Tyler Fortney

Digital Designer & Director

Bernstein Shur

Bernstein Shur isn't your typical batch of lawyers. They are the collaborative, sleeves-rolled-up type that work to find solutions rather than run up billable hours. This unique culture in the legal world provided a foundation to do something truly progressive in legal branding.
Law firm names are generally a string of two or more partner names strung together, which is not ideal for flexible branding. I was able to create a lock-up that stacked the firm name to maximize available space and differentiate Bernstein Shur from the landscape of legal logos. Bernstein Shur also had the built-in shorthand of "Be Shur" that allowed us to work a nickname and punchline into the system.
Since Bernstein Shur has such a unique culture and approach to projects, it became important to share that story on the homepage. The first message the user sees is presented in the "highlight" style I developed that accentuates Bernstein Shur's differences compared to their preconceptions. These messages appear throughout the branding system as clever headlines that push the tone of voice to places not commonly explored in legal branding.

I also introduced a secondary illustration style to support the very graphic highlights. The loose, hand-drawn illustrations add the extra element of personality that was essential to branding system.
While the personality and culture carries the homepage design, it still had to be useful for those users who wanted to find timely information or search for specific attorneys or topics. I built a drawer that holds news and announcements and the search bar into the top of the viewport that appears with an off-canvas push. This approach declutters the above-the-fold content and lets messaging and navigation do the talking.
Personality can only mean so much without looking at the people behind the firm, so the attorney bios became another pillar of the brand strategy. The bios were written in plain language with a friendly tone that described each attorney both in their role at the firm and their interests outside of work. I introduced a headshot style that allowed the attorneys to loosen up come across as individuals. In the development of this style, I oversaw the photoshoot with the local photographer and scouted locations that would be easy to reuse for future rounds of headshots for new hires, ensuring that the system could live on.
The practice areas follow in the footsteps of the attorney bios with approachable practice descriptions and photography that shows the attorneys at work and in the field. A handful of these images came from on-location photoshoots with Bernstein Shur clients including a local brewery, a cabinet maker, commercial and residential contractors, and a software development firm.
The friendly illustration style appears throughout the site, especially when recruiting to cleverly illustrate Bernstein Shur's firm values.
The Bernstein Shur site is also fully responsive with a number of style adjustments that make for a better mobile experience, instead of forcing desktop elements.
In addition to a focused web experience, a number of print applications were also developed as part of the brand rollout. I developed a brochure system for the core practice areas that featured more imagery from the on-location photoshoot, as well as a system for print advertising.
Direction: Brett Traylor
Additional Design: Sarah Cohen
Editorial: Kim Mickenberg, Elizabeth Amorose
Development: Raka
Photography: Brian Fitzgerald
Created at Thinkso Creative
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