Content and Design – Plan Together

Wire framing sticky notes

Imagine: You’re clicking through a website and can’t find what you’re looking for. Or, you’re ordering a product online and have a question before placing your order — but there is no link to get help. Or even this: you’re reading a print piece, but your eyes glaze over because the paragraph is entirely too long.

We’ve likely all experienced one or more of these scenarios. From print to web to user experience, designers touch and enhance content all around us. Unfortunately, many content creators bring in designers only at the completion stage. That website dead-end or really long paragraph may have been avoided by gaining valuable insight earlier in the process.

This is where the public’s understanding of design often is lacking. Designers do so much more than make things pretty. While yes, an elegant and beautiful design is often a top concern, there are other key elements that a designer drives: experience of the interaction, the readability of content, and organization of information. Think about it in a simple scenario: the “SUBMIT” button on a form. The location of that button is just as important, if not more important, than how it looks. If you can’t find it, what does it matter if it’s beautiful?

For print, one of the common problems I encounter is receiving text content that is too long for the medium. For example, I receive a 1,000 word document and the client wants it all on one page of a tri-fold brochure. Often the content creator then feels frustrated that they need to edit work they thought was already completed. Similarly, imagine if you budgeted to print a 4-page document, but your content actually needed 16 pages to work well for consumers. These are among the pitfalls of working on content without planning with your designer.

So, the next time you’re embarking on a project — whether it’s print or web-based — consider talking to a designer early in the process. You will find that the insight a designer can provide can make your project and content shine.