Iconography for justice

State of California


Diversity and Inclusion ❋ Iconography ❋ Illustration ❋ Web


Cyd Harrell ❋ Christa Dahlstrom ❋ Jenny Phu


A scaleable iconography and illustration system designed to speak to the millions of California residents about self-representation.


They focus on one core concept. These icons shouldn’t feel like UX pieces with states or add-ons. Icons can use a metaphor like the sand timer, or be more faithful to life like the mailbox. Hands are on the chunkier side which gives them friendliness. They have nails, but no nail polish.


We think of our illustration compositions like you’d construct a film storyboard. We have three types of shot: wide shot, mid shot, and close up. We adjust the amount of detail based on the shot, with wide being the lightest amount and close up being the most.

Homepage illustration - the only illustration to feature such a wide palette
Using the brand system for the whole website as a base, we add in skintones. Illustrations are primarily made of Primary Darker, White, and Primary Lighter with accents in the Base and accent colors.

Task illustrations

Tasks represent something that needs to be completed by the user

Blacking out a bill
Documenting evidence
Filling out an online form
Writing a declaration at home
Serving papers

Interaction illustrations

Interactions involve the user interacting with people in the court world.

Visiting the clerk
Filing paperwork with a clerk
Seeing a mediator
Receiving help from a professional member of the court

Bonnie Kate is one of the most skilled professionals I've ever worked with in a 25+ year career. We hired her to create a system of illustrations in a challenging public-sector area that was completely new to her. She did the work to understand our needs, consistently reflected back our goals, and delivered a beautiful set of illustrations and icons with clear instructions on customizing and extending the system further. I don't think I've ever thought of illustration as strategic before, but Bonnie Kate is a strong strategy thinker & I learned from working with her that it can be. Highest recommendation.

Cyd Harrell, Civic Design Consultant