Manzoli: Vignelli and legal design

Serena Manzoli, JD, of Wildcat has posted Law and Vignelli, first analogy.

Here are excerpts from the post:

Great designer Massimo Vignelli passed away a couple of weeks ago. An expected outburst of cleverly written obituaries has followed. They provided food for thought for a couple of posts […] on links between law and design. This is the first. […]

First analogy

Everyone cited the well known map of the NY subway, for which Vignelli was equally venerated and criticized. […] The short story is that the map designed by Vignelli was iconic, beautiful and minimal. […]

This made me think about law and legal systems. Laws can never function separately from the society on which they are imposed. They work well if they make life simpler; they are not to be enacted if society goes on perfectly well without them. This is true also of legal architecture. Codes worked well for some time at least in XIX century continental Europe. They wouldn’t work in English Common law system, as they are clearly outdated to cope with XXI century continental Europe as well. […]

Second analogy

[…] maps are simplifications that help us make sense of the reality, although we’re always aware they are simplifications (like we know that a stylized design is not the real thing). Law is simplification as well, in the measure it is abstraction. We know that two cases differ in details but we feel should be treated equally, or we feel they should not. The measure of abstraction should always keep society and culture in consideration. Never too abstract, never too detailed. […]

Third analogy

[…] People use design, as they use laws, which are design tools for society. People come first, design and coherence come second. This makes me think of the Italian system […], where some years ago the Courts denied the validity of the lease back agreement, a totally new figure for our legal system, only because it didn’t respect the internal coherence of the Civil Code (drafted, hey, in 1942)- where, to have a valid agreement, you must always have a cause (consideration), and that cause must be pre-determined by the legislator.

But what if people already entered lease back agreements? How could you deny the reality of that? […]

Law is a product for the users. The users should always come first.

For more details, please see the complete post.

HT Serena Manzoli

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