Visualising Tenants’ Rights


by Michael Doherty, Chelsea Cully.

From a series of visualisation projects that aim to communicate legal obligations and community information in accessible ways.

The direct inspiration for this project was the work of the Center for Urban Pedagogy, New York, and their series of visualisation projects that aim to communicate legal obligations and community information in accessible ways.

The project

I was able to work with an undergraduate graphic design student, Chelsea Cully, through an undergraduate research intern scheme at the University of Central Lancashire. Over 10 weeks in the summer of 2017 we researched, developed and produced this A4 booklet / fold out poster. We consulted with our law clinic and University accommodation service to discover the most common problems (e.g. repair, and landlords not respecting privacy) and the most serious obligations (e.g. on fire safety standards) for students as tenants in houses of multiple occupation.


Our goal was to accurately present the relevant legal rights and obligations in an engaging way. Chelsea worked on making both the accommodation, and the characters living there, representative of the experience of students renting in the private sector in Preston. The booklet is distributed to UCLan students through the Accommodation Service.

Materials and Process

Chelsea’s training to this point was very much in commercial graphic design (advertisements and branding) and she had no experience in communicating social messages or information design. Michael had never worked with a graphic designer. It was a learning curve for both of them.

Chelsea started by hand sketching the sort of accommodation we wanted to represent and adding them to mood boards along with colours and other motifs. Together they agreed the structure and graphical style. Chelsea then created drafts of the individual rooms and panels on Adobe Illustrator. They consulted with the Accommodation Service, refined it, and worked towards the final version.

How to use

Print the page in two-sided colour at at least landscape A4 size - preferably larger. The two pages are intended to be different sides of the same sheet. Once printed you need to fold it correctly, like so:

Holding page two (the full page) face up, fold together vertically down the middle. Then with the Moving In Day section at the top, fold again horizontally in half. Finally with the Scope section on top, fold again vertically in half, leaving the Renting A Property title page visible.

The leaflet will then unfold showing the pages in the correct order, each one double the size of what came before.



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