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  • Writer's pictureCooper Shattuck

So, what’s with the logo?

In 2017, after over 25 years of working for others, I was finally able to be my own boss. While that may sound glorious, it simply means that you can’t blame anything on anyone else. Nevertheless, it has its perks. My logo is a great example.

You see, I’ve always loved bow ties...

I can’t explain why. Part of it is their utility – they stay out of the way and are not easily stained while eating. Another is their inherent mystique – how do you tie the darn thing? One of my goals in college was to learn everything I thought one should know to be a good, card-carrying, respected, renaissance man. I needed to learn how things worked, how to fix things (cars, small appliances, toilets, etc.), a little bit about the arts, and how to tie a bow tie. I should have spent more time focusing on my schoolwork. Regardless, mission accomplished. A few buddies and I went to an established men’s store in downtown Atlanta and each of us purchased a bow tie. The kind salesman graciously conducted an impromptu class on how to tie them. We wore them proudly with our button-downs, khakis, and penny loafers (this was the early 80s after all).

Off I went to law school...

What better place to sport a bow tie? (Remember Professor Charles Kingsfield from The Paper Chase?) I got my first job at a firm in Tuscaloosa, whose work extended into rural West Alabama. I wasn’t there long when one of the partners (who clearly drew the short straw), sheepishly asked to speak with me in my office – and closed the door. “Cooper,” he said, “I’m not really sure how to tell you this, so I’ll just come out with it. You need to lose the bow tie. You’ll have a much easier time with judges, juries, and other folks around here without it.” Gulp. Got it.

So, there went the bow tie...

Except for the occasional special occasion, such as a fashion statement on (and about) casual Friday, they were pushed to the back of the closet. Later, when I worked in the Governor’s Office, the Governor allowed some of the young fellas to wear bow ties on Fridays, so I joined in. Oh, how I had missed them.

Then it was on to academia...

Wow. No rules there. If I was wearing a suit, I was way ahead of many. I gradually added them to the wardrobe and made nothing of it. No one said a thing, at least to my face. But by then, I didn’t care. I wore one every day. Pretty soon, people started commenting on them. “Nice bow tie.” “How many do you have?” “Not everyone can wear one of those.” I was never really sure how to take that. They became a thing. A trademark. It wasn’t long thereafter that I finally abandoned wearing contacts for the health of my eyeballs (I had taken extended wear too literally) and donned glasses again.

It started with a holiday card...

I’ve been a fan of holiday cards ever since sending one netted me a large client with whom I truly enjoyed working for many years. Fortunately, Erin Owen was working at the UA System Office as a paralegal, but she had degrees in Graphic Design and Public Relations. She also had a good eye for design. Sure, I could get one of the standard cards with a generic secular wintry scene, wreath, or tree, or perhaps one with a Rockwell Santa or maybe a cartoon with a reindeer saying something clever. Or, Erin could exercise some creativity. She came up with a simple design that merely showed some horn-rimmed glasses hovering over a “Christmassy” bowtie. No face. No features. Just the glasses and a bow tie.

It was a huge hit. I never received as many comments on a Christmas card as I did with that one. It was so popular that I used it again the next year.

When you hang a shingle and need a logo...

And then, I started my own law firm. Erin decided to join the venture. We needed a name, a website, a logo, you know, everything a new law firm needs. After years of working in groups, including two of the state’s largest employers, the idea of a solo practice sounded pretty appealing. So, the name was easy. Mine would do. Now for a logo. Erin generated some great candidates. But wait? Why adopt some clever and creative depiction of my name or my initials or even an unrelated symbol (it didn’t work for the artist formerly known as Prince) when she had already created a symbol, a trademark, that checks all the boxes that a good logo should? The card design was easily recognizable, simple, and immediately associated a viewer with me. She picked a nice blue hue for the tie and a logo was born.

That was many years ago. Since then, I’ve become partial to blue jeans. And my glasses have become “progressive lenses,” yet I still can’t see as well as I once could. But I can’t abandon them, nor the bow ties. Yeah, it may have something to do with the bow tie, but upon reflection, I think it’s something more.


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