The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (S.W.I.F.T.) are a co-operative society owned by, and existing for the benefit of the world’s banks. The main purpose of the Society is to develop, maintain and run a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment.
S.W.I.F.T. also sells software and services to financial institutions, much of it for use on the SWIFTNet Network, and ISO 9362. Business Identifier Codes (BICs, previously Bank Identifier Codes) are popularly known as ‘SWIFT codes’. The majority of international interbank messages use the S.W.I.F.T. network, financial institutions in countries and territories exchange millions of messages each day in a highly secure way. S.W.I.F.T. does not hold accounts for its members and does not perform any form of clearing or settlement, is owned by them all, and is based in Belgium.
I designed this annual report while working for Banks and Miles from their Brussels office alongside account manager Jan van Son. In order to explain S.W.I.F.T’s year we came up with the idea of telling a parallel story. Captions to illustrations compare the Society to a waterhole where animals gather to draw from a common resource to their own mutual benefit. Each image spread features themes expanding this story including symbiosis, and explaining how, by combining together, they will be stronger to face off perceived common threats.
We commissioned Dutch illustrator Walter van Lotringen to create the images. Beautiful illustrations, and from the start, for the report typography, I chose to use an extremely minimal modern style. Throughout the report there is a strict grid and typographic structure, one font, one weight, one size, one leading. Adobe Garamond, often used for books and longer reads, has a huge range of typographic niceties including small caps, italics, non-aligning numerals and tabular numerals. I used all of these when appropriate but used space too to create each page composition. A heading is not bold or enlarged but has importance because of its position clear of text at the top of the page; accounts are re-organised putting the preceding year before the description and current year figures. Within my fixed typographic structure, form following function, pages take on their own shapes.
I’m proud to say this report won several categories at Donside Graphic Design Awards 1991 including annual report bronze award, a best print award and a special award for best design entry from Belgium.