“Contracts are fun!” said no one ever.
I recently attended the Comic Book Contract Challenge at the Legal Creatives Academy, where lawyers and legal professionals from different countries used the words “contracts” and “fun” in the same sentence many times.
The challenge consisted of using legal design and visualization to create a comic book contract, a task that helped academy members to increase contract understandability, engagement, and satisfaction.
So, what exactly can you redesign? As it turns out, the answer is “almost everything.”
Here are some inspiring examples.
Allana Garbelini and Marina Paraboni redesigned the contract for the provision of legal services by considering (1) a balance between the seriousness of the legal relationship and innovation, (2) the informality of language and other symbols that characterize comic books, and (3) elements of legal validity.
Initially, they prototyped and built a story for the contract in Miro. Then, they designed the comics using Canva based on their research into language, lettering, colors, balloons, and symbols. Lastly, to create an interactive contract, they automated the contract in Bubble.io, a no-code platform.
Melissa Saucedo’s project was inspired by fashion influencer marketing. Companies in the fashion field hire young people to advertise their products and services through social media, but, sometimes, they don’t even sign a contract — if they do sign, the contracts are often long and complicated. She explained that “comic book contracts would fit perfectly for this type of contract. They would be an alternative to hire young people in a fun and engaging way. The company can insert their corporate culture into those contracts, giving the user a nice vibe since the beginning of the labor relationship.”
Dorra Harrar, founder of Legal D, and Armelle Lemoine-Doudet, founder of Just Design, designed a remote work contract. They explained how COVID-19 has changed our lives, both personally and professionally.
As a result, remote work has quickly become widespread; such work, however, can require the remote worker’s signature on the remote work agreement with their employer or organization. This contract defines their responsibilities and commitments, listing several obligations imposed on the employee.
Speaking on the comic contract, Dorra explained, “We have chosen to work on this type of contract because of its importance in the current circumstances and especially because of its complexity since it is new for the employee who is not always aware of his rights and obligations.”
Armelle further described the project: “Our selection of articles was oriented towards the necessary conditions for teleworking in terms of hygiene and safety of the employee’s premises. It is important for the employee to be aware of these conditions.”
Marty Finestone of Legal Adjacency and Isabel Venegas redesigned the photo release form. They set out to create an accessible and attractive solution for the safe organization of either online or face-to-face company events. The aim is to provide an alternative to a traditional photo release form for obtaining consent to record images, moving footage, audio, comments, and other personal data to be stored and used.
For context, an international footprint logistic company known as Espanada Hyper-Mega-Global-Net Inc., which has offices in Spain and Canada, needs to organize its annual company event taking place in Barcelona. The aim is to break the ice between the employees, acknowledge the previous years’ accomplishments, and set goals for the following years.
To ensure the event will be a complete success, increase the participation rate, and garner comprehensive media coverage, Espanada needs to collect its employees’ consent before they attend the event, especially those who plan to bring their underage children along.
In this project, Espanada doesn’t want to go the traditional route with its release form, since it had always been a hassle in the past to get employees to sign such documents. They wanted something engaging, innovative, and fun that was meant for attendees from Canada and Spain.
Anthony Novaes, Cecilia Ferrari, Fernanda Borges, and Vanesa López Mendez redesigned a family life insurance contract, including coverage for death, medical expenses, and funeral assistance, as well as COVID-19 coverage.
Most insurance contracts are hard to read and understand. In fact, they started out with a contract that had 22,965 words, routinely sending the reader to review various attachments.
The design process involved five steps: understanding the challenge’s situation and stakeholders, designing the empathy map and personas, prototyping solutions, testing with users, and processing the feedback to edit and vet the final prototype.
Over the course of this journey, they used the following tools: a Miro board, social media, Pixton, Powtoon, and Canva. The goal was to create a comic contract that was self-sufficient, understandable, easy to read, and filled with plain language. Ultimately, 75% of the users found the prototype friendly, easy to read, and understandable.
Here is a different prototype of the same life insurance policy, made by Cecilia Ferrari. This is a prototype of a life insurance and funeral expenses contract.
First, she used storytelling to empathize with what families go through when deciding to choose an insurance policy. Then she used visualization to achieve further clarity.
The main objective is to empower and equalize the parties through the use of storytelling, visualization, and plain language!
It turns out that insurance contracts are ripe for innovation. Vanesa López designed a different prototype of the same life insurance policy.
The prototype used a video format to create a comic book contract for insurance. The main idea was to show the process of the contract as if it was something funny, normalizing the decision to get family life insurance.
She decided to emphasize the expressions that show the different emotions during the process — even the scenes and colors were chosen for that purpose.
She wanted the discussion about having family life insurance to be developed in a relaxing and cozy environment, with the intention of giving an atmosphere of security. She set out to provide visual exposition from the insurance’s point of view, where the client asks about the terms and the comic book contract is opened up to reveal them.
From a user’s point of view, she considered it essential to visualize the main clauses, which are most interesting for the consumer. She reduced them to three:
- What must I do to benefit from the contract?
- What are the reasons the insurance may decline to help me?
- What can I do if I need help?
She aimed to explain the emotionally tougher coverages, such as death compensations and funeral expenses, and to draw them out for the users to understand them better.
These are the initial steps! Can they be improved and optimized? Yes, absolutely. But even just these initial steps demonstrate that we can redesign contracts to increase understandability, engagement, and satisfaction. That is why we will continue seeing the words “contracts” and “fun” in the same sentence.
Olga V. Mack is the CEO of Parley Pro, a next-generation contract management company that has pioneered online negotiation technology. Olga embraces legal innovation and had dedicated her career to improving and shaping the future of law. She is convinced that the legal profession will emerge even stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive than before by embracing technology. Olga is also an award-winning general counsel, operations professional, startup advisor, public speaker, adjunct professor, and entrepreneur. She founded the Women Serve on Boards movement that advocates for women to participate on corporate boards of Fortune 500 companies. She authored Get on Board: Earning Your Ticket to a Corporate Board Seat and Fundamentals of Smart Contract Security. You can follow Olga on Twitter @olgavmack.