For Best Results, Find A Graphic Designer Who’s A Decent Writer

You know all that copy that goes on your website, in your brochures and in your nonprofit’s emails?  Who’s writing it? Derek Powazek explains why it’s important for web (and print too, as I see it)  designers to sharpen up their writing skills. And in his web article “Calling All Designers: Learn to Write,” Powazek asserts that designers should start considering themselves as “creators of experiences.” And that includes content as well as design.

Powazek asserts that any designer who prides himself on really creating the user experience for that blog or brochure has to be concerned with the content too. And recommends that you ask prospective designers what they like to read. Maybe even give them a crack at writing your brochure intro or website About page.

Any GA readers using designers who can write or edit? Let me know.

More about strengthening your graphic design here:

Nancy Schwartz on May 22, 2006 in Copywriting, Graphic Design, Nonprofit Communications | 7 comments

  • Terrific post and a crucial skill… assuming you can find it (graphic designers who write AND understand marketing are rare).

  • Thanks for your thoughts Marc. Maybe I put it a bit strongly. A graphic designer doesn’t have to be an effective writer, but does have to know effective writing, and to design to maximize its impact.
    When I’m writing copy, I consider what goes in the sequence of paragraphs (that’s moving into the realm of design). And when I write brochure copy, I outline (and then write it) according to what elements will work best on each panel.

  • Derek Powazek is going about this the wrong way. If a designer says, “I’m not a writer,” then the solution is not to have the designer learn to write, but to have the designer collaborate with a professional copywriter.
    It takes a great deal of effort to become an expert copywriter — do you really think that a designer can grab a “Stunk and White” and provide effective content? I’m a direct mail copywriter specializing in fundraising, and my clients place a lot of trust in my professional capabilities. I work constantly to stay knowledgable and keep my writing skills sharp. The designers I work with are busy enough keeping up with the changes and challenges of their own field without juggling the demands of effective copywriting.
    If one of my nonprofit clients needed design work , would it make more sense to find a skilled designer or to grab a copy of “The Fool’s Guide to Web Design?” The responsible answer is have the best possible professional do the work.

  • Thanks so much for your response.
    Let me start by saying, I know what you’re saying. I started out as a writer (see my response to an early am comment on this post) myself and support you 150% in the specialized skill that copywriting is. What I understand Dan to be saying is that it’s helpful if a designer has a strong sense of what good copywriting is, how copy tends to flow, etc., and designs accordingly.

  • Hi Nancy,
    I’ve had to deal with this issue a lot over the years and your post inspired me to write one of my own on the topic.

  • Joseph Riden

    My Web Designer doesn’t demand I learn how to do what she does. I wouldn’t think it fair for me to demand that she “learn how to write.” That’s what copywriters are for.
    Would you cut your own hair?
    Well, then don’t write your own copy. Use copywriting pros to create web content, don’t expect the site designers to do that. Then we’ll all live in a better world, because communication will work better.

  • I strongly disagree with you …….
    Web designer need not to be a writer ….
    Take a glimpse at our web site
    it;s designed by a deisgner who’s seldom writes
    Take a glimpse at our award winning web design :

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