The law affects us all, but sometimes we don't know how to take advantage of it. It’s difficult to understand the obscure wording of resolutions, laws and regulations - which in turn leads to social exclusion. How can this problem be solved? Legal design - a holistic approach to design that, among other things, clarifies the complex language of law through an accessible visual code, could be a possible way out. The solution is being researched and implemented by designers from Graphic Design (Grafika) at SWPS University.


Obscure, overly complex legislation

The statistical Pole doesn’t understand the language of law. For this reason, they’re not very familiar with regulations and tend to get lost in the maze of references between paragraphs, articles, incomprehensible definitions and phrases that mean completely different things in everyday language. Legal language is very complicated and usually comprehensible only to people who professionally use specialized vocabulary. Therefore, it's a straight path to social exclusion.

So is the law really for intended everyone? Shouldn't regulations be clear and understandable to all? Can intricate legal issues be presented in a friendly and intuitive way?


Legal design by designers from SWPS University

Designers from SWPS University see the solution to the problem in the way things are designed which can be used to explain and make people aware of what the law is, how it works and what it’s used for. The point is to efficiently guide the recipient through language that they may not otherwise understand because of formal requirements or lack of specialised education. In this sense, legal design is about visual language whose abstract form, as compared to written text, makes it possible to earn the most fundamental value of the contemporary design market - people’s attention.

Legal design is based on the use of audience-centered design principles in the legal world to deliver legal services in innovative and accessible ways:

  • It facilitates and optimizes communication and presentation of legal information (e.g. visualization of complex legal procedures etc.).
  • It contributes to the development of new services and products for the legal market (e.g. contract templates, methods of working with end users etc.).
  • It builds a culture of innovation in legal organizations (e.g. innovation as an organizational image, service delivery model etc.).


We take responsibility for the socially excluded

Design is a process that primarily involves diagnosing and solving design problems and providing simple solutions. Design has a real influence on social change - this idea inspires lecturers and students of Graphic Design (Grafika) at SWPS University. They carefully look at the needs of various social groups, they never turn their backs on problems but implement projects leading to beneficial change with courage and responsibility.

The aim of legal design, a project carried out cyclically by students of Graphic Design (Grafika) at SWPS University and coordinated by dr Dorota Płuchowska and dr Mariusz Wszołek with the cooperation of Joanna Burska-Kopczyk, is to use design thinking to build a relationship between the law and the visual aspect of the message. Our designers have translated the obscure language of law into an understandable visual code. Through legal design, a combination of design and law, they have already solved several problems that we face every day. It turns out that a contract can be designed in such a way that the consumer wants to read it to the end, and copyright law is not as complicated as it seems. Legal design helps the wider community understand the law.

dorota pluchowska

Dorota Płuchowska

Political scientist, sociologist, communication expert. In the Department of Graphic Design (Katedra Grafiki) of SWPS University and the Institute of Journalism and Social Communication of Wrocław University, she teaches social systems theory, the practice group processes and design, and communication design consultancy. She is interested in the ideas of society and social change. She designs communication for groups, teams and organizations in the systemic paradigm and according to the concept of turquoise change. She specializes in methodologies of project work, their optimization through algorithmization of diagnostic processes, systemic and sustainable project thinking, knowledge management, interdisciplinarity and interculturality. She is the author of numerous interdisciplinary and intercultural workshops.

mariusz wszolek

Mariusz Wszołek

Communication expert, associate dean of the Faculty of Law and Communication of SWPS University in Wrocław, deputy director of the Institute of Design. In the area of research, he is currently working on the theory and practice of communication design with a particular focus on inclusive, participatory and sustainable design doctrines. Editor of the Manual and Communication Design publishing series, author of books and articles on advertising, design work and sustainable design. Active designer and consultant in the field of strategy and communication policy for various companies and institutions; cooperated, among others, with: NEONET, PDG, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Wroclaw University, Culture Zone Wroclaw, Media Markt, Domar Interior Gallery, NOTI, Merc. Author of the na magazynie blog.

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