It’s not about a fashion statement.
“Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.”William G. Pollard
Writers must know ‘design’ as a function.
Design helps writers structure content in a way that is meant to fulfill the objective.
If you are a content writer or any content professional, here is why you should know design.
Content is not equal to Copy
Design by function helps you make the right choice of cliches, jargon, and the right spectrum of adjectives.
Picked from The Guardian by Ben Blatt,
The bestselling US author averages 160 cliches per 100,000 words, about twice as many as JK Rowling and Gillian Flynn.
Patterson writes the phrase “believe it or not” in more than half his books, but he’s not the only author to use at least some cliches. Austen loved to write “with all my heart”, Dan Brown uses “full circle”, Stephenie Meyer books are filled with “sighs of relief”, and Rowling has her “dead of night”. Even literary authors are fond of a cliche, with Zadie Smith falling back on “evil eye”, Donna Tartt on “too good to be true” and Salman Rushdie using “the last straw” in more than half his novels. Not all cliches are bad, but it’s clear some authors rely on them more than others. EL James is in the upper tier of cliche users, with one of her favorites being “words fail me”.
If I had to publish the idea in my head, then it is not enough if I just scribbled some words. I must be sure why I’m writing those words, how to present them, how to package them, and sell them.
Design & Content are complimenting roles
One of the most popular recommendations for the design team has been, “hire a writer.” This because the visualization can be well articulated for implementation. Though these roles are different, you need to help each other.
Design comes in handy for writers.
Without understanding design, what is written is always shit.
Structure is your job.
The misunderstood fact is ‘Writers write.’ Nope.
‘Writers articulate a thought to influence an audience’. This makes ‘creating structure’ a part of the writer’s job role.
This is what Wikipedia says,
A writer is a person who uses written words in different styles and techniques to communicate ideas.Wikipedia
Structure provides clarity to the message. It builds the intended experience that you choose to deliver to your audience.
Respect each other.
You are not alone in the game of content creation. It is a collaborative process. Help each other understand the vision. If you don’t carry an eye to appreciate your designer’s work, your effort will be archived and unnoticed.
Help each other to create something sexy together.
It’s inevitable to please your customer without a sense of design.
If a website needs a two-word call-to-action, it makes no sense for you to add a statistic as a placeholder. Imagine creating a case study that sounds like a research article but does not include any impact statements, introduction para, or process elaboration. It stays useless.
Design is an often neglected and unnoticed skill that writers need to tag along.
Steve Pinker in his book, ‘The Sense of Style’, writes.
I like to read style manuals for another reason, the one that sends botanists to the garden and chemists to the kitchen: it’s a practical application of our science. I am a psycholinguist and a cognitive scientist, and what is style, after all, but the effective use of words to engage the human mind? It’s all the more captivating to someone who seeks to explain these fields to a wide readership. I think about how language works so that I can best explain how language works.Steve Pinker
A storyboard packed with funny, yet candid illustrations. Content Hacks is a weekly series that addresses content hacks using step-by-step guides with an elaborate explanation of each step. Find this published every Wednesday on Medium. @nischalagni