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Contract Design and Simplification

Clearer and simpler contracts can improve your business relationships, reduce risks, and deliver outcomes more efficiently. 

Our Ten Pitfalls To Avoid in Contracting report reveals that almost 90% of business people find contracts ‘hard or impossible’ to understand.

This may not be a problem if you think that the purpose of a contract is just to provide legal protection and remedies in the event of a dispute, or that contracts, once signed, are best left in the drawer.   

We want to challenge the ongoing perception that contracts are purely ‘legal’ documents. Contracts are core business-critical economic instruments with a range of diverse purposes.

How we can help

Contract design and simplification

Our approach to contract simplification looks at ‘what a contract says’ and ‘how it says it’ to improve both the content and its presentation.

To support you in your simplification journey, we partner with world-class experts in data analytics, information design, plain language, and user research.

Take just a few steps in a pilot project or embark on the whole journey – the benefits of simpler, well-designed contracts are clear: they reduce negotiation times, minimize disputes, and boost your brand.

The contract design and simplification journey


Contract terms analysis: what prevents you from closing deals faster? Our software gives you insights on what you agreed in the past and how frequently you were able to secure your preferred position.


Templates and playbooks: On the basis of the contract terms analysis, we can help you develop a template, clause library or playbook with more balanced contractual positions that get you to yes faster.


Information architecture: we organize topics, sections, and clauses so that key information is easy to search, find, and act upon. We determine the optimal structure based on your business goals, best practice, and user research.


Language simplification: we streamline the contract by eliminating unnecessary language and craft the remaining, legalistic language into more standard English.


Document design and UX: once the content is right, we work on presenting it in a way that is aligned with your brand and supports your relational goals. Either for paper, web or mobile, we develop easy-to-read layouts and engaging user experiences. 


Contract visualization: we create visuals to further open up the meaning of the most complex clauses or help navigate the document.


User testing: we help you set metrics for success and test the new designs with users.



Visual Contracting Journey at Shell  

Watch the video to find out how Shell rethought their General Terms for Marine Lubricants, and why they have been recognized as innovators of the commercial process.

Design: Rob Waller.

Coffin Mew Terms of Business

What if your law firm’s brand promise is to always communicate clearly and plainly with clients... but your terms look like everyone’s else?

Coffin Mew’s terms look different from the norm at first glance. This helps to communicate their values and get client relationships off to a positive start.

Design: Stefania Passera.

Co-designing Indonesian government contracts for the digital age 

A collaborative UK-Indonesia project, supported by World Commerce & Contracting and delivered virtually due to COVID-19, is showing how human-centred design and multidisciplinary approaches can help make government procurement simpler, clearer, faster, more accessible and inclusive.

Read more

Contract Design Pattern Library 

Explore more examples in our collection of contract design patterns – effective, repeatable solutions to commonly occurring usability and understandability problems in contracts.


Let’s plan a project!

To learn more and get a quote please contact us. The price will depend on the size, number and complexity of your documents. 


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Frequently asked questions

Some lawyers are enthusiastic and have already implemented images in their contracts. Others worry about the newness of the idea, the enforceability of the non-conventional contracts, and the chance of misinterpretation, for example.

We understand the concern that images may be misleading and hard to interpret – but the same is true for conventional text. We work with expert information designers so all visuals are well thought-out and well prepared. Moreover, the images are not intended to be used as stand-alone images: they are intended to complement text.

When the text and images are clear and say what the parties intend them to say, a solid foundation exists for the contract to be read, understood, and acted upon and for the parties to reach their business objectives. We will have reached one of our main goals: to prevent disputes from arising.

A former Chief Justice of Australia, Robert French, stated that as long as the meaning of the images in contracts is clear, then, of course, they are binding. Stanford University Professor Jay Mitchell’s detailed analysis suggests that “contract and evidence law foundations for use of visuals in contracts are firmer than one might expect.”

For those who seek “tested” precedent, court cases teach us that courts are indeed able to handle and interpret images and symbols, even if these are novel or unfamiliar – see for example, these case around the interpretation of emojis and emoticons or illustrations or worked examples.


The Rise of the Contract Designer 

Contracts should be usable and useful to the people in charge of implementing them. They can offer a competitive advantage in terms of transparency and trustworthiness. Clear easy to read contracts allow a deal to close faster. 

Find out more

More webinars 

Visual Contracts... Worth a Look? Contract Redesign. How to make contracts simpler and ready for digitalization