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UAL Research Online

Redesign of Rothschild Corporate Finance Publications

Ashley, Martin (2002) Redesign of Rothschild Corporate Finance Publications. [Art/Design Item]

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

Following a commissioned review of Rothschild’s corporate structure and client perception of the brand, the global branding consultancy Interbrand recommended a review/audit, and later, a redesign of Rothschild’s publications for its main activity of corporate finance (including acquisitions, mergers, initial public offerings (IPOs) and launching of new companies). In 2002, Ashley designed and implemented the report including proposed visual direction for Rothschild’s publications.

Ashley was again approached and subsequently commissioned to implement his proposed redesign. These publications are the major visual output for Rothschild. The redesign involved creating a large number of text pages including graphs, tables and complex diagrams for which he used a message-based design and message-based writing systems approach which he trademarked in 2002.

This approach consists of creating hierarchies of information and reducing the information down to the point of irreducible. This takes place at the text composition and editing stage, requiring collaboration between writer and designer. This collaboration is necessary as the designer needs to work closely with the writer so that the texts appear in the correct order. In the case of Rothschild, Ashley trained the writers in message-based writing so that when a reader scans a page the key points are transmitted and that by a closer reading more detail becomes apparent. More detailed reading yields even further information. Therefore readers with different amounts of time are all accommodated.

The research consisted working collaboratively with Rothschild’s document writers to create message-based text to be used by the organisation's corporate finance personnel and to apply message-based design to the text. Key Images were converted in Microsoft PowerPoint for Rothschild’s personnel to be able to communicate the new brand identity for internal training across Europe, Hong Kong, USA and Australia. A design and editorial manual explained all detailed technical points about the brand identity.

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 December 2002
Funders: Rothschild Corporate Finance
Related Websites: http://www.rothschild.com/
Related Websites:
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2009 22:45
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2012 16:03
Item ID: 1588
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1588

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