Typography for Lawyers

Much of what it takes to build a strong brand revolves around consistency, and being consistent is quite a challenge when you have lots of people representing the brand and creating things to support it. Staff members come and go and outside agencies are employed to work on different aspects of it.

The whole process runs much more smoothly when you employ a style guide. Most firms will have a standardised way of drafting documents and many will have one for the visual elements of their corporate identity, but who has one for their typography?

Sears–Davies works with many legal services businesses, and we've never encountered any that has defined and standardised typographic styles. We could waste a lot of time agreeing on things on a case-by-case basis as they come up, or we could have our clients invest thousands of pounds in developing a customized guide. Neither are particularly attractive options, but fortunately a chap called Matthew Butterick provided the solution in 2010 when he published his book - Typography for Lawyers.

Now available in full on his website, Buttericks is a simple, clear, and useful guide to all the typographic rules you might need in the course of drafting legal documents and marketing communications. It doesn't interfere with our creative freedom, but does set out all the little rules we need for laying out type.

There are sections on:

  • Why typography matters,
  • Type composition,
  • Text formatting,
  • Fonts that make legal documents look good,
  • A guide to laying out pages,
  • And a selection of sample documents, which although US specific, do give a useful reference to the rules in action.

A paperback version is available costing £56, and will save hours of arguments with your designers. It's a lot cheaper than having a creative agency produce one for you, and it's probably more comprehensive too.

You can find it on Amazon or at typographyforlawyers.com

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Mike Bean

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Mike Bean