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UAL Research Online

Redesign of Documents for WestLB PanmureGordon

Ashley, Martin (2002) Redesign of Documents for WestLB PanmureGordon. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Ashley, Martin

In the late 1990s the Bavarian brand WestLB acquired Panmure Gordon, a Scottish stock-broking firm. The new name given was WestLB Panmure. One of the challenges of the research was to create design that would harmonise and unite the new company without appearing to give precedence of either one over the other.

Key to this firm’s operations are the Research Documents compiled by the company’s analysts/editors for internal/external circulation at a Pan-European level. Ashley was commissioned to redesign these for the new company.

The interlocking stages of the design involved the design of the research documents, the creation of guides to implement future use of the design and the creation of guides to train content creator.

The research began with a review/audit of the existing Research Documentation. This was found to be over-complicated. Various proposals for redesign were put forward using a message-based writing/message-based design system that Ashley trademarked in 2002. This message-base system involves the copy being scaled down to the irreducible and the design simultaneously reflecting various levels of reader attention. A reader with minimum time should be able to scan a number of pages and absorb the salient point. A reader with a little more time can quickly absorb more and a reader who can read in detail can take in even more.

This resulted in designs for cover and inside page layouts that were clear and functional and contrasted markedly with the designs already is use. On approval of a final redesign, detailed visual guidelines were drawn up including all specifications for the organisation to carry through the design successfully for successive documents. Ashley also created a specification measurement guide and a colour management guide. Training guidelines were also produced specifically for the analysts/editors generating the content of Research Documents.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Martin Ashley

Research Interests

Hierarchy & Navigation
Message-Based Design T
Information Overload/fatigue
Information anxiety

Current Research

User-centred approaches to overcoming information overload ('Datasmog')
Facts on 'Information Fatigue Syndrome' (phrase coined by psychologist Dr David Lewis)
Statistics indicate that 'for the first time in history, the capacity for producing information is far greater than the human capacity to process it' (Shenks 1997). Consequently, it is no surprise that information anxiety is prevalent.
According to a major Reuters survey of senior managers, 43% of respondents thought that decisions were delayed and otherwise adversely affected by 'analysis paralysis' due to over-exposure to information.
Reuters alone produce 27,000 pages of information per second! In 2003, the Department of Trade & Industry found that employees took an average of 49 minutes a day to sort out their inboxes.
This information overload is particularly prevalent in the City where Research Departments of Investment Banks send documents to their clients: Fund Managers who have to make decisions to ensure these contributors will have sufficient funds (pension) for when we all eventually retire.
My research explores ways to extracting key messages from the excess we are all exposed to, informed by my analysis of the City situation described above.
This relates to how design is applied to sequence messages in their intended order in tandem with a writing system that allows information to 'collapse down' to its irreducible minimum (navigation within a document).
The Morphing of Documents from Paper to Screen Environments
The same design and writing approach is extended to allow a paper document to 'mutate' from a portrait hard copy to either PowerPoint, web or PDA.(navigation between document types).
Essentially my research recognises that people do not read but scan/browse a page and then read it. Many designers overlook this critical point and consequently design 'pages' (paper or screen) inappropriately.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 1 January 2002
Funders: WestLB PanmureGordon
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2009 22:45
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2010 15:04
Item ID: 1587
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1587

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