US constitution redesigned to "shine a light" on American democracy

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For The People by ThoughtMatter

ThoughtMatter redesigns US constitution to "shine a light" on American democracy

Branding agency ThoughtMatter has given the US constitution a colourful makeover to make it easier to read and distribute, in response to the current political climate.

The project, called For The People: Redesigning the Constitution, turns the 230-year-old document into a booklet that can be sent out to schools and libraries. Typography, imagery and layout are all designed to aid its readability.

For The People by ThoughtMatter

"By redesigning how the constitution looks and is organised, we aim to make this historic document more aesthetically pleasing, exciting to leaf through and easy to read," said ThoughtMatter.

"Our design concept and system works to deliver the constitution's content in a more interesting and digestible way than typical versions."

For The People by ThoughtMatter

The team embarked on the redesign in the hope to increase awareness and understanding of what is contained within the document, and spark conversations about the principles of democracy.

For The People by ThoughtMatter

"We're living through bitterly divisive times, but despite increasingly fractious and polarised partisan fault lines, there is one thing we can all agree on: the constitution isn't fake news," they said, referencing a favourite catchphrase of US president Donald Trump.

"But despite the way politicians toss around the constitution and selectively cite amendments for partisan purposes, the ideas contained in this seminal document remain widely unknown. So we set out to change that."

For The People by ThoughtMatter

The US constitution defines the nation's frame of government. It was first signed by in 1787 and came into force two years later, and has since been amended 27 times to reflect changes in the country.

The original four-page parchment is kept in the National Archives in Washington DC. ThoughtMatter used a transcript of this version from the archives as the basis for its document, ensuring no changes were made to the text.

For The People by ThoughtMatter

The booklet is laid out as a pamphlet with three different-sized sections.

The smallest, outermost section contains the preamble, while the mid-sized, innermost section features the Bill of Rights and Amendments 11 to 27. Sandwiched between the two, the largest section contains the seven articles that form the bulk of the constitution's text.

For The People by ThoughtMatter

Text and imagery is printed in blue soy-based ink on pink paper using a Risograph printer, which passes through a negative to apply an image. Typography is used to highlight key pieces of information, including the constitution's first three words "We the people" across the covers of the book's middle portion.

For The People by ThoughtMatter

ThoughtMatter met its Kickstarter funding target before the campaign ended on 29 July 2017. The team now hopes to distribute 1,000 copies to schools and libraries across the US by 17 September, the date the constitution was signed.

As rewards for backers, who were asked to "help shine a light on American democracy", the agency also created tote bags, buttons, stationary and temporary tattoos with the same branding.