Zephyr | Corporate & NGO Creative

case studies

Delve a little deeper behind the project images for details of the brief, how it went , the results delivered and what our clients say.

ICC Global Survey 2018 – a more readable 10th edition – Design and editorial processes working hand-in-hand

Brief: to evolve the ICC Global Survey on Trade Finance to improve the communication of its key findings and contributions; to appeal to its audience and their reading habits; to support its position as an unparalleled insight into the global trade finance industry.

Challenge: to create a world-class report with a strong hierarchy, good navigation, clear and impactful data presentation that works to meet the reading behaviour of its audience.

Process: Creative / Editorial / Design / Production

Deliverables: Web pdf / Print

Results: 35% reduction in size. More dynamic messaging and visual impact. Improved on-screen reading experience. Improved print-out format. Improved navigation.

Rethinking Trade Finance, as it was called had grown. At 260 pages, the 2017 edition of the Global Survey Report was the largest to date. It was certainly time for a rethink of how to keep audiences engaged.

Our design and editorial review of the 2017 report asked “is it working effectively enough to draw audiences in and keep them reading?"

For 2018 – the 10th edition – we took more dynamic approach, working much closer to the editorial process.

The aim, to make copy more succinct and punchy, to aid readers’ understanding of the report before they delve in, by making the skim read more impactful.

We proposed that the whole document could also be shrunk by at least 30% by making editorial alterations. In addition to this an overarching editorial influence would benefit the report significantly.

Design consideration was given to improving how the report pdf appeared on-screen, across multiple devices and how it can be printed.


We collaborated with specialist communication consultant Sarah Wachter on our editorial review of the 2017 report. Our review suggested that there was potential to reduce the whole document by 30% – we actually achieved 35%. In addition to this an overarching editorial influence would benefit the report significantly.

More could be done to lift key content out of the introductions to aid readers’ understanding of the reports before they delve in. More space could also be given and a hierarchy of information introduced so audiences can both skim read and quickly get to grips with the arguments seated behind this report. These arguments create context, vital for a reading of the ensuing information.

Punchy headlines to sections and to tables were written that captured news value and outcomes. The aim was to extract news value from report and highlight throughout.

For major sections short introductions were introduced for each section and selected pull quotes that reinforced and supported the main argument of article added to break up the text.


Of the many digital platforms that now exist, what mix works best should be influenced by your audience and what you known about it. There is a newly evolved ICC report webpage that creates a great window to the report content, providing new interactive highlights and background information. The new pdf has also evolved and sits in clear view.

Our redesign of the full report remains in pdf format, still the most popular and used format by far. To help it be more accessible to its audience, we focused on the layout, simplifying the structure to be both engaging but easier to navigate.

We knew that audiences have changed in the way they read reports like the Global Survey. We wanted to design report that worked for the skim-reader on screen and still look great when printed out as individual pages. The on-screen pdf had to work harder at being readable on smaller devices. Equally, the layout also had to work just as well as a printed document.

One new feature was the 15mm page margin, removing the full bleed of previous years makes the current report easy to print out accurately on a domestic printer.

Data graphics, on the whole now sit across two columns as standard, again making them easy to view on mobile devices but also making them easy to crop and share to social media.

We also paid attention to the font size and especially the text column width, ensuring this kept to between 5 and 8 words for easier on-screen reading.

Lastly, we felt that the images hadn’t worked hard enough in the past. For the tenth edition, they could better appeal if we were to adopt more of magazine feel. The cover and leading parts of the report are supported by a mix of graphic and photographic. Familiar and popular representative images like the container ship set a challenge to find better and more dynamic examples. A simple rule was used that contributor pieces led with a concept image to support the subject title. Case study images used more literal depictions.

Knowing the project and the organization, Zephyr was the ideal partner in guiding and implementing the design evolution of this historic 10th edition of our report. Their experience, vision and diligence was key in making the publication become even more of a great read, visually and content-wise, both on screen and on paper.
— Doina Buruiana, Project Manager, Banking Commission, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)






Matt Collins