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Design: 5 Tips for Designers (From a Writer)

Updated: Nov 8, 2019

According to Adam Griffith for Hightail blog, teamwork and collaboration are king when working on projects. To promote cooperation and collaboration, these are his 5 tips to help designers and writers work better together.

In his article, he's talking about digital or graphic designers, and copy or marketing writers, this can apply to all forms of designers, and writers or authors, which is why I love his article. In sum, here are his tips for designers (which are helpful for budding authors/writiers to note).

1. Copy (Text) changes. Keep your designs editable.

Text changes from it's first draft to it's final draft. That's why it's important for designer to leave room for edits. Until the edits are complete, use existing fonts (Times New Roman or Arial are great) instead of painstaikingly making your own. You may say to yourself, "the tilte or header isn't going to change," but remember Murphy's Law. After you receive the final information, then by all means create that new, awesomeness you've been daydreaming about.

2. Make multiple versions

As a designer, you're paid to have great design knowledge and taste. And, as a designer myself, I feel like people should take my word as the final word on all things desgin related. But projects are messy, clients don't always say what they mean, and the scope of a project can shift on a dime. So it's much easier, in the concept stage, to provide multiple design options (3 is a good number). Have lots of check points, from start to completion, and offer other options as you're going along. A bit of extra work at the begining saves a lot of time in the end from re-designing the whole thing.

3. Ask for examples of work they like

Client's don't speak design. Kerning? CMYK? Margins? They don't know what they don't know. The best way to get around this issue, is to ask for examples of styles that are close to their vision for this project. This'll give you invaluable insight into what they're wanting, and it'll give you opportunity to ask more critical questions about what they are looking for exactly. And by all means, advise them how to describe those design elements they love, it'll help your client and you work better together in the future. Here's an article to get you started

4. Always do a copy (text) review

Copywriting, and other professional forms of writing is very involved and takes time to create. Even experts still make typos, especially in longer documents, and it's really hard to spot them when you've been staring at it forever. It's your job as a designer to look over the final text you recieve (or give it to someone with strong writing/grammar skills). Becasue the last thing you want is to end up here

5. When requesting copy (text), be specific.

Sometimes design starts before text is created, and as a designer, you'll need to put placeholders for copy you don't have yet. When working with the writer to get the final text for those placeholders, you need to be very specific. Asking for a "blurb" or a "snippet" is extremely vague, and will often lead to a lot of rework for the writer in the end, which will hold up your design. Here's Adam Griffith's suggestions to ask for when requesting copy (text):

  • The maximum and minimum number of the characters that will fit well within the space.

  • A thorough description of the target audience

  • A draft of the final design, indicating where the copy will go

  • Past examples of similar work for the company, project, or series (if relevant).

To read the full article, click here

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