Which comes first, the copy or the design?

Sometimes a web project can feel like a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario when it comes to writing fresh content. Designers want some idea of what copy is going to be on the page, whereas copywriters like to know how much space they have to work with in the design. Most of the time clients want to leave copy until last and are keen to see visual progress first.

Sometimes designers just take a wild stab at writing their own copy, which arguably can give some context to a particular section of a design, but more often than not doesn’t accurately represent the brand tone of voice so can be a distraction from the overall design. Then we have Latin dummy text ‘Lorem Ipsum’ which is gibberish and doesn’t sit truly within designs and screams ‘we need real copy’!

OK, so what’s the best thing to do?
It’s clear that there are a lot of considerations and variables when it comes to different project types and clients. It seems most logical that designing with copy is the best practice, but sometimes a client hasn’t got the time to dedicate that level of thought to producing the amount of copy required before a project commences, which can often lead to delays impacting go live. Understandably, it’s hard to visualise what you need to write without seeing how the design will look.

Will there be one, two or three opening paragraphs? What’s too much or too little? These are all questions a client or copywriter would face producing content blindly.

Collaboration is key
Why does the whole process have to follow the waterfall model? Well, it doesn’t. The team here at Vigor Studio have overcome these issues by effectively working together to alleviate the chicken and egg conundrum. When a project kicks off and we’re hired to write the copy, our copywriters are involved with the project from the beginning. They have early meetings with the client to define copy strategy and tone so they can begin drafting real content immediately, while working alongside the design team and their visuals. This way, the pressure is taken away from the client to produce a mountain of content upfront and the team work together to present a more realistic take on the end result.

As with every project, we take an iterative approach and, like the design, the copy is evolved and refined during this process. The copy is influenced by both client conversations and our own research into the industry, audience and competitors. Consideration is given to factors such as tone, language, terminology and sentence structure, all of which work alongside the design outcome to deliver an engaging user experience and improved conversion rates for our clients.

Credit: Si digital

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