Visual contracts: a modern approach to legal agreements

Contracts 101
January 29, 2024
6
min
Visual contracts seek to make legal agreements more accessible. But what exactly are they, and how does this modern approach to contracting align with your wider business objectives? Find out in this guide.

What is a visual contract?

A visual contract is a legally binding agreement that keeps accessibility and user-friendly design front of mind.

Visual contracts contain the same information as ordinary contracts but choose to display it in a more engaging and digestible way. This could involve replacing jargon with diagrams or using colors and fonts to highlight key terms, for example. 

Visual contracts are also an example of legal design thinking in practice. Legal design involves applying human-centred design principles to the legal sphere to make systems, documents and services more user-friendly.

By redesigning traditional contracts to be visually engaging, lawyers can improve the experience counterparties have when agreeing contracts, and build trust in the process.

“Legal design puts the needs of citizens, consumers, and businesses before those of lawyers” - Stefania Passera, Founder, Passera Design

Visual contracts vs traditional contracts: what's the difference?

The biggest difference between visual contracts and traditional contracts is the way they display information. Traditional contracts tend to bury important information in lengthy clauses with lots of jargon.

By contrast, visual contracts seek to bring important details to the forefront of the contract, either by highlighting, condensing or illustrating them.

Visual contracts are a modern take on legal agreements. They recognize that contracts are no longer reserved for lawyers' eyes only. Instead, visual contracts appeal the new end users of contracts: commercial teams, consumers and those without legal expertise.

What can a visual contract include?

A visual contract incorporates a wide range of media, formats and elements, allowing businesses to choose exactly how playful they wish to be with their legal agreements.

  • Clear heading hierarchies
  • Diagrams
  • Illustrations
  • Font combinations
  • Colours
  • Tables
  • Branding
  • Flowcharts  

Wondering what this looks like in practice? Our privacy policy is a great example of a visual elements being used to make complex information more digestible.

What are the benefits of visual contracts?

1. Increased trust

Burying important contract terms can make it seem like businesses have something to hide, and that can be unsettling to potential customers. In some cases, it will even be viewed as untrustworthy.

That's why it's important to be transparent in your contracts. Make the important stuff easy to find and understand. Give them the information they care about without making them work for it.

This is a great way to build trust with a potential client, and this trust goes a long way during sales and negotiation processes.

if the business users are bamboozled by dense jargon and complexity, the contract is failing in its primary duty - Margaret Hagan, Director, The Legal Design Lab

2. Improved counterparty experience

Keeping your counterparties happy is key, especially when you're convincing them to do business with you or join your team.

A well-designed contract does just that. It improves the experience your counterparties have when reading, reviewing and negotiating terms, setting the tone for the relationship.

"As citizens, consumers and professionals, people simply don’t have the time to engage" - Stefania Passera, Founder, Passera Design

3. Reduced negotiation time

Visual contracts can also benefit teams by reducing the time spent negotiating contracts. This is because visual contracts explain and illustrate complex terms clearly, making them easier to understand.

This then reduces the scope for unnecessary questions and friction since there's less confusion and conflict around what the terms mean and how they can be construed.

"The difficulty with contracts is the technical detail buried in them, which often induces lengthy negotiations" - Marie Potel-Saville, CEO, Amurabi

Should your legal team be creating visual contracts in 2024?

All businesses should consider how they can make their contracts more visually engaging. This doesn't necessarily mean contracts need to be covered in bright illustrations and funky font. In many cases, it actually means the opposite.

Visual contracts prioritize readability and make display information in a digestible format. This could be as simple as using clearer language, making formatting tweaks, or adding a table to a contract to summarize key terms and deliverables.

These are all simple steps your legal team can take to make contracts more user-friendly, and they can be made even easier with Juro's rich-text contract editor.

Create visual contracts in Juro

Juro's contract editor offers all of the features you need to customize visual contracts and deliver a great counterparty experience.

Best of all, Juro enables legal and business teams to create, execute and manage contracts 10x faster than traditional tools, meaning visual contracts have never been easier to create and share.

To see Juro's contract editor in action, fill in the form below to book a personalized demo.

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