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Design, Entrepreneurship, Marketing
Designers are visual people, creating for the eyes and in-turn, the mind.
With incredible skills developing colour pallets to fonts, tactile objects to expansive spaces, stunning images to coveted fashions, designers truly live in the now of visual creativity. Designing the interfaces on our phones and buildings for our offices the universal language of design is user interaction – how to simplify or enhance how people interact with everything they create.
Visual design touches the eye first, but it is created to stimulate the mind.
If a designer is already creating successful pieces, they have the inherent tools to become a strong, detailed writer. While beautiful designs get noticed, written messages persuade much deeper. So why not take the time to build out this critical skill set?
Fast Company uncovered how writing is a designer’s unicorn skill in March 2017, ‘Forget Coding: Writing Is Design’s “Unicorn Skill”’ however, few designers have really pushed themselves to write. The trifecta of successful design leadership tends to be:
– Design
– Copy
– Code (or; Production, Modelling, Prototyping, etc…)
Each contributing equally to a successful creative execution. Even if your method is not digital, the same thinking applies. When the final product is in the users’ hands, a nice layout is appreciated, but the content is where they connect.
When I was starting my career in a large advertising agency, I worked with copywriters who would supply me with the lines to place and I’d go about my merry way making something look pretty. Words were simply another shape to be manipulated into place. While the copywriter and I would have discussions about how to use it, my influence over the development of it was limited. This was a missed opportunity.
Most studios and design firms are smaller operations and do not have the client budget for copywriters, so those tasks tend to fall upon account managers and the client themselves. This is where the designer who writes becomes the unicorn. Taking the time to proof and double check the copy as it is placed in the design, making edits and suggestions can help create a stronger end product. The designer is the one who has the full 360-degree view of all aspects of a project. So much so that with the significant rise in micro-copy (all those little lines guiding users in apps and help sections) it has become essential that micro-copy is part of the overall creative and brand strategy.

Lorem Ipsum
What designer can’t recite lines of the glorious Lorem Ipsum!? Ever since Adobe automatically started filling it into new text spaces with the release of Adobe CC2017, filling in Greek copy has never been easier. And yet, at this stage on the design industry, it comes 10 years too late.
Greeking in copy worked for print design decades ago, and still has its place in very early, internal concepts. Beyond the concept stage, it’s usefulness has dried up. It’s great as a placeholder and should be used for that – getting the design into a working place where you can start to define and refine it. Advancing the design by adding in the real words, forces the designer to approach the layout with equal consideration for the content as well. Without the context of real words, the design may not be as easy for the end user as originally intended.
Working with the content versus Lorem Ipsum allows the designer to see the final piece, grasping the critical links behind the visual and written to guide the user along. Allowing a designer to work with, and develop, the copy can additionally provide another layer of proofing with a detail-focused set of eyes that can provide valuable insight and feedback on the words themselves.

Get Writing
It’s time to get started! You don’t have to create a website from scratch to start writing. Start small, try out platforms like Linkedin, Facebook or Medium. You could even use Evernote and start a blog (like this one!).
Top creatives like the lead UX designer at Bannersnack, Gery Meleg, uses Medium to publish his thoughts. He also guest blogs for DesignModo, but he republishes the same article to connect with different readers through his Medium account. He doesn’t have a personal website, so he uses his social platforms to communicate his messages.
While we all have the capacity to become writers, I don’t think every designer should write or have a blog. Some may be better off with a podcast, or maybe play around with video and learn After Effects at the same time.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter the type of content you create, it’s more important that you create it and get it out there for the world to embrace (or reject, because the internet is why we can’t have nice things). At the end of the day, you have to want to write to do it successfully. Forcing yourself to polish off and evolve this skill isn’t easy, but even just a small monthly writing habit can be a good start.
Want to learn more about how your company can benefit from an experienced creative professional? Click below to set up your 30-minute consultation. We’ll sit down and work through your branding, marketing, or creative materials to find where you need some work, and offer our suggestions.