3 Must-Try Legal Design and Visualization Techniques and Tools, with Examples!

Jul 02, 2024

By Tessa Manuello, Founder & CEO of Legal Creatives | The Legal Designers

For too long, the fact that legal documents are notorious for being dense, technical, and inaccessible to the average reader has gone unquestioned. This wide gap between lawyers and the general public creates significant problems, not just for individuals but for legal professionals as well. It's time to address these issues head-on. No tech tool alone can bridge this gap; what you need is to rethink the way you draft, present, and deliver legal information.

In this article I will cover the problems addressed by legal design and visualization, practical techniques and tools to use. Plus, I will share examples to illustrate the process and outcomes. 

1. Problems Addressed by Legal Design and Visualization

Legal documents are notorious for being dense, technical, and inaccessible to the average reader. This lack of accessibility can lead to numerous problems, including confusion, misinterpretation, and errors in implementation. Here is why:

Problem no1: Dense Format

Legal documents often present a wall of text that is difficult to navigate, leading countless readers to give up before they even start. When faced with a dense block of text, readers may experience cognitive overload. Our brains have limited processing capacity, and dense text can overwhelm this capacity, making it difficult for users to comprehend and retain information effectively.

This issue is critically important because the inaccessibility of legal documents leads to repeated questions and a burden on legal advisors with low-value tasks. When clients or stakeholders cannot easily understand the information presented, they continuously seek clarification, resulting in an overload of inquiries for legal professionals. This not only consumes valuable time but also diverts attention from more critical and high-value tasks. The constant need for follow-ups to clarify basic information creates an inefficient workflow, increasing stress and reducing productivity for legal teams.

By making legal documents more accessible and comprehensible, we can alleviate this burden, allowing legal professionals to focus on more substantive and impactful work.

Problem no2: Technical Language

The use of formal and technical language makes legal documents accessible only to lawyers, excluding the general audience. This can cause misunderstandings and unintended consequences, including conflicts and possibly also costly legal disputes. 

The use of a formal tone, long paragraphs filled with technical jargon, and stylistic choices like writing in ALL CAPS significantly decrease the readability of legal documents. This creates a substantial gap between legal professionals and their clients or the general public, making it difficult, if not impossible, for non-lawyers to understand the content. Writing entire paragraphs in ALL CAPS further exacerbates this disconnect. It can come across as aggressive and off-putting, like you are being shouted at, discouraging people from engaging with the document.

These barriers hinder effective communication and collaboration between clients and lawyers, making it harder to effectively use legal information, navigate legal processes or comply with legal requirements. By addressing these readability issues and adopting a more user-friendly approach, legal professionals can bridge this gap, fostering better understanding, trust, and cooperation with their clients and the broader public.

Problem no3: Disconnection

Many people feel disconnected from legal documents, viewing them as exclusively for lawyers. When legal documents are hard to read, it leads to confusion and frustration. This perception reinforces the notion that legal documents are exclusively for lawyers, widening the gap between legal professionals and who they serve.

When clients do not fully understand the documents are more likely to misinterpret instructions or overlook crucial details. This can lead to poor decision-making, mistakes during implementation and even non-compliance with legal requirements. This means possible contractual or legal breaches, penalties, and additional legal complications, which could have been avoided with clearer communication. 

Additionally, complex legal documents can leave clients vulnerable to making uninformed decisions. This vulnerability can expose them to legal risks and unintended consequences. This can ultimately backfire on the legal professionals who drafted the documents. As such, it can further damage the image of the legal profession and even erode the client-lawyer relationship, creating less trust for clients and lost business for lawyers.

Problem no4: Demotivation

This gap between lawyers and the general public creates significant problems, not just for people but for legal professionals as well. Just think of the long list of issues we have to overcome in the profession... Being bogged down with low-value tasks instead of engaging in strategic work that clients would value more. Working alone most of the time on repetitive tasks in a very high pressured environment, instead of collaborating with stakeholders and truly helping clients. Reactively solving urgent issues, rather than proactively empowering businesses to thrive. As a result, lawyers often feel demotivated, disengaged, and some even face burnout, while clients remain frustrated. 

It's clear: It's time to address these issues head-on.Unfortunately, no tech tool alone can bridge this gap. What we need is a human-centered approach to reshape the way we practice law today. And one of the most impactful ways to achieve this is by rethinking how we draft, present, and deliver legal information, documents, and policies. 

The key to solving these issues lies in legal design and visualization, a methodology that converts complex and dense legal text into a more comprehensible and digestible format. Legal design and visualization can significantly improve engagement, comprehension, without losing legal accuracy. Let's discuss the 'how' in very practical terms!

2. Practical Techniques To Use Effective Legal Design and Visualization

Legal design visualization is not just about making documents look pretty. It involves practical techniques that enhance usability, clarity, and engagement.  

Here are three hands-on techniques you can use to enhance your legal documents:

Technique no1: Reader-Friendly Layouts

Creating a better layouts is essential for improving the navigation and usability of legal documents. This involves structuring content logically and organizing information in a way that makes it easy for readers to find specific details. 


  • Enhances information retrieval.
  • Reduces confusion and errors.
  • Increases engagement and comprehension.

How to Implement:

  • Reorganize information into a logical structure.
  • Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to break up text.
  • Ensure that the layout is clean and easy to follow.


Technique no2: Optimize Language for Clarity and Readability

Clear and readable language is crucial for making legal documents accessible to a broader audience. Using plain language reduces the risk of misunderstandings and improves overall comprehension.


  • Reduces conflicts and legal disputes.
  • Improves engagement and transparency.
  • Builds trust with the audience.

How to Implement:

  • Use a less formal tone and more accessible words.
  • Validate the readability score against the primary audience.
  • Avoid jargon and technical terms whenever possible.


Let's imagine we want to draft a preamble to a Technology License Agreement:

In Legalese: "In this section, a thorough exposition is presented concerning the specified technology, emphasizing its functionalities, licensing provisions, and strategic significance within the framework of our collaborative endeavors. Through delineating its attributes and advantages, our intention is to establish a precise comprehension of how this technology will underpin our mutual goals and bolster the achievement of our partnership."

This text presents several issues:

  • Passive voice: The use of passive voice can obscure the subject and make sentences less direct.
  • Long sentences: Lengthy sentences can complicate understanding and make the text harder to follow.
  • Unnecessarily complex words: The text uses words that are unnecessarily complex and could be replaced with simpler, more accessible alternatives.
  • Redundancy: Unnecessary repetition of words, phrases, or information that does not add value or clarity to the text.

In a clear and optimized language: "This section provides a comprehensive overview of the targeted technology, highlighting its capabilities, licensing terms, and strategic importance within the context of our collaborative efforts. By outlining its features and benefits, we aim to establish a clear understanding of how this technology will support our shared objectives and contribute to the success of our partnership."

This redesigned text presents several advantages:

  • Clarity: It clearly explains the content without unnecessary complexity.

  • Conciseness: It uses shorter sentences to enhance readability and understanding.

  • Active voice: It employs active voice, making the subject of each sentence clear and direct.

  • Accessibility: It uses familiar and straightforward language, making it easier for readers to grasp the content quickly.

Technique no3: Use Visuals for Important Concepts and Processes

Visual aids can significantly enhance the memorability and cognitive processing of legal information. By combining visuals with text, you can make your documents clearer and more engaging.


  • Increases engagement and understanding.
  • Makes information more accessible and memorable.
  • Fosters better comprehension and retention.

How to Implement:

  • Use diagrams, flowcharts, and infographics to illustrate complex concepts.
  • Incorporate visual summaries for key points.
  • Ensure that visuals are relevant and enhance the overall message.


The solution is to create reader-friendly documents that are easy to engage with and inform effectively. Optimizing the language to improve comprehension and readability can bridge this gap. Incorporating visuals for important legal concepts and processes can enhance understanding and reduce errors. Now we need to discuss the tools to use. 

3. Tools and Practical Tips for Implementation

You don't need advanced design skills or expensive software to implement legal visualization techniques. There are no magical tech tools that will do the trick. This is both good news and bad news. Good news because this means you already have the tools you need. Bad news because you need to invest a bit of your time to learn how to use them better.

So here are some practical tools and tips to help you get started when it comes to implementing legal design and visualization:

Tools You Can Use;

  1. Microsoft Word: There is no doubt that Microsoft Word is lawyer's best friend. Anyone can use Word to structure legal documents in a more logical way for readers, optimize language, check readability scores, and even create visual elements. There is so much that we can do within Word, including using the extensive library of icons. Icons and can break up text, highlight important points, and make documents more visually appealing. However, when it comes to creating visuals, it is important to know that Word was not designed for that purpose. And for that reason the creation of visuals inside Word, while possible, can be extremely time consuming and frustrating. When it comes to visuals, I recommend using Word in combination with PowerPoint.

  2. PowerPoint: Though PowerPoint is widely known for creating presentations, it can also be a powerful tool for designing diagrams, flowcharts, and other visual elements to enhance your legal documents. PowerPoint offers a variety of shapes, lines, and connectors that make it easy to create diagrams and flowcharts. These can be used to visualize complex legal processes and concepts, making them easier to understand. The greatest advantage of PowerPoint is that you can select the visual in PowerPoint, right-click, and choose “Copy.” Then, open your Word document, right-click where you want to insert the visual, and choose “Paste.” And there you go! You've got a great visual in Word. It works like a charm!

  3. Canva: A user-friendly design tool that offers templates and graphic design features. Canva can be used to create professional-looking visuals without the need for extensive design experience. It is is an excellent tool for legal design and visualization for several reasons. First the user-friendly interface allows anyone, including legal professionals, who may not have design experience, to create visually appealing documents easily. Second, it's cost-effective. The free plan offers great options and features, and Canva's affordable plans help unlock more advanced features and resources that can further enhance legal design projects. Third, it's collaborative in real-time, making it suitable to work together on projects, do simultaneous edits and share feedback. 

Now some practical tips for implementation:

  • Start Simple: Begin with basic changes, such as reorganizing content more logically for readers and optimizing language. Use readability tools to ensure that your language is accessible to your target audience.

  • Leverage Visual Templates: Use pre-designed templates available in Word, PowerPoint, and Canva to save time and ensure consistency. It helps speed up the entire process. Be sure the templates are adapted to your needs and 100% editable.

  • Get Feedback: Test your documents with actual users, and gather feedback to make improvements. If you are not comfortable asking real users, then ask peers or colleagues first. It will help you hone the skills and get comfortable with the entire feedback process. With practice on both the legal design and the feedback process, you will then become more confident to seek the feedback from real users. 

By implementing these techniques and using the available tools, you can transform your legal documents into engaging, comprehensible, and reader-friendly materials. You can easily start today by focusing on using reader-friendly layouts, optimizing language, and adding visual aids. These practical techniques will make legal documents more accessible, more engaging and more memorable. And your clients will thank you for it! 

If you're looking to dive deeper into legal visualization, get practical guidance, hands-on experience, and personalized support, then join our Visual Lawyer BootcampThis program offers 5 core training modules, live sessions, and feedback to help you master legal design and visualization techniques. You'll also gain access to a library of plug-and-play templates and execution guides to accelerate your learning and implementation.

Here's What You'll Learn:

  1. Foundational Legal Visualization Strategies.
  2. Language Optimization Strategies.
  3. Visual Impact Strategies.
  4. Document navigation Strategies.
  5. Process Mapping and Service Design Strategies. 

You'll get Bonus Resources to implement faster and better:

  • 60+ visual templates in Word, PowerPoint, and Canva.
  • 6 Ready-to-Use Templates in Word, PowerPoint & Canva.
  • 6 Execution guides with step-by-step processes.
  • 1 Portfolio template to showcase your skills.
  • Tech toolkit with tutorials and checklists.

Whether you're a legal professional or someone who's interested in contributing to the accessibility of legal information, legal design and visualization is a great skill to acquire. If you're serious about enhancing legal documents and the overall legal service delivery with visuals, take our hands-on training with our Visual Lawyer Bootcamp or get your redesigns done for you by The Legal Designers.