Remember the mid 2000’s? Back in those hazy days, design led businesses like Apple and Dyson came to prominence, and terms like “design thinking” gained acceptance in the boardroom. This confirmed what designers knew all along – design isn’t just about pretty pictures, but it has significant commercial relevance too.
But while designers have taken plenty of plaudits over the past two decades, copywriters haven’t been quite so lucky. While plenty of people know that Innocent do great writing for example, the acceptance of copy as a powerful business tool isn’t always what it could be.
That’s why I think it’s time to team up. And designers especially should sing the praises of copywriters more often.
A little respect?
On the face of it, the lack of appreciation for copy is an odd development. People are reading more these days – often on their mobile devices. In that scenario, typography and copy are the only distinguishable aspects of a piece of online content. That alone means that both designers and copywriters should be at the forefront of new technology.
But for reasons unbeknown to me at least, it seems that some businesses cut copy from their budget before most other things. Perhaps that’s because they see copy as a box to be ticked and (quite literally) a hole to be filled. Or perhaps it’s because all you need to do is fire up Medium or Linkedin these days to tell the world your innermost thoughts. “It’s easy this writing lark, right?“
Good things come to those who…. erm…. hire a copywriter
But did you ever hear the one about the MD who knocked out “good things come to those who wait,” on their lunch break at a conference? Nope, me neither. Likewise, letting Dave in accounts have a crack at that ad campaign or company brochure is a bit like serving a frozen Chicago Town pizza to an Italian chef. It’s not going to cut it.
When I meet a new client, they’ll often say that they don’t think they need copy – they just need visuals. And sometimes they’re right. But sometimes it’s blatantly obvious that their in-house writing capabilities aren’t up to scratch. It’s up to designers to speak up more when this happens, even if that means we have to cut the budget a few ways. Better copy means better projects and happier clients.
Copywriters & designers are like jam on toast
I actually think that a return to the classic creative team of a visual person and a words person is well overdue. With most copywriters working freelance and more and more designers choosing to work independently, this could be a golden age for that tight knit two-person creative partnership.
If you’re a designer, there’s no excuse not to get together with words people. There are brilliant copywriting meetups all across the country. There’s the the #copywritersunite hashtag and ProCopywriters where you can find a great copywriter online. Together, a designer and copywriter team can produce the kind of creative output you might expect from a bigger agency, but in a far more nimble way.
The very best copywriters create words that jump off the page and make you think twice. Twinned with beautiful design, we can make them look twice too.
Spread the word!