In Defense Of

A multimedia platform for public defenders and their clients to share stories and drive action.

The challenge

Black Lives Matter, The New Jim Crow, the bipartisan reform bill–we are in a cultural moment that is acutely aware of how broken our criminal justice system is. In Defense Of is a criminal justice civic action platform that leverages multimedia to illuminate what is broken within our criminal justice system and inspire citizens to take targeted actions that make a difference.

The image showcases a brand identity. On the left, the logo says "IN DEFENSE OF" in bold, black text. The center displays a color palette with black, red, yellow, green, blue, and gray. On the right, Kanit and Cardo fonts are used for typography examples.
An image with three icons and words. From left to right: a red target icon above the word "ISSUES," a red lightning bolt icon above the word "ACTIONS," and a red speech bubble icon above the word "STORIES." All text is in black capital letters.

Issues at the forefront of today's criminal justice reform

As the attorneys, social workers, investigators and other staff representing the vast majority of people processed through the criminal legal system, public defenders know what is going wrong. They are the witnesses, the advocates, the attorneys dedicating to fighting injustice for individuals and for everyone. In order to take their work out of the courtroom and lobby for policy change they need the public to understand the issues. The central column of In Defense Of is a series of issue-specific visual explainers that break down in layman's terms the origins of our broken system and the way forward in fixing it.

A yellow background with black vertical bars revealing a stylized eye shape in the negative space. The words "IN DEFENSE OF" are written in black in the top right corner.

Jailed While Innocent

On any given day, 1/4 of everyone incarcerated in America is jailed pre-trial.

A graphic with a light purple background featuring a repeated silhouette of faces looking right, transitioning from black to light grey. The phrase "IN DEFENSE OF" is in the top right corner in black, bold text.

Justice is Blindfolded

In New York, people accused of crimes are denied access to important information in their case.

The image features a stylized black "P" within intricate abstract lines, set on a beige background. In the upper right corner, the text reads "IN DEFENSE OF" in bold, black capital letters.

Power of Prosecutors

Who are the real decision makers in the criminal justice system?

A minimalist black and white illustration of the Statue of Liberty's face and crown on a light green background. The text "IN DEFENSE OF" is positioned in the upper right corner in black.

Separated and Deported

Immigrants are especially vulnerable when they end up in the legal system for any reason.

Rich storytelling

Issue explainers on IDO are full of visual elements that help guide readers through each narrative. Custom maps, data visualizations, videos and illustrations are used throughout each to help build a deeper understanding of the issues.

An illustration of a newspaper titled "The Times of Fear" on a vibrant red background. The newspaper features black horizontal lines of text and a large, bold yellow circle partially obscured by black lines, creating a sense of urgency or caution.
An abstract image features alternating horizontal lines of red and blue, with the lines slightly slanted and varying in thickness. The blue lines separate the red lines, creating a striking contrast against the vibrant red background.
A geometric pattern composed of alternating red and blue vertical stripes on a white background, with rows of red and blue dots aligned horizontally within the stripes. The pattern is encased in a black border with a yellow outer background.
Abstract artwork featuring layered rectangles on a bright red background. The rectangles have detailed patterns, with some filled with dense dots and others with diagonal or vertical stripes. They interlock in an intricate, overlapping arrangement.

A dynamic platform for action

Each issue explainer is accompanied by concrete, time-limited actions the public can engage with to be part of the change that is needed to advance justice and change policy. IDO is built around an ethos of partnership and with agility and urgency in mind. With the ability to create co-branded action pages, the platform makes it easy for IDO to join forces with like-minded partners and stakeholders and amplify their voice in the landscape. The IDO team has the tools to react quickly as events arise, formulate petitions, and push to a broad audience for immediate visibility and impact.

Screenshot of a webpage showing actions to take. Titles include "While They Wait," "Immigration Fees and Fees," "One Day to Protect New Yorkers," "We Have Rights," "Give Books," "Cuomo, Sign the Petition," "Mass Bail Out," and "Todos Together." Each action has a brief description and a "READ MORE" link.

Centering the stories of affected people

IDO was born of a belief that art, design, storytelling, and new media are the most powerful mediums for shining a light on injustice and inspiring change. The stories public defenders are trying to elevate are the real stories of their clients. IDO supports issue explainers with client profiles that demonstrate the effects of injustice in real people's lives.

A visually long image collage with sections showing typed and handwritten text, childhood and adult photos, drawings, and official documents. The progression appears to document a person's life journey, from early years, education, travels, and work in the arts.

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