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Which comes first, the design or the content?

When you are working on a project like a new website, direct mail piece, or brochure it’s quite common to have a design ‘mocked-up’ before you have started writing the copy. In fact, for most web projects I work on, the design has already been signed off before I even provide a quote.

This can be problematic.

If you want truly persuasive copy with a strong call to action, it’s much better for the designer to see what content needs to fit on the page prior to commencing the design.

For example:

  • There’s no use developing a layout that only has small content boxes if you want long sales copy.
  • If your call to action ends up being a newsletter sign-up, this has to be reflected in the design.
  • Different header and body styles may need to be supported in the design – content is more than paragraph text.

Get the content written first. Be happy with the tone and language. Decide on the style.

It all influences the design.

And a final point: Once the design has been finalised and the content added, get your copywriter to have another look. The transition from a Word document to proper layout is a big one, and sometimes some minor tweaks to the words will make all the difference to the impact of the final product.

What do you think? Do you start with the content, or always have the design done first?

If you’ve got a copywriting project coming up, get in early and ask for a quote so I can start work on your content before the design is finalised.