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Design vs Words

I was reading this article, and Carol worded something perfectly that I have to share with you:

Words are important. Design is important. One is not better than the other; both should be recognised as integral to clear communication.

Carol and we have run into the same issue with clients: sometimes, they want us to come up with a design first, and put in the words later. While that sounds great in theory, the words to be used are just as important as the design.

When we design something – whether an ad with five words on it, or a publication of 20,000 words – both have every part of the design of the text considered. The layout of those five words can completely change the rest of the design, depending on the words chosen. Or in the situation of paragraphs of text: each page is typeset to make sure the text is easy to follow from page to page. For example, we never leave half a sentence to follow after turning over a page – the sentence will always start on the new page.

The design of the text makes it readable, eye-catching, relevant. It’s not just about “fitting it in” – for us, that’s ignoring the sole purpose of why we use words: communication. If it looks “nice”, but nobody can absorb what is being said, there’s no point.

Similar to Carol, we have learned to write as part of design. Sometimes, there’s a simpler word that more people will relate to. Or a sentence structure that is quicker to the point. Or perhaps, an industry-relevant word that will reach the specific customers you are after.

Design is powerful. So are words. Both put together well are a powerhouse like no other – and we live for these moments in design. Never underestimate their power, separate and together.