Blog Post

The Colors of Big Law, Part 1

A survey of the color schemes used by 100 leading law firms. 2 comments

Fact: if you ask any committee of middle-aged men to choose a brand color, they will invariably pick the color blue.1

“Traditionally, law firms have been led by older men. And this explains why so many law firms use the color blue,” I recently said to a client. 

Upon hearing this, my client challenged me. “Is that still true?” she asked. “Do you have any recent data?”

My client’s skepticism was not unwarranted. In recent years, many large law firms have hired high-end creative agencies to develop new graphic identities. And it *seems* that lowest-common-denominator blue is being used less and less. But, the truth is that I had no data. So, last month, the Great Jakes team set out to create some data by examining the color schemes of the law firms on the Vault 100 list. Here’s a summary of what we found:

  • Blue is still the favorite – Despite a proliferation of new colors, blue remains the favorite among law firms. Our study shows that nearly one-third of the Vault 100 firms use blue as their main brand color. This tally does not include shades of turquoise.
  • Red is the runner-up – Twenty of the top 100 firms use red as their primary brand color. [Interesting side note: all three Baker-named firms on the Vault 100 list —Baker McKenzie, Baker Hostetler, and Baker Botts—brand themselves with red.]
  • Boldly using black (or not) – Eleven firms use black as their dominant color, making it the third most popular choice. One of these firms, Seyfarth, boldly brands itself as the black-and-white firm. Most of the others seem to embrace black less enthusiastically.
  • Turquoise is a trend – Eight firms are now using turquoise, making it the number four choice among the Vault 100. And it appears that most of those firms have just recently adopted the color. Many, like McDermott, Will & Emery and Mintz Levin, seem to have selected turquoise in an effort to evolve away from the traditional royal blue.
  • No dominant color – Nine of the firms in the Vault 100 list haven’t consistently implemented a dominant brand color. One firm, K&L Gates, uses a rainbow of colors (where each section of its website is strikingly branded with a different color). However, the other eight firms just use a random assortment of inconsistent colors (as far as we could tell). 

So, who is doing it best? Check out Part 2 of this blog post series, where we examine which firms are winning the color wars.

Note on methodology: In compiling this data, we selected a single “main” brand color for each law firm we surveyed. In some cases, this was not a straightforward choice. Prior to making this determination, we examined the firm’s website and social media presence and scoured the web for examples of other marketing materials that the firm used. We then selected the color that felt dominant (i.e., most memorable). If various color schemes were used, we marked the firm as having “no clear color.”

1 Note on the color blue: When I originally made the statement about men preferring blue, all of my evidence was anecdotal. However, I just learned that this is supported by actual data as well.


2 comments... read them below or add one.
  1. Vivian Hood says:

    I enjoyed the article. I just wanted to point out that the fourth large “Baker” firm – Baker Donelson – is also red! 😉

    • Dion Algeri says:

      Thank you for sharing this info about Baker Donelson. For whatever reason, they’re not on the Vault 100 list, and therefore weren’t part of our survey. Regardless, it’s definitely worth noting!

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