Allens were keen to have their name first”, explains Hulsbosch. “It rolls better off the tongue, and they [Linklaters] were very comfortable with this. They were keen to have the names equal in size and weight as opposed to one dominating the other, so therefore equal strength was paramount.”
“Linklaters is now recognised as the top legal brand in the UK”, Hulsbosch adds, “They have a great brand and identity, especially the font and the colour. We [Allens] looked at over 150 different typefaces, however we concluded that it made sense to have a similar typeface to theirs. We also looked at over 100 different colours finally deciding on a vibrant colour blue which has the same strength as Linklaters. The colour combination suggests balance – male/female - meaning together.
Blue was chosen for stability, trust, confidence and intelligence. Connotations of the colour are positive such as clarity and transparency, which are then echoed in nature in the sky and sea. Also, when blue is used with warm colours like magenta it contrasts vibrantly and has high-impact. The Linklaters font was chosen for synergy between the brands.
“Another important element is the visual device to bring the two brands together while at the same time, keep them unique. In total, we went through some 40 different iterations of this before it came down to a linking device. We proposed a really simple option with two arrows facing each other. To sum it up, the two brands are together, but different. The colours will have equal strength, the typefaces link but are slightly modified and the arrows represent the concept of moving closely together at various levels as a global business.”