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30 Fabulous Companies of the Year 2023

Visual Contracts – Creating visual contracts that help people make autonomous decisions and build sustainable relationships


A proactive visual contract is a contract that is user friendly (people actually understand them) and which people can use to build sustainable relationships and prevent conflicts with. They are created with a method called 'Legal Design Thinking' that uses UX design, information design, visual thinking, plain legal language and pro-active law. A survey conducted by World Commerce and Contracting reveals that only 1 out of 10 people find contracts 'easy to understand' (Read more). This is largely due to the language and medium that is used and the perception of law that people have ('contracts are a necessary evil instead of something you can use to distinguish yourself with'.) For this reason a movement in Legal Design Thinking, visual contracts and pro-active law are going on in order to change this problem. To drive innovation in the legal field it is invaluable to involve a diverse group of people that bring in new perspectives, ideas, and moreover the user perspective of interacting with the law. Although more and more legal tech is developed and legal design thinking is in the rise, they believe there is still a lot to be done in order to create a real systemic change in order to make the justice system accessible to everyone. Sharing knowledge and creating a mindset and culture shift are one of the key drivers for change. Design thinking and technology can help to pick up the ideas that elicit from new crossover collaborations and make them concrete to implement the change in order to make it sustainable and scalable.

Visual Contracts (VC) is a platform that facilitates lawyers and designers to learn about and apply Legal Design Thinking with the aim of improving access to justice in a more human friendly way. The company strives for an equal and just world. By creating proactive visual contracts they build a catalyst for a more human friendly just system. Its visual contracts and co-creation approach help build confidence in dealing with legal topics and supports in making autonomous decisions. With this the company helps making the legal system accessible to everyone, regardless of background, disability or level of education, so that people are legally empowered and become active citizens; citizens who know their rights and obligations and act pro-actively towards this.

The VC Ecosystem: The Four Pillars

Visual Contracts is a platform and ecosystem of legal innovators, multidisciplinary teams and tools to create proactive visual contracts that are tested with the end-user in order to reach the change they aim for. The platform provides the tools, process and mindset change to create such understandable and proactive visual contracts. The ecosystem is structured by their four pillars that work together. In order to create the systems’ change necessary for the adoption of visual contracts, they need to help legal educators to innovate their curricula, train lawyers and designers and other professionals into a mindset that is necessary to create visual contracts and a community to share knowledge and skills. While the builder helps them scale their impact and accessibility of the services they offer to different target groups outside the corporate world, the studio is there to keep exploring new grounds in Legal Design Thinking, technologies and social justice impact measurement.

VC Academy: At the Visual Contracts Academy you can learn everything about creating proactive visual contracts and legal design thinking, regardless of your skill level. They offer three formats of Legal Design Thinking training: Individual training, Group training and in-house group training. Besides that they offer materials on their platform to get you started with the basics of legal design thinking and creating visual contracts. VC has divided the academy materials into three types: Study, Explore and Use. Under 'STUDY' you can find all sorts of articles and material that you can read or watch, such as case studies, books, articles and videos. Under 'CREATE' you find all sorts of exercises and things to do since Legal Design Thinking and creating visual contracts is all about doing. Last but not least under 'EXPLORE' you can find frameworks and templates that you can use to get started. Additionally, under 'STUDY' the company has created a library that holds all the content so that you can navigate through it in your own order.

VC Builder: Imagine being able to create your own visual contracts without the need of design or coding skills. They offer their services to get started already as an alternative to the builder. For all contract builders, regardless of their size of business, the VC Builder offers a SaaS solution that increases the speed of adoption and implementation of using visual contracts.

VC Community: In order to create a meaningful change in Access to justice and innovating the legal sector still a lot has to be done. The key for this change is to collaborate with all sorts of people from different backgrounds. They need lawyers, designers, developers, business developers, academics, data analysts, consumers, citizens, employees from all backgrounds. VC community is here to help connect and share the knowledge in order to increase the movement of Legal Design Thinking and visual contracts. Legal Design Thinkers join the community to share knowledge and experience in Legal Design Thinking and creating visual contracts and are here to also learn and connect with other like-minded people. They connect with them to generate knowledge and improve the methodologies while they are learning from their co-creation projects.

VC Studio: VC's expert Legal Designers help you in creating custom visual contracts and other Legal Design Thinking projects. They focus on impact measurement and the social impact they make with their designs. The firm offers services to setup and deliver custom Legal Design projects, from personalized trainings to interactive templates of legal documents. Innovation projects focused on mindset shift such as making your department ready for the adoption of legal design and legal tech, or integrating a more customer centric mindset. Developing new offering, products and services (reorganize how you offer your legal services internally or as your core business).

Lieke Beelen | Founder and CEO

"We believe anyone is capable of making good contracts and the law should be accessible to everyone, just as the medium that is used to create these contracts to make them tangible."