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Design for Democracy: Ballot and Election Design Hardcover – October 22, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0226470467 ISBN-10: 0226470466
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Editorial Reviews


"An elegant examination of how to improve the utility of our nation's varied—and, in some cases, shockingly bad—voter materials. . . . A refreshing use of aesthetics for a common good, and a probable classic for the bookshelves of the visually inclined."
(Rolf Ebeling Newsweek 2007-11-09)

"Lausen argues in Design for Democracy that election redesign is about ensuring that the full range of printed and visual materials with which citizens interact communicates effectively. The project is motivated by a belief that increased efficiency and transparency will improve confidence levels and increase trust between citizens and their government, thus invigorating democracy."
(Ryan Bigge Toronto Star 2007-10-07)

"An invaluable guide for voter advocates."
(Bill Breen Fast Company 2007-11-08)

"If graphic designer Marcia Lausen had started revamping ballots just a few years earlier, George W. Bush might not be our President. . . . Any town, city or state can refer to Design for Democracy for sound advice on how to ensure no chad is left behind."
(Lauren Weinberg Time Out Chicago 2007-12-27)

"The thinky gift book for a political wonk."
(Philadelphia Inquirer 2007-12-16)

“A notable and noble achievement, applying the craft of graphic design in the service of the public interest.”

(Edward Tufte, author of Beautiful Evidence)

“Design is all too often concerned with an audience of consumers, but Design for Democracy fully recognizes its audience as citizens. A thoughtful demonstration of how the practice of design can productively engage the public, this book is urgently necessary.”

(Geoff Kaplan, designer, General Working Group)

"Good information design is rooted in sticking to simple rules. Obvious though many of these rules may seem, the U.S. electoral debacle of 2000 illustrates the peril of ignoring them, while Lausen's book shows how effective they can be."
(Alice Rawsthorn International Herald Tribune)

"The content of this book is incredibly useful, accessible, and understandable. Lausen does a beautiful job of dissecting the designs of ballots, voter information pamphlets, signs and posters, brochures, and so on for those of us who are not trained designers, explaining why the designs are bad and showing improved designs with evidence that they work. This is utilitarian, industrial design at its best."
(Dana E. Chisnell Technical Communication)

"This project is an excellent example of the way designers are able to take urgent problems and help transform them into objects that people can use in their everyday lives, helping to make complex information more understandable and visualizing new thinking that can have an enormous impact on the world."
(Zoe Ryan Chicago Tribune)

About the Author

Marcia Lausen, a founding member of Design for Democracy, is professor graphic design at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a principal at Studio/lab, a multidisciplinary design consulting firm.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (October 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226470466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226470467
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rahul P. Kamath on December 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In recent years, the United States, this supposed bastion of democracy, has been failing in one of the most fundamental aspects of a functioning democratic system: making ballots and election materials that can be easily read, understood, and which ensure that the desires of the voting populace are committed in the way they intend, and count the way they should. This excellent design book showcases the way that information relating to voting should be made so that all confusion is eliminated in the voting booth, and credibility can be restored to the voting process in this country. Given the way this country has been going lately, I hope it happens sooner rather than later. This book is a great first step.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Bederson on November 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The title says it all. This book is clear, full of both specific case studies and design examples, as well as general principles and guidelines to apply these lessons to your own situation. If you are involved in an election, please buy this book.
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By Ed Epping on August 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Professor Lausen gives us all a lesson in better understanding that how things appear can change the outcome of important events. Visual dynamics are more than decoration and luxury, they are essential mechanisms affecting the way we think and act. We have known that for some time, but her application to the voting process drives the significance home in crucial ways we can not ignore. Get this book. Give this book. Give it to your Selectman, Congressman, Senator, Mayor, Governor.
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