SomeOne tackles law’s “sea of sameness” with Simmons & Simmons rebrand

The murmurations of starlings inspired SomeOne’s identity for law firm Simmons & Simmons, which moves away from the navy blues and “boring” typefaces of legal sector branding

The rebrand is designed to reflect Simmons & Simmons’ interest and investment in emerging technology, as well as attract keen young graduates that might otherwise be lured away by Silicon Valley. It’s an attempt to stand out from the sea of other law firms, who for years have relied on the same old branding to attract clients and employees.

“Law and lawyers are lagging well behind the rest of the world when it comes to branding, marketing and things like that,” SomeOne founder Simon Manchipp told CR. “They’ve always relied on really big brains attracting other big brains, but I think they’ve woken up and started to understand that brand is not just a logo, typeface and colour. It’s reputation, and the visual identity helps manage that reputation.”

Manchipp says that the law firm wanted an identity that would reflect its focus on partnership and collaboration. “This idea of collaboration was an abstract idea that was hard to make visual,” he explains. “At the time we were doing loads of work with the Natural History Museum and were obsessed with nature. We found these amazing films of murmurations of starlings self-organising, and it was so mesmeric and amazing. We put that in the presentation … and everyone fell in love with it immediately.”

SomeOne’s digital take on murmuration is featured across the branding, as well as in a series of animations showing swirling dots breaking apart and coming back together again. Simmons & Simmons’ former wish-washy wordmark has been replaced, and a bright coral colour palette adopted. The end result is certainly a far cry from what you might expect of a law firm, and is more than a little reminiscent of tech world branding. According to Manchipp, this was intentional.

“There are few sectors that are going to experience more changes than the legal sector, when it comes to technology,” he says. “AI and machine learning is fast approaching, and an awful lot of what the legal sector does will be replaced by algorithms. So looking and behaving like a tech company is no bad thing.

“This was a chance to open a new dialogue and try and move the sector on because it’s a sea of sameness,” he adds. “Just as you see the property sector waking up to the impact of branding, I think you’re starting to see a similar thing here. Law firms are starting to say ‘hang on, we can differentiate not just through our actions, but our brand’.”