As a copywriter, and content marketer, I have been replacing the lorem ipsum often found in approved wire frames for quite some time. And, as many copywriters before me, I have often struggled with writing content without a visual representation of the page to go by.

I am not alone in this struggle. I know many designers who will tell you that design should never lead copy and I actually agree with that. In order to achieve goals, tell the right story, and build a page that has the best user experience — content should inform design. That is the black and white answer to the question, but let’s back it up a bit here.

For designers, the main is goal is to communicate the webpage’s message in a clear and usable way. Without a content map or defined messaging, how can a designer achieve their goal? They can’t.

In order to be most effective, copywriters and designers should work together to take complex ideas from paper to the web. High quality content when paired with modern and user-focused design will achieve the goals of the strategy.

But, what about the Content Strategy?

We have discussed the importance of creating a content strategy before, so I won’t spend too much time trying to sell you on the idea of one. But, suffice to say, no design work or copy should be created before a content strategy is.

The content strategy will answer the most important questions about this project: who, what, why, and how’s.

Now — Stop, Collaborate, and Listen — to each other

Designers and copywriters should work in tandem to determine the best type of content for each section of the page. Where will this copy be most effective? What type of content do you envision for this section? What copy would pair with that type of element? As writers and designers work together to answer these questions, a stronger experience will be launched.

So, the question of “what comes first — copy or design” is exactly like the chicken and egg… you simply cannot have one without the other.

If you need copy to tell a story, then copy should always comes first but in order to work together to create the best experience possible, copywriters and designers should be working alongside each other to develop the best experience for their users.

Above all, you need to know the goals that this design is hoping to achieve. Without that outlined ahead of time, no copy or design will be effective.



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