Legal design – visuals in contracts

Legal design in legal documents – such as contracts – is central critical to proactive and preventative law. I am learning more about the process in the Legal Creatives Academy, an on-line legal design school run by Tessa Manuello.

Visuals covers a wide spectrum of items: images, icons, photographs, illustrations, diagrams, flowcharts, tables, pictures and video.

Visuals in contracts are used to:

  • anticipate/avoid claims, legal issues and disputes (eg the timeline in the FMB contracts)
  • enhance or supplement text (eg the icons in Loomland’s T&C)
  • to clarify, simplify and supplement language to make legal information accessible and functional (eg colour-coded duties in my 500-word contract)
  • to enhance communication within and between organisations (eg the Pathclearer approach)
  • to create more user-centric documents (eg my sample appointments with project data as a table).

Contracts can be entirely visual (as the Comic Contracts approach demonstrates). But more often than not, visuals will supplement the text to create these benefits as well as reduce the burden on the reader of contract complexity and the inevitable frustrations that creates.

Which type of contract would you rather read, sign and use?

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