The Leducate Consent Project
Leducate is an educational charity that aims to promote a comprehensive understanding of everyday legal rights among secondary school-aged students in England and Wales. Leducate believes that empowering young people with knowledge of their rights and responsibilities in everyday situations can change their future; it can divert some away from a path of debt, prison or social services dependency. Understanding not just what the rules are, but why they exist, can help to limit confrontations with the law.
I came across their work when Ceri Blower, Partnership and Events Officer for Leducate, came along to the final of a Design Sprint I ran with the Bar Council for Justice Week 2020. It was great to hear about the amazing work they do in schools and to see where I might be able to assist.
Ceri and I talked about how design might be able to strengthen the learning materials they use within their teaching. I was really impressed by how Leducate had made their classes so accessible; pitching the content so it was fun and engaging, but not too simplistic. The students are taught in very interactive sessions with lots of interesting examples. Where Leducate felt I could help was in the transformation of the materials they give students to accompany the lessons. This was wholly textual material, created in Word and Leducate felt they wanted to utilise additional methods to bring legal education alive and into secondary schools.
Materials & process
In terms of the raw content material, this was initially carefully curated by Leducate in collaboration with their school partners to ensure that it covered the individual PSHE curriculum requirements of each school. Leducate asked that I work on their Consent and relationships lesson, which was aimed at those students shortly moving onto further education and A-levels.
After I was sent the materials for the lesson I got to work – deciding what could be streamlined, how material could be compiled differently and what messages might be better communicated via pictorial means than the current textual dominance. Particularly important was looking at the activities within the lesson and how they could be brought alive on paper as well as by those teaching. It was crucial for this to be the case as it meant there would be more time for valuable group discussion, if students were not taking too long to grasp what they needed to do.
I drafted out new pages with amended text and sketches of visualisations, before a very valuable meeting with the Leducate team: Adam Kayani (Director), Olivia English (Education Officer), Nicoleen Wong (Design Officer) and Ceri. There they gave me great feedback on what they thought worked, what might need further development and also whether my sketched ideas hit the spot.
I refined my drafts before sending to Adam Doughty, illustrator on this and various other Lawbore/TL;DR projects. He’s the guy who makes my scribbled ideas beautiful. Here’s what he says about what came next:
After being handed the ideas from Emily, I got to work on creating the booklet design. I started out by sketching the layouts and picking out key features from the text.
I created the drawings using a 0.1 fine line pen on my trusted Bristol board paper. To complement the illustrations, I used my ‘Doughty’ hand drawn typeface. I felt the black silhouette figures worked well with the serious nature of the topics featured in the booklet. To finalise the image I used flat digital colour and bold shading. It was an enjoyable and informative project.
Adam and I worked closely to refine the lesson materials, sometimes the visualisation helped us cut down on text and sometimes we needed more room to get across a message visually. What was certainly true was that each design element was included for a learning purpose – not to make the document look snazzier. Engagement is so key when teaching school children, and particularly so, when the topics are complex as they are here.
The simplistic silhouette figures give students confidence that they don’t need to be a natural artist...
I was keen to include a drawing activity in the lesson and thankfully Leducate were too! Our last page gives room for students to develop their own comic strip to show controlling and coercive behaviour. The simplistic silhouette figures Adam mentions above go a long way to giving students confidence that they don’t need to be a natural artist to get across a clear message in a visual way.
It was fantastic to be trusted by Leducate to re-envisage their materials and we thank them for their enthusiasm and support.
Use of illustrations like these are vital in making often complex legal issues as accessible to the widest array of students as possible.
Leducate Team on the final product