PLE by design

What we're reading blog post tag imageIn recent posts, we’ve discussed the importance of using design principles and choosing the right fonts in order to make your public legal education and information (PLE) materials more accessible and easier to understand. Margaret Hagan, a lawyer and designer based at Stanford University, recently brought colour and life to these clear language design principles – she literally illustrated design tips in her “Visual Design Essentials” graphic.

Margaret has blended her legal and design training – and, as she discussed in a recent blog post, sees a nexus between design and law:

“[d]esign is about more than aesthetics. It is a problem-solving approach, just like law is. Design is a set of mindsets, tools, and process that anyone (trained formally in design or not — traditionally “creative” or not) can deploy when faced with a challenge. Just like law school teaches “thinking like a lawyer”, I would advocate we should also be learning how to “think (or better yet — act) like a designer.”

Thinking like a designer, according to Margaret, involves:

  • focusing on the needs of your user
  • ensuring timely user testing
  • being passionate about improving your audience’s experience

This graphic and other tools created by Margaret and shared on a blog she created to support her “Open Law Lab” project were created primarily for lawyers, but we liked them because of their relevance to PLE principles. On her blog, Margaret also shares information about other PLE and access to justice projects such as law games and comics about the legal system.

For more information on clear design tips for print and online PLE, see CLEO’s Better Legal Information Handbook.

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