Visual Law

How can we visualize laws, illustrate legal communications, and make these complex + intimidating topics more engaging?

Law can be made more comprehensible if it is made more visual.

This means illustrating cases — putting the human situations back into the legal opinions — creating flowcharts out of rules — and thinking about how we can convert complicated text into clear, digestible, graphic presentations.

Is A Burrito A Sandwich - razblint

I have also been putting together flow charts for clearer conceptions of legal rules — that are not put forward only as text or outlines, but as visual journeys of decisions. I find them useful for studying & responding to test questions.

Here are some examples of law school flowcharts and illustrations I have been working on. (If you’re interested in purchasing prints or licenses for these images, you can find them on my Etsy page for sale).

More resources to make legal visuals

Find inspiration at the Visual Law Library.

Use the tools at the Legal Design Toolbox.

Find guidance + research at the Legal Communications Design Project.

My posts on legal visuals

Key legal visual design patterns

As a part of integrating various design workshops and product development into one resource, I have been assembling the Legal Communication Design resource as a part of the Legal Design Lab’s network of…

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Visual Guide to Serving Process

During my recent Equal Justice Conference presentation alongside the Harvard Access to Justice Lab, I presented a quick practice visual I made, that would guide people through how they could “Serve Process” in…

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Do Lawyers want bad visual design?

I attended a design talk where startup and tech companies’ designers were sharing notes about what they’ve learned about what kinds of visual and interaction design best connect with users. One of the…

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Law For Me visual legal explainers

I had written earlier on this site about Kanan Dhru’s excellent visual law project LawForMe in India, to democratize legal knowledge and education through straightforward, delightful visuals about the law. The LawForMe site…

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How to create a legal visual

So many of my design projects are all coming back to the power of visuals to engage people on legal topics & to convey information effectively. Even if it seems that product and…

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Code Explorer visual tool

Professor Harry Surden of Univ. of Colorado Law School has published a beta version of a visual Code Explorer tool, to unpack & explore the laws on the books. Instead of paging through…

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Legal Mapping

As I’ve been reflecting on different patterns and models of Access projects, I’ve realized that we should be investing in a massive Legal Pathways Mapping project. We should be creating consistent (and hopefully…

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Law in Comics & Graphic Novels

Here’s an entire special edition of the journal Law Text Culture devoted to Justice Framed: Law in Comics & Graphic Novels.  I’ve linked to an introduction to the volume by Luis Gomez and…

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Law Comics: Alice in Patentland

Law Comics is a Tumblr blog that features a handful of illustrated explainers of law — to start with, patents. These first comics are authored by Julia Powles & illustrated by Ilias Kyriazis….

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Parking Sign Design

I was excited to see a concept design for a Parking Sign featured in Wired Magazine– that would communicate a legal warning/penalty quite clearly to the people who are living under the regulation….

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Graphic Legal Intake form

Here’s a visual for non-lawyers to enter information for a professional to later use in their legal case, and also to understand if they are eligible for DACA. It is a product of…

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Complex Visual Design tools

Here is a handout I made for my communication design students, about different visual structures they can use to communicate complex information. I made it particularly for lawyers, as part of my legal…

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Visual Law Library

Through the Program for Legal Tech & Design, I’ve launched a new project — The Visual Law Library. We started populating the site with drawings, charts, cartoons, graphs, timelines, videos, and other media…

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Legal Claim Maps

At the request of my sister, I have been tinkering with simple diagram templates for law students, lawyers & clerks to structure their legal analysis, and anchor a writing they have to make,…

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Immigration Storyline Infographics

For part of the DREAMer Hackathon the past 2 days in Mountain View, I started prototyping some uber-simple infograhpics of (often crazy) immigration narratives. I wanted to show the amount of time…

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Legal Design Jam: a sketchnote

This originally went up at the Stanford’s Whiteboard site, now reposted here: If you are interested in hosting your own Legal Design Jam — getting people together to work on how to…

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Bar Study Visuals

Brendan Conley alerted me to a small library of visuals he has built up since he studied for the Bar a few years ago. He has made flowcharts & diagrams to help other…

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CUPS: Making Policy Public

I’ve been searching around for good information & graphic design, to communicate laws to average people. I stumbled across some amazing booklets & posters from the Center for Urban Pedagogy, or CUP. One…

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Legal Design Jam, Part 2

We’ve had OVERWHELMING response to our Legal Design Jam outreach for next Friday at Stanford’s So we are adding on a Day 2, on October 12th, from 12-6pm — this time up…

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Drawing Ideas

In the hunt for good resources to build Design Skills, I came across this website and upcoming book for building Visual Design skills: Design Ideas: A Field Guide for Visual Thinking. It looks…

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More Good Tax Form Design

It seems lots of User Experience & Information designers have tried to tackle tax forms.  These are all hypothetical versions (it seems the IRS is massively against any new updates).  They are inspiring…

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Redesigning a 1040

In 2004, Karen Schriver, a designer and professor, took on a Milwaukee journalist’s challenge to make the 1040 IRS tax form more user-friendly.  She tackled the redesign with information design principles, using composition…

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Interactive Legal Maps

I’ve been prototyping various means to deliver & build legal knowledge — with a specific consideration of bolstering Access to Justice. One pathway, of course, is Visualized Law. I’ve been playing with it…

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Hand Drawn Tech Law

Just after my post yesterday on some beginning thoughts on the use of visual & graphic techniques to make full-impact law presentations, I’ve just been alerted by Finnish lawyer & designer Helena Haapio…

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On Better Legal Presentations

I found this video from the company Powtoon on why visual presentations are more effective in communication. Use Less Text, People don’t like to read Pictures are superior to text, your audience will…

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What does good notice look like?

I am collecting examples of how Notice is given to people in public, to comply with legal requirements to provide them warnings, information, and notification that something is happening to them.

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Privacy By Design Checklist

  I’ve been scouring around for guidelines that will keep lawyers and companies on track when composing & displaying Privacy Notices. It’s obvious — we need a clearer conception of what it means…

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Privacy Nutrition Labels

The CyLab at Carnegie Mellon University is one of the only centers looking at how to compose & display effective privacy notices online and off. One of their initiatives has been to make…

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Typography for Lawyers

I’ve been enjoying the site Typography for Lawyers from Matthew Butterick. He makes some effective arguments as to why Typography is more than just font choice — why it is a design choice…

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Lexpert & Visual Law

I got a note from Helena Haapio in Finland today — there is a group of legal professionals & others active with the organization Lexpert who are working to innovate on preventative and…

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Lawbore: Drawn Law Resources

I just discovered the UK law student resource site Lawbore, run along with Learnmore, out of London.  It was written about by Emily Allbon in the European Journal of Law & Technology. (Official…

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InfoCamp Redesign Law

I went to InfoCamp today at Berkeley with the intention of soaking up best practices and inventive ideas from User Experience Designers and Information Junkies at the School of Information. I did do…

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Ravel Law, visual legal research

Ravel Law (above, presenting at Reinvent Law in Silicon Valley last Friday) is a start-up that grew out of Stanford Law, that is building visual tools for legal research. Cases’ importance to an…

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On legal flow charts…

On legal flow charts… is a post I wrote up over on my drawing blog. I made these both a while back, but I’m thinking of how to revamp them — to make…

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Visualizing California Government

California Common Sense is a new Palo Alto-based non-profit that is trying to gather together all of the data about the state’s government, and then process it into visualizations that are clear, interactive…

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Design for Better Public Policy

  Making Policy Public brings designers, advocates and policy makers together to produce clear visions of how government, law, and policy work. This PDF provides immigrants with clear information about what their rights…

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