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Intersections between copywriting and design

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 by Servage

In many cases, copywriters and designers practice their crafts in different worlds with little knowledge of what the other is doing. If the two are seated near each other, and thus aware of each other’s work, this can make a huge difference for the results of our projects. Clients, of course, benefit from such an arrangement as such a team is likely to offer exceptional quality websites.

Common Mistakes

We commit big mistakes when:

  • We keep the role of designers and copywriters entirely separate during our web design projects
  • We design first and then instruct content writers to fill the void
  • We prepare copy first and then design around that

In such cases, we aren’t combining content with design, as we tend to emphasize importance of one over the other and let that define our business model. The better approach is communication design. Our strategy early on and throughout the project must connect content writers with the design team. This approach encourages the writer to fine tune their messages with aid of the visuals for the site. Likewise, designers can be more effective in their job with the aid of actual copy, in particular microcopy, to allow their communicative design to be  meaningful, as well as contextual.

Enhancing the Copywriter’s Persona Via Design

When writers and designers work together, they exchange their ideas and realize capabilities which enhance the effectiveness of the overall web design. The copywriter does some initial research to determine the target audience; and based on this, they create a persona to align content with audience.

Writers also handle all aspects of language in content, to ensure copy is error free and grammatically correct. Their aim is to produce high quality text while avoiding messages that are either boring or repetitious. This helps designers create a flow and layout which enhances the work of writers and their online persona. Our designs and layouts, together with well written content, keep the audience engaged and contribute to the goal of website conversion.

They Complement Each Other

When a content writer and designer work on tasks at the same time, they share awareness of goals and complement each other’s fundamental purpose for the web design project. They learn to respect each other’s perspective and serve as feedback for each other’s ideas with respect to goals for the site. While disagreements are bound to happen, the two ultimately provide a balance for each other. When in harmony, writer and designer constantly seek to match the tone of the other, which benefits the overall theme for the site.

Professional Output

A productive collaboration between copy and design during the web design process results not only in quality work, but more importantly, a professional relationship that is confident with its output. The reason for this is obvious, as we have someone available who we trust, to criticize our rough drafts, as well as someone who can make practical and pertinent suggestions. Therefore, working in a team is obviously beneficial for both the copywriter and the web designer.

When a designer asks for microcopy, a content writer must have awareness of the design and its flow, in order to write words in true context of the layout. Big copy is for visitors to the published site who will rely on visual clues to navigate the site’s overall story. Working as a professional team, designer and copywriter contribute shared content to produce excellent user experiences during the website journey.

References & More Reading

Designing The Words: Why Copy Is A Design Issue
gettin nashty
Communication design

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