Forgot your username or password?
Ballots, voter information and polling place materials can be made clearer,
more effective, and easier for citizens to use with attention to a few design
recommendations. These tips are based on design practice and usability testing with
election materials. The election experience will be improved whether they
are implemented one at a time or all at once.
AIGA Design for
Democracy’s top 10 election design guidelines are derived from
the U.S. Election Assistance Commission report Effective
Designs for the Administration of Federal Elections. Complete guidelines, editable
samples, and information on connecting with professional designers is at
designfordemocracy.org. State or local
laws that prescribe font sizes, typefaces or use of capital letters may prevent some elections officials from fully implementing these guidelines. Design for Democracy can support elections
officials in requesting law changes that would enable full implementation.
Lowercase letters are more legible than ALL CAPITAL LETTERS
because they are easier to recognize.
Left-aligned type is more legible than centered type, which
forces the eye to stop reading in order to find the start of the
“Fine print” is hard to read and may intimidate or alienate
voters. Use minimum type sizes: 12-point for optical scan; 25-point
for touchscreens. (Following this principle for optical scan
ballots may impact printing costs but will be a worthwhile
investment in election accuracy.)
Avoid introducing new fonts, which require the eye to stop
reading and adjust. Sans-serif fonts with clean strokes (Arial, Helvetica, Univers, Verdana) are recommended for screen and for the quantity
and variation of text found on paper ballots. For dual-language
materials, use bold text for the primary language, regular text for
the secondary language.
For optical-scan ballots, offer comprehensive instructions and
page numbering. For touchscreen ballots, offer language and mode
options, continuous access to instructions, consistent and flexible
navigation and clear feedback about selections. Post notable
wayfinding and instructional materials in and around the polling
State instructions and options as simply as possible. Summarize
referenda in simple language alongside required formats. Do not
include more than two languages on any one material.
Visual instructions help low-literacy and general-population
voters. Photo images, which are difficult to shoot and reproduce
well, are not recommended. Illustrations must be accurate in their
details to avoid misleading voters.
Avoid political party icons. Icons that call attention to key
information and support navigation are recommended in limited
Use color and shading consistently: on optical scan ballots, to
differentiate instructions from contents and contests from each
other; and on touchscreen ballots, to support navigation, call
special attention and provide user feedback. Color cannot be relied
on as the only way to communicate important information.
Page and screen layout and text sizes should support information
hierarchy. For instance, the ballot title should be more prominent
than any one contest, a contest header should be more prominent
than its candidates' names and a candidate's name should be bolder
than his/her party affiliation. Candidates' names and options
should be presented with equal importance.
Note: Design for Democracy, a strategic initiative of AIGA, the professional association for design, has worked on election
design reform since 2000 and developed both the full EAC report and this list of guidelines. Guidelines are based on best
practices in communication design, consultation with election officials nationwide, and extensive voter testing.
From pitch to launch, what transpires between designer and client is often unseen and little-talked about, the details known only to a privileged few. But what if we could have a seat at the table? Be flies on the walls in the conference rooms of design presentations between designer and client? With “One + One,” we can!
Section: Why Design -
branding, Conference , business
Curious about what goes on in-house at ESPN, Design Within Reach and LEGO®? Creative leaders from these teams came together to discuss their work and offer a glimpse of their day-to-day operations for an in-house event organized by AIGA Connecticut and The Creative Group.
Section: Tools and Resources -
in-house design, in-house issues, professional development, INitiative, chapters, studio management
When Laura Berglund noticed that students often fell victim to crimes simply because they lacked information, she decided to do something about it. Her solution, “Anchor: A Campaign Against Crime on College Campuses,” leaves no platform behind—from iPhone apps to street art.
Section: Why Design -
Design for Good, social responsibility, student work
OpenIDEO.com is a web-based platform for innovation where creative
thinkers worldwide can design better, together.
Section: Why Design -
metrics of effectiveness, problem solving, Making the Case
25 Films by Akira Kurosawa
Rodrigo Corral Design
External Resources (cont.)
New Directors New Films
The Museum of Modern Art
Boralex 2008 Annual Report