REFERENDUM COMMISSION – Clarity, commissioned
Clear and accurate info for the whole country
For three referendums, we helped the Referendum Commission produce a short guidebook providing clear and accurate information on the proposed constitutional changes, which was delivered to every household in the country.
Alongside the Murray Corporate Affairs team we designed the guides for the referendums on termination of pregnancy, on blasphemy, and on the regulation of divorce. The design and production of the guides presented many challenges.
The Commission is required to ensure that its texts clearly and accurately explain complex legal issues, and do so in a conspicuously neutral way. They are typically produced in a very short timeframe, and have to accommodate legal advice, translation, and are subject to intense public scrutiny. Speed, accuracy and reliability are as vital to the process as design and production expertise.
Neutral, not boring
Our designs placed clarity at an absolute premium, presenting the information in a neutral tone and with a clean, confident, and easy-to-follow layout. A key page in each guidebook is a layout that highlights and clarifies the specific text changes proposed, with each referendum requiring a very different visual solution. Given the bilingual nature of the booklets, the design also had to work with both languages.
To ensure the utmost accuracy, our process involved a final proof-reading and editing session, attended by senior contributors from the commission, the agency, translators, and the commissioner, working directly alongside the design and production team, to produce the final, signed off document.
The Referendum Commission also produced a range of alternative versions, to ensure the information is accessible to as many people as possible. In addition to the main guidebook we produced, in conjunction with the National Council for the Blind, a large print version. For those with an intellectual difficulty, we worked with Down Syndrome Ireland to create a version that combined a simplified text with clear visuals.
For the deaf and hard of hearing, we worked with the Irish Deaf Society to produce a video version of the text presented using Irish Sign Language and subtitles.