The Importance of Harmonising Copy and Design
When you’re thinking of updating your company website or creating a new one from scratch, the first person you’re likely to contact is a web developer. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with this, but most people’s go-to when it comes to websites is design and functionality, without putting a huge amount of thought into the content that will go alongside that.
We’ve all seen them, those websites that have images and shapes flying across the screen, fancy videos, interactive charts and infographics. But if these elements aren’t displayed amongst copy that actually explains what your business does and how you help people, they’re going to switch off.
The sad truth is that people have incredibly short attention spans. The average attention span of a web user is 6.8 seconds, which highlights how important it is to get your point across quickly and make it something worth listening to.
If you think about any good ad campaigns, the ones that stick in your mind the most will use a combination of hard-hitting slogans and breathtaking visuals. It’s a 50/50 effort on both parts to make that advert memorable and convince the audience to take action.
Great design and copy enhance your message
Having the right balance between your copy and design makes your finished product far more engaging for the audience, with no distraction on where they should focus their attention and no confusion over what you want them to do. It creates a much smoother experience for them, encouraging them to stay on the website longer and learn more about your business and brand. And importantly - the longer they stay on your website, the more likely they are to purchase from or work with you.
Additionally, if your web users find the content on your site useful, they’re likely to share it with others, bringing in higher website traffic and widening your reach even further.
Having a clear and united message coming from both your copy and your design shows off the strengths of your business, increasing your credibility and making it easier for your audience to understand what you do and what makes you better than the competition. It also helps Google algorithms to read your website, improving your organic rankings and visibility online. What’s not to love?
Should you focus on design or copy first?
It’s like the chicken or the egg; everyone has a different opinion on whether the copy should fit around the design, or the design around the copy. If you’ve already got some killer copy, then the design should come second in priority, making sure that copy shines through and works as hard as it can. If a lot of what your business does is visual (for example, an interior designer), you’ll want your website to reflect this with how you show off images of your work. Copy wise, less could be more here.
It’s also worth remembering that different people learn and digest information in different ways. Some people are more visual, while others may prefer to read information and spend time taking it in. By focusing your attention on copy over design, or vice-versa, you run the risk of your audience missing out on your brand’s personality and key messages.
In our line of work, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to know that we think copy is king. The words you use on your website are the main thing that will drive traffic and subsequently convert visitors into customers. Everything else should be second to this.
To be honest though, it doesn’t really matter whether you focus on copy or design first. The key thing is that they both work together in harmony, rather than fight for the viewer’s attention.
How copywriters and designers should work together
As outlined above, the best results come when your copywriter and designer work together to make something that’s clear and in sync. This means it’s really important for them to know how best to communicate and work together, creating a final product that shows a clear complementation between the two.
Working together on a project right from the start and having an open line of contact is a really good way of making sure the finished article is effective in delivering your brand’s message. It can also be really beneficial to share ideas with one another. Just because you’re an expert on design, it doesn’t mean your views on copy aren’t valid too. Having a holistic approach to the initial stages of development can allow new and innovative ideas to come together, making the final product all the more effective for your audience.
Neither the copy or the design can be left until the last minute. These aren’t things that you can rush and hope for the best. You don’t want copywriters overcompensating for bad design, nor the other way around. You’re both there to make each other’s lives easier. By discussing and aligning your goals from the outset, you create an environment for success.