Fishing the copy vs. design debate out of the sewer

A couple days ago, I flushed the copy vs. design debate down the toilet, as it were.

To be truthful, it isn’t a completely useless conversation. But my point was that copy and design aren’t in competition—they both serve the ultimate marketing task of communication.

My philosophy isn’t “design-centric” or “copy-centric” (though if I had a gun to my head, I would pick copy hands down). It’s communication-centric.

But when it comes down to creating actual marketing pieces, we have to start somewhere.

In GENERAL, it’s better to start with copy for a few reasons.

Firstly, good copy communicates in the abstract world of ideas. Images can only communicate a specific thing in a specific place at a specific time stripped of all context. And because a sales message is fundamentally a series of abstract propositions, we start with copy and use images to portray them.

Secondly, copy gives the graphic designer constraints which allow him to be creative. As my 8th grade English teacher once said, “creativity requires constraints.” Even when an “arteest” does abstract art, they must constrain themselves by medium, material, method, etc. Copy gives a designer natural constraints so they don’t have to just make it up.

Thirdly, making “message” decisions requires words on paper (or screen). Copy is the natural next step.

Do you need help making the messaging decisions for your business and getting words on paper? That is available to you here:

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