Design Direction

Designing a strong brand on its usefulness and uniting around it

In January 2016 FIP Patrimoine and Patrimoine Consultants, two of the french biggest independent wealth management networks, have merged. FIP Patrimoine is a 23-year-old network and the oldest in France, its exceptional history has been carried through the years and the merger with Patrimoine Consultant will create a network of more than 60 offices and 100 asset managers. 
As design director, I was tasked with creating the new brand resulting from the merger. I created a design task force composed of Gaspard Ollagnon as art director and Danka for the digital heavy lifting.


As said before, the two companies carry a lot of history and values and I could have not gone that far without the extraordinary help of all the teams from FIP Patrimoine and Patrimoine Consultant. I could have not dreamed of a better position to build the brand. It’s too rare to not be highlighted.

The first step in the design process was to conduct interviews and field researches. I followed several advisors during their daily appointements and conducted interviews with people working at every level of the network, from CEO to financial advisor. From the field study and these interviews I gained insights on three points: why they decided to become a financial advisor; the nature of the relationship between financial advisor and client; the links between each actors (network, advisors, clients, suppliers).
I mapped a systemic view of their own professional eco-system using these insights.

From this analysis we validated with all the teams a design project relying on a simple truth : create the useful tools that would naturally unite under the new brand.

Finding the right name

Our biggest challenge with this brand creation was we needed to speak to the financial advisors within the network and also to their clients, carrying the same values.
I started working on a semantic analysis using synonyms of our three standards then I started mapping semantic axes, both convergent and divergent.
I have a particular method while looking for a name, I look in three ways:

history – how history with its myths and characters can inspire us?
logic – how simple but accurate words can create impact?
future – how assembling new words can push us forward?



Working hand to hand with the client’s team we chopped down every name that would not fit into our standards and values to finally get three finalists.
Why magnacarta ? During our historical research we bumped into the story of the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta is one of the first historical documents reflecting a alliance of individuals seeking to codify their contribution to the state and protect what they possess. This is exactly what asset management is about and this is why this story hitted us as the most logical choice: this story ties us with History and reminds us the importance of partnership and proper respect of individual rights. The term « Magna Carta » has an aura that gives solidity and strength. One can also invoke the related idea of grand plan route, a long-term strategy. Thus came “magnacarta”.

Looking for a meaningful symbol

We had a powerful name and we needed a relevant identity that would convey all our standards and will offer something more on a second reading.
There was something particular that I wanted to emphasize in magnacarta values : each financial advisor is independant and has its own story and values, therefore the network is an assembly of individualities.
So we started working on the representation of one’s individuality  on its most simple way : one as a number.

Gaspard, the art director, imagined this representation to be as a stature and as a takeoff. By assembling theses ones, we aimed to create a powerful architectural set that would depict the unity within the network and the three standards of Magnacarta. The One” symbol has been built to be playful and useful in many situations. It was very important that the animation of the symbol demonstrates both the stature and the takeoff, a quiet strenght.

Magnacarta became more and more delighted by the identity that they even asked us to create a personalised typeface for numbers inspired by the One”.


magnacarta’s network usually responds to 6 type of needs. We chose to work on the expressed needs rather than the given expertises. Doing so we connected advisors and their clients into a more humane relationship. 
Each ideogram would represent one of the needs and then would create its own semiology. It was more about create an alphabet than anything else. Those ideograms had a huge impact within the network as, for the first time, someone offers a true expression of what their clients need. Therefore we animated them so it can be useful for a whole variety of contexts: online, print, events, and so on.

Print matters

Conceiving all the printed documents was a huge part of the production. We went from the classical stationary work, business cards and postcards, to complex documents such as newsletters, product sheets, and flyers.
Something new happened to us while producing all the content: Magnacarta was so convinced by their new identity that they started playing a lot with it. From this wonderful engagement we had to take the unexpected role of moderator to correct the few mistakes. It was incredible to us to watch our client playing by its own with the identity we created 2 weeks ago.

Online usefulness

In collaboration with the digital team I also supervised the creation of the corporate website and intranet. It was two separate works that were brilliantly developed by Dankastudio.
As I wanted to create a coherent brand universe we used the identity to its best, from ideograms to patterns every elements is useful and reinforce the network brand.
Most of the websites from wealth management field are mostly hard to navigate because it displayed too much information. We chose to create a corporate website easy to read where the information is found in a matter of seconds.

the intranet was a very particular work where the field research and interviews were a priceless material. We spent a lot of time analysing what the asset managers would truly need. We delivered an efficient intranet with a powerful database search based on financial advisor analysed needs.

Because the asset manager profession is not so well-known in France, clients don’t really know what an asset manager can do for them or even when they could need him.
We created a short video presenting what an asset manager does.

Engagement to the brand

The new brand met a great engagement at every level within the network thanks to my collaboration with Sophie Ribéry, head of communication at magnacarta. All along the process and even before I entered the game she organised several workshops with the advisors, asking them about colours, brands, she involved them at every step and managed to give me essential feedback.
When the new brand was presented in front of all the network it was a complete success and even some advisors bought reproductions of the “Magna Carta” for their office.
Partners reaction was a hit since it is one the most modern and complete identity made in the wealth management field. The brand position was assured by a press cover in selected newspapers and magazines.


Design Direction  Gauthier Roussilhe
Art Direction, Identity and Graphic Design Gaspard Ollagnon
Digital — Danka

SEO — Loic Julien
Motion Design — Sarah Garcin
Date —  Janv 2017


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