Content Drives Design

Written by SuperUser Account on 4/16/2015
Content Drives Design

We live in a society that has a very “I want it now” mentality. Most people just want to jump directly into a new website or brochure. They crave so badly for something that looks nice that they forego the content and jump straight to the design. While you should definitely want your website or brochure to look good, you should also want it to sound good. You need to take in consideration that a good designer wants to design your message and not just an empty container.

And you should think about a new website or a brochure as just that: a container. A container of information to be consumed by a client. Think about it; most people come to your website because they’re searching for something. I can guarantee you that something isn’t “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet…” (For those of you who don’t know, most designers use Latin filler text as a placeholder in their designs when they don’t have content first).

For a designer to build you the right container, they need to know what’s going inside of it. You wouldn’t put your soup on a plate, would you?

Ask yourself a few common questions.

What services do you have to offer? Why should someone choose you over your competitors? What’s the history of your company and what values do you pride yourself on? Why should people come to you?

You probably know the answers to all of these questions, you might just not have those answers put as eloquently as you’d like. Thats OK. Because now you at least have a base to build upon. Add in basic contact info, logo and photography and now your designer has a toolkit of content to pull from. And you know what? It’s a lot easier to build a bridge with a hammer and nails than with you bare hands.

How much does it hurt to just add content later?

It really hurts.

It doesn’t just hurt your designer, but it hurts you in ways you probably don’t think of initially. Without content, you might end up with a great design, but then you have to craft your content to compliment it. You should be building design to compliment your content; to expand upon your message and to reinforce your brand. With a content-first mindset, you’ll avoid a couple of rounds of revisions (and potentially wasting a few hundred dollars) as well as loads of opportunity for miscommunication. You’ll also get the product you desire much faster.

Designers have very specific ideas when they craft a design. So when content comes last, it’s easy to mess everything up. When paragraphs and headlines end up being much longer or shorter than anticipated, it can cripple a design that already has hours invested in it. You end up with either too much white space or text that’s too crammed in. This leads to changes in coding and aesthetics that detract from what the design should and could have been. Good design is story-telling, and there’s no way to know what a design should be unless you know the story you’re telling.

The bottom line:

Your website needs to connect your business to your customers. All brands have an identity. That identity is sculpted from how well photography and design elements work to communicate the messages of your brand and what actions you want a customer to take. You need to build a user experience that tells clients what to do, and there aren’t a great deal of people who are fluent in Latin.

When you can think of marketing and design as a form of communication, it’s easier to see why words are so important.

Check out Karen's blog on "You're Only As Good As Your Content"!

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