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The Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) is the nation’s leading advocacy group for clinical legal education.


Founded in the 1990’s, CLEA sought to enhance its national visibility among multiple constituents with a modern, professional identity that references its past and points to its future.  


In collaboration with my business partner, CLEA hired us to develop a new logo, branding and graphic identity program for use on multiple platforms, including the website, letterhead, business cards, and electronic and print publications.


The challenge
How do you resolve the desire to be distinctive with the need to meet audience expectations? How do you connect an organization's past with its future?


Legal education has deeply rooted traditions but faces significant challenges that question past assumptions. How can a graphic identity speak to priorities that may appear to be in conflict?   


The work

During the research phase, we made some interesting discoveries:


• Unlike many acronyms (think ABA and AALS), “CLEA” creates a unique, pronounceable word. That’s
   something to leverage.

• CLEA wanted to maintain their existing colors: red, black and purple. Much to our surprise, we grew to
  really like the purple. It’s unexpected—we couldn’t find another law-focused organization using it—and
  reinforces CLEA’s roots as a reformer/positive disrupter/change agent.

The communications committee was provide with three logos that I designed for consideration. The committee chose the design called The Beacon, which reflected the attributes CLEA had articulated as central to the new design.


• The bold, assertive font treatment underscores CLEA’s strength and impact.

• The purple “C” font color choice emphasizes “clinical” as central to CLEA’s mission.

• The rays of light suggest unity, implying reform and justice: “shedding light on.”

• The beacon image is enduring; the icon design is suggestive, not literal, reflecting a contemporary,  
   forward thinking-organization.

• The complementary yellow adds energy and positivity.


CLEA’s executive committee accepted the communication committee’s unanimous recommendation to adopt the new logo and identity program.



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