Designers and copywriters: how to cooperate more effectively
Copywriting and design go hand in hand. How to bring these two essential creative functions closer together is as follows.
We have learned one thing from famous pairings like milk and cookies, PB&J, and Twitter and trolls: copy and design need each other.
If you are a designer, you are aware of the significance of having a competent copywriter on your team. Additionally, if you are a writer, you are aware that effective design can assist in making your words truly sing.
Your design can be made or broken by the right words, and vice versa. But too often, these two roles are separated: the designer works on their designs alone, and the copywriter becomes attached to their favorite characters without being affected by the page’s appearance or layout. This may result in issues down the road.
You can avoid these issues and create a website that is both visually stunning and easy to understand by collaborating early and frequently—perfectly on-brand.
Let’s examine the steps you need to take to begin.
Be aware that great websites place an emphasis on storytelling.
Content, which includes copy and design, is a means of connection.
Your website tells a story. It is a living, breathing thing that changes over time, conveys various messages at various stages of the visitor journey, and ultimately serves the purpose of connecting your company with potential customers. And how do you get in touch with real people? by letting them see themselves in your story. “Imagine trying to make a movie without a script,” Edgar Allan’s Strategy and Content Lead, Kendra Rainey, said in her session at No-Code Conf 2021. And she’s right: web design projects can get stuck or fail to reach their full potential if there isn’t enough space, money, or time for collaborative content development.
Concentrate on the similarities among writers and designers.
According to Google, “having or characterized by shared attributes or interests” refers to the relationship between a copywriter and a designer.
Designers and writers have a lot in common, but too often work (and overwork) has forced us into separate roles with separate processes and tasks. I’ve never heard of writers and designers working together from the beginning to the end of a project, even though they are both doing work that, when shared, can elevate the other’s work.
Accept the assistance.
Designers don’t want people in their early-stage Figma files, and writers don’t want people in their messy drafts. However, if you communicate early, looking at your document or file will feel more like collaboration than judgment.
When I’m able to let other people’s ideas fuel my own creativity, I do some of my best work as a copywriter. For designers, it’s often the same.
Establish a stronger connection between design and copy.
Designers and copywriters naturally work together. They both have the same mentality: to make beautiful, useful things that get people excited and work. to put it another way, to build things you believe in.
Unfortunately, copy and design are frequently separated in many organizations, with little interaction occurring until the last minute. This can result in tension, frustration, and, even more concerning, a lack of trust between these essential creative minds.
There are a few things you can do to avoid that.
Determine whether projects are driven by design or content.
It is impossible to use the same procedure for each project. However, there are two types of processes on which I typically collaborate most closely with design on projects:
-Copy-driven: where the design is influenced by key messages, like a use case page.
-Design-driven: where the copy is shaped by design, like a beta site.
I’ll talk a little bit more about those processes down below, but one thing to keep in mind is that the project owner/driver, copywriter, and designer need to meet at the beginning to set expectations. Do that, if nothing else!
The key messaging, or copy, serves as the foundation for any copy-driven process.
I rarely have initial responsibility for that copy. I don’t know as much as the person in charge of that project, which might be a product marketer who is organizing the launch. As a result, I copy the template for my landing page and ask them to do a brain dump in the document first. Trust me when I say that even though this may appear to be an additional step, it ultimately saves everyone time and effort.
When that document contains the key messages, I enter. After that, I transform the brain dump into a copy document that can be used by polishing the voice and tone and organizing the information into a design-appropriate content outline.
The design is the first step in a design-driven process.
As a writer, I follow the designer’s lead when it comes to the page’s content outline (or sections) and use that as my guide when writing the copy. I would need to know before I started writing if there is a headline with a subhead and a button for the call to action above the fold.
After the wireframes are completed, my process frequently begins. Understanding the creative process and when to incorporate copy into it is essential from that initial meeting. Because a design from scratch can evolve and change throughout, design-driven processes tend to be more collaborative than copy-driven processes because copy-driven pages, like our /for pages, may only use a template. I and the designer are collaborating closely throughout to ensure that our efforts remain on the same wavelength.
Utilize one another’s tools.
It can save a lot of time and effort to become familiar with each other’s tools.
According to Jenna, “something as simple as walking through early drafts of copy placed into wireframes and collaboratively working in Figma can really help both sides visualize how their story will be experienced.” The copywriter has a better idea of how dense or light the copy needs to be throughout the website when they can see how copy length affects page density in a layout. Exercises like these can assist both sides in achieving the ideal balance because one section may necessitate additional reading or visual explanation.
Throughout your process, you can also use tools to constantly set expectations for each other. I also mean boundaries when I say “expectations.” They are beneficial not only to you as someone who is capable of owning their own process, but also to everyone else who is a part of that process. What’s worse than a project with no real deadline and no clear path? Others can feel empowered in their own processes and timelines can be kept on track by communicating where you are in your own process.
I put a status update with the words “work in progress,” “in review,” or “pens down” at the top of each Google Doc to help everyone understand where I am in my copy process. After the copy has been written down, our designers know that it can be used in the design, and everyone else knows that their review window has passed.
I am able to avoid receiving unwanted feedback too late in the process thanks to this system, which also enables me to concentrate solely on my collaboration with design as we get closer to launch and allows me to independently make any necessary edits on-site without receiving input from every angle. As the saying goes, it benefits both parties.
Use public channels to discuss the project.
You will not only perform better at work if you avoid compartmentalizing yourself or your work, but you will also avoid having to repeatedly clarify or explain things after the fact.
Perform magic jointly.
We can help ensure that the overall experience for both us and the end user is top-notch by working together early and frequently, and that we are creating things of which we can both be proud.
Therefore, designers should serve as the jelly for copywriters. Be the designers’ milkshake, copywriters. You and Twi can become the ultimate troll together.
Because you can make truly amazing things by combining those iconic pairings.