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Art, Meet Copy: A Copywriting Primer for Designers

  2. How art met copy. Chapter 1
  3. In the early days.
  4. Writers led the creative process.
  5. They came up with the headline, the idea, the strategy.
  6. And passed it onto the Art Director, who would bring it to life with sketches and storyboards.
  7. To be pitched to the client by a Creative Director.
  8. Who typically came from a copywriting background.
  9. The creative revolution.
  10. Everything changed in the 1960’s.
  11. Bill Bernbach and 11 former Grey employees formed Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1949. By the 1960’s, they were leading the charge in a whole new way of working.
  12. Art Directors were coming up with headlines, Copywriters were thinking visually, and they were paired from the very beginning as a team–not as a successive process that started with copy and ended with design as a silo.
  13. Many agencies followed this path, some of which are still among the largest in the world.
  14. Producing some of the most iconic work of the past century.
  15. Since then, the classic Copywriter/Art Director team has proven time and time again to produce arresting, interesting work–proving that there are few benefits to working in silos.
  16. So, what does a copywriter do? Chapter 2
  17. They simply write the content that gets plugged into design, right?
  18. Wrong.
  19. A good copywriter plays a key role in much more than filling in content.
  20. They ensure the work is on-brand, on-message.
  21. They’re an integral part of the UX process, ensuring that the interface communicates clearly and translates intuitively.
  22. They’re active in brainstorms: coming up with big ideas, the tactics that drive them, and they help articulate the team’s ideas into succinct, punchy write-ups.
  23. And can sell that idea to a client.
  24. They help ensure you never have that awkward moment with a client where a typo ruins everyone’s day (or the account).
  25. Lastly, there’s an art to copy. It’s a direct connection to the audience.
  26. It can evoke humor, sadness, curiosity.
  27. And it can sell.
  28. “Present your case in terms of the reader’s self interest.” DAVID OGLIVY
  29. Forging the partnership. Chapter 3
  30. How can you utilize copywriters on your project?
  31. Partner in UX/IA development. 1.
  32. Create content, headlines, hooks. 2.
  33. Articulate ideas & concepts as write-ups. 3.
  34. Editorial/social calendar. 4.
  35. Script and outline storyboards. 5.
  36. Deck writing & content marketing. 6.
  37. Partner in search optimization. 7.
  38. Proof, proof, proof. 8.
  39. Some tips. Chapter 4
  40. Involve a copywriter early, establish the partnership. 1.
  41. Get an extra set of eyes on everything. 2.
  42. 3. Lorem ipsum and block type alone says nothing.
  43. 4. Be descriptive in wireframes & comps.
  44. 5. A clear brief and communication is key.
  45. 6. Never stop 
  46. “The more you know about it, the more likely you are to come up with an idea for selling it.” DAVID OGLIVY
  47. Be a better writer. Chapter 5
  48. A lot of the writing process is like this.
  49. “I never get used to the fact, most of the time it looks like you’re doing nothing.” Roger Sterling on Don Draper
  50. “Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process. You can help this process by going for a long walk, or taking a hot bath, or drinking half a pint of claret.” DAVID OGLIVY
  51. “Just think about it, deeply, then forget it. And an idea will just jump up in your face.” Don Draper to Peggy Olson, Aspiring Writer
  52. Anyone can become a better writer.
  53. Books.
  54. Online resources.
  55. The best way to learn? By osmosis.
  56. A great copywriter is able to take on many voices, place themselves in the vantage point of the audience, and influence that audience with words and ideas.
  57. No matter your background or title, we’re all creatives.
  58. “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”
  59. Thanks for reading. Now it’s time to create your next great story. - @rkurfehs Learn more about us: