Like coffee and sunrise, popcorn and movies, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson…some things just work better together.

Take writing and design. When mixed well, they are a winning combination.

It can be tempting to treat writing and design as two completely separate processes. Get the writing done and approved, then hand over to design.

But rather than a linear process, writing and design are like pieces of a puzzle that fit together to form the whole picture.

How so? Consider this:

  • Clearer communication. You communicate through your words and the way you present your information visually. When these two are in sync—rather than out of step or competing with each other—your communication is far more effective and powerful.
  • Complementary communication. When writers and designers are briefed together, and stay in touch with each other as a project moves along, they can add value to each other’s contribution. They can ensure the design and words work together to set the right tone, appeal to your audience and highlight your key messages.
  • Creative communication. If the writer knows where the design is heading, they can make sure the language and style not only match the design, but also amplify relevant points. For example, they might add a play on words in a heading to draw attention to, or reinforce, an important image. They might suggest pull-out quotes to help break up blocks of text, or identify content that would work better presented as an infographic. Similarly, when the designer has an idea of the written content, they can plan the layout more effectively.
  • Concise communication. It’s helpful for both writers and designers to know how much space they have to work with, roughly how much text will fit where, and what other design elements are to be included. There is little point having five paragraphs that explain something if the same information is then repeated in a diagram, and a case study placed in the middle of a section of text can interrupt the flow instead of illustrating the point. Collaborating on design and content ensures flexibility and helps avoid these types of issues. It keeps your communication concise, and ensures you get the best value from both the words and the design.

It’s elementary, my dear Watson…

 

‘No Watson, this was not done by accident, but by design.’
Sherlock Holmes

 

Cinden Lester has more than 25 years’ experience as a professional writer, editor and communications specialist. She worked as a broadcast journalist, in private sector marketing and public relations, and in government communications before establishing her own Canberra-based communications consultancy in 2000.

Contact Cinden if you’d like help with your communications.

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