Write on

November 28th, 2012 by Mat Dolphin

Design is one industry in particular that has embraced social media like no other. The platforms that have emerged and developed in recent years are appealing to designers and other creatives for obvious reasons.

There aren’t many faster or easier ways to share new ideas, new work or new problems that need solving than Twitter. It’s a ready made focus group, eager to give feedback. At its best, it’s helpful, convenient, quick and fun. At worst it’s… well, maybe best to not go there. The attractions of Instagram are also obvious. It’s purely visual, incredibly instant and the technology can hardly fail to make your arty snapshot of your dinner, trainers or fixed gear look suitably cool. Similarly, what better way than Tumblr is there to act as curator and inspire people with your carefully selected imagery of other peoples work?

Another platform wholeheartedly embraced by designers is the one you’re ‘engaging with’ now. A huge number of designers write blogs – obviously design doesn’t have an exclusive monopoly on blogging and plenty of other industries use it widely – but designers bloody love it. Why?

Well, a large part of it could be to do with the fact that it’s a written discipline, and the relationship between designing and writing is a relatively close one. Whether designing a film poster or writing a children’s book, the aim is broadly similar; trying to communicate a message to an audience.

It’s no coincidence that a large proportion of the designers we’ve come across over the years are pretty good at writing too. Being able to make ourselves clearly understood is an essential part of what we do day-in, day-out. The ability to do this allows us to explain to prospective clients exactly why they could benefit from our services, it helps us ‘sell in’ the design ideas which may seem counter productive, difficult to understand or just plain ridiculous. It also allows us to make informed decisions on why a certain way of laying out a page on a website will be easier for someone else – the intended target demographic of our client — to understand. The ability to put the right message into the heads of an audience we’re not there to explain it to is intrinsic to both design and writing.

Of course, it’s not always the case and we know excellent designers who struggle to string a coherent sentence together. But, for the most part, it stands to reason that someone adept at communicating visually will usually be fairly able when it comes to getting their message across using the written word.

For us, writing is a critical part of designing. Having good ideas and executing them to perfection is obviously vital, that goes without saying. But the ability to explain and communicate your ideas and intentions is the scaffolding that holds the creative process together.

Besides, you’re going to need a well written caption when you’re tweeting the instagrammed shot of your hipster cat.

Thanks for reading,

Phil and Tom

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