Health Sciences Association

These three long document manuals for Health Sciences Association feature accessible, consistent and well-organized structure and design.

“We knew we could count on Working Design to develop an accessible, logical, and beautiful format for our steward manuals.

Working Design transformed hundreds of pages of dense, single-spaced technical information into open and friendly workbooks that our stewards treasure.

In fact, a focus group of stewards reviewing the brand new Contract Interpretation Manual found the document so immediately useful that they refused to turn in the draft copies!

The best advice about maintaining a safe workplace or contract interpretation is useless if no one reads it. Thanks to Working Design, HSA’s stewards will have an easier time resolving thousands of workplace issues for HSA members.”

Yukie Kurahashi, Editor, Health Sciences Association


The Health Sciences Association is a union of 15,000 health and social service professionals. The organization has a sophisticated communications strategy aimed at both members and the general public. The union required an overhaul of three significant and sizeable internal documents covering information for union stewards, occupational health and safety issues and contract interpretation.


The updated manuals were designed to replace documents produced ten years earlier. The main functions of each manual:

  • inform union stewards about their roles and responsibilities
  • advise union members about their rights and duties regarding health and safety issues at work
  • guide union members and negotiators in all matters related to their contracts


  • 15,000 union members
  • Union stewards
  • Occupational Health and Safety committees


  • inform union members
  • encourage members to be aware of all workplace issues and concerns
  • encourage members to be involved in the union
  • underline the union’s role in serving its members

Definable goals

  • prepare information in a clear, accessible and easy-to-read manner
  • ensure that all members and / or workplaces have copies of the relevant binder manuals
  • improve on-the-job awareness
  • provide thorough information leading to improved procedures


  • distilling complex, detailed and technical information into a visually pleasing and accessible design
  • applying a consistent design to three documents with varied information and content


PHASE ONE • Our internal review identified a range of potential improvements to the previous documents. Prime among these was the possibility of using photography to replace the illustrations used previously. Photos show the diverse range of people and occupations in the union and lend a more immediate feel to the materials.

In our redesign of the union’s flagship publication, the Report, the union adopted our recommendation that the front covers feature member photos. As a result, the union had developed an excellent and extensive image library of members in the workplace.

PHASE TWO • We provided mock-ups of inside pages and chapter title pages for client review incorporating photos and page designs that referenced the design of the union’s logo. The design emphasis was on open, uncluttered pages using clean, simple and modern typefaces and arrangements in order to make the somewhat technical information feel accessible.

PHASE THREE • Upon approval of the general design, Working Design produced three manuals over a period of a year, each numbering in the hundreds of pages.